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2018 State Convention

Friday, October 5, 2018 to Sunday, October 7, 2018

It is time for the annual National Federation of the Blind of Iowa state convention to be held October 5-October 7, 2018 at the:

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Des Moines Northwest
4800 Merle Hay Road
Des Moines, Iowa 50322

This year’s convention will be packed with great information and family fun! We are honored to have Scott LaBarre, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado and National Association of Blind Lawyers, join us and serve as our national representative on behalf of President Mark Riccobono.

Mark your calendars and make every effort to attend the 2018 state convention of the NFBI. Get Involved. Make a Difference!

Room Reservations

The Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Des Moines Northwest, is now accepting room reservations for the state convention. To make your reservation