Looking Ahead to Albuquerque

by Brigitte Jones and Christina Hitchcock

Official Notice

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 3b of Article IX (National Convention) of the BVA National Bylaws, all members of the Blinded Veterans Association in good standing are hereby notified that the BVA 62nd National Convention will be held at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque Hotel, 330 Tijeras NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102, from Tuesday, August 14, through Saturday, August 18, 2007. Periodic updates regarding the gathering will be posted on the Convention page on the BVA website.

BVA members in good standing who wish to vote by proxy may request a form by writing or calling the Administrative Director at BVA National Headquarters no later than 45 days before the opening day of the 62nd National Convention. Because the convention’s opening day is August 14, the deadline for requesting a proxy form is June 30, 2007.

In compliance with Section 2c of Article IX, the proxy form must be completed and returned to BVA National Headquarters (Attn: Administrative Director). To be considered valid, the envelope containing the form must be postmarked no later than 21 days before the opening date of the convention. The due date is therefore July 24, 2007.

Important Dates and Deadlines

BVA National Headquarters distributed notices in January regarding nominations for Certificates of Appreciation, the Maas and Diener Awards, the Wilburn H. Long Employment Award, and the David L. Schnair Volunteer Service Award. These actions also occurred in compliance with articles within the BVA national bylaws.

A reminder will also be mailed to regional group presidents and secretaries on March 14 regarding the due date for submission of bylaw amendments for consideration at the convention. A mailing to all BVA members in good standing and residing in Districts 3 and 4 will occur on or before March 17 (150 days leading up to August 14). The mailing will call for nominations for District Director. Three copies of the credentials form will be mailed on April 3 to each regional group president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.

Both regional groups and individuals should refer to the following timeline in preparing for the convention. Items listed include actions required of the Association’s national headquarters, regional groups, and individuals. Questions can be addressed by calling BVA National Headquarters at 800-669-7079. Asterisks indicate actions required by the BVA National Bylaws.

    1. April 17* - Nominations for BVA Certificates of Appreciation, the Maas and Diener Awards, the Long Employment Award, and the Schnair Service Award all due at national headquarters.
    2. Mid-April* - 62nd National Convention pre-registration package prepared and sent to printer.
    3. May 6 (no earlier than 100 days before convention) - Earliest date to mail pre-registration package and official convention notice to potential attendees.
    4. May 16 (no earlier than 90 days before convention) - Earliest date to distribute ballots for Districts 3 and 4 elections to district members.
    5. May 16 (no later than 90 days before convention) - Envelopes containing proposed bylaw amendments must be directed to national headquarters and postmarked.
    6. May 16 (no earlier than 90 days before convention) - Earliest date to mail proposed bylaw amendments to members in good standing.
    7. May 16 (90 days before convention and 60 days following original mail call referred to above) -- Nominations for regular elections of Directors of Districts 3 and 4 due at national headquarters.
    8. May 31 (no later than 75 days before convention) - Latest date to mail pre-registration package and official convention notice from national headquarters.
    9. June 5 (no later than 70 days before convention) - Latest date for national headquarters to mail ballots for regular elections of Directors of Districts 3 and 4.
    10. June 15* - National headquarters mails annual financial report forms (three copies) to treasurers of regional groups.
    11. June 30 - Ballots for regular elections for Directors of Districts 3 and 4 must be postmarked no later than midnight.
    12. June 30 (no later than 45 days before convention) - Latest date to mail proposed bylaw amendments to members in good standing.
    13. July 5 (no later than 40 days before convention) - Regional group meeting notices to elect convention delegates must be mailed to group members. A copy of the notice must also be mailed to national headquarters at the same time it is mailed to the membership.
    14. July 10 (35 days before convention) - National headquarters counts election ballots for regular election of Director of Districts 3 and 4.
    15. July 24 (21 days before convention) - Completed delegate credentials forms and proxy forms must be postmarked no later than midnight.

Welcome to the “Old Southwest”

Blinded veterans interested in being a part this year’s national convention should be further encouraged to attend after considering the unique entertainment, educational, and dining options offered by the Albuquerque venue.

Foremost on the list of things to do and see is 301-year-old Old Town, Albuquerque’s first neighborhood and the heart of the city’s heritage. As a colonial farming village and a military outpost, the first Spanish families settled near the banks of the Rio Grande in 1706. Convention attendees will see how the village was established in the traditional Spanish pattern of a central plaza surrounded by a church, homes, and government buildings. They will also see many of the still-standing old homes, some of which have been renovated into businesses.

Nostalgia and glamorization of Old Town Albuquerque’s past extends to sites and artifacts such as Route 66, the Will Rogers Highway, sterling silver, turquoise, and the Native American tradition of handcrafting that inspired the modern generation of contemporary fashion and arts.

The museums of Albuquerque, seven of which are within walking distance of Old Town, are also a must see. The National Atomic Museum teaches patrons the history of the atomic age while the New Mexico Museum of Natural History houses the world’s oldest mammal fossils and the world’s longest dinosaur. The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History has a magnificent sculpture garden and an ongoing exhibit, “Four Centuries: The History of Albuquerque.” The Turquoise Museum is perhaps the world’s largest private collection of its kind.

This year’s convention hotel, the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, is centrally located in the downtown area of the city, adjacent to a 25,000 square-foot retail arcade and the Albuquerque Convention Center. From the hotel, convention participants can enjoy Route 66, which includes numerous options for shopping, dining, and evening entertainment. Also nearby are the Rio Grande Zoo and the University of New Mexico.

Each hotel guest room features such basic amenities as coffee makers, irons and ironing boards, in-room movies, voicemail, and video checkout. Guests also have access to a high-speed Internet connection in their rooms and daily newspaper delivery.

The hotel has two dining facilities, McGrath’s Bar and Grill and Bolo’s Salon. There is also a Starbucks Coffee kiosk inside the building. The property has a 24-hour fitness center featuring a sauna, Cybex equipment, and free weights. It also sports an outdoor lap pool with two adjacent hot tubs, surrounded by a sundeck.

Convention room rates are $70 for both single and double occupancy. Sales tax is 6.88 percent, with an additional 6 percent lodgers’ tax charged by all of the area hotels (total tax is therefore 12.88 percent), bringing the room rate total to $79.02 per night.

Reservations are secured by calling toll free 800-233-1234, or through the hotel website, http://albuquerque.hyatt.com (click on Rates & Reservations at the top left of the page). Individuals making reservations must remember to state their affiliation with the Blinded Veterans Association in order to receive the negotiated rate. Participants are urged to reserve rooms as far in advance as possible with July 12, 2007 being the final date to receive the BVA rate.

The Hyatt Regency is located 5.5 miles, or approximately 10 minutes, from the Albuquerque International Airport (officially called Albuquerque International Sunport with airport code ABQ). The hotel does not offer a complimentary shuttle but Sunport Shuttle, an independently operated service, is available for $9 one way and $16 round trip.

The airport is currently served by the following major airlines. Please note that many airlines have now discontinued the group and meeting travel programs that BVA has used in previous years. In some cases the programs have continued but now require ten or more individuals to travel from the same location to the same destination at the same time, an unrealistic scenario for most convention attendees. BVA encourages travelers to shop for the best airline rates on their own. In addition to the toll free phone reservation numbers provided below, reservations and ticketing can, in most cases, be arranged online via the individual airline websites.

AMERICAN AIRLINES: Nonstop service to Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth with connections to Albuquerque. Refer to File Number A2187A. A 5 percent discount is available on American Airlines one-world tickets only. Call for reservations at 800-433-1790.

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES: Nonstop service to Houston with connections to Albuquerque. There is no group discount. Call for reservations at 800-525-0280.

DELTA AIRLINES: Nonstop service to Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Salt Lake City with connections to Albuquerque. Group discounts are no longer available. Call for reservations at 800-221-1212.

FRONTIER AIRLINES: Nonstop service to Denver with connections to Albuquerque. Refer to File Number 98VRXT to receive a 10 percent discount on all published round trip tickets. Call for reservations at 800-908-9068.

GREAT LAKES AIRLINES: Service to Albuquerque from Clovis and Silver City, New Mexico. Service is also available between Denver and Santa Fe. There are no group discounts. For reservations and information, call 800-554-5111.

MESA AIRLINES: Service to many cities in New Mexico, including Carlsbad, Clovis, Gallup, Hobbs, Farmington, Roswell, and Silver City. No group discounts are available. To make reservations, call 800-637-2247.

NORTHWEST AIRLINES: Nonstop service to Minneapolis-St. Paul with connections to Albuquerque. Northwest offers 5 percent off lowest published fares and 7 percent off lowest published fare if ticket is purchased at least 30 days in advance of scheduled departure. Certain routes may qualify for an even greater percentage discount. Call the BVA National Headquarters telephone receptionist to obtain the file number since it was not yet available at press time. For reservations, call 800-328-1111.

SKYWEST AIRLINES: Nonstop regional jet service to Salt Lake City with connections through Delta’s hub. There are no group discounts. For reservations, call 435-634-3000.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES: By far the largest carrier serving Albuquerque, Southwest offers nonstop service between there and Amarillo, Baltimore-Washington, Chicago, Dallas Love Field, El Paso, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Lubbock, Midland, Oakland, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, St. Louis, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa, and Tucson. Although this carrier no longer offers travel contracts for large groups, the airline rates are very competitive and discounts are frequently available. For reservations, call 800-435-9792.

UNITED AIRLINES: Nonstop service to Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Antonio, San Diego, and San Francisco with connections to Albuquerque. No group discounts are available. Call for reservations at 800-241-6522.

US AIRWAYS: Nonstop service to Las Vegas and Phoenix with connections to Albuquerque. No group discount is available. For reservations, call 800-235-9292.

Sweepstakes Tickets Sent January 30

BVA members and friends who have recently participated in the annual convention Sweepstakes should have received their tickets in early February. Six tickets should have been included in each mailing, which occurred the last two days of January.

The Spring 2007 issue of the Bulletin will update ticket holders on the progress of the prize pool, which is approximately 50 percent of the total proceeds after expenses. The other 50 percent provides financial support to the convention.

Please contact Keleeba Scott at BVA National Headquarters for more information about the Sweepstakes, or to request additional tickets.

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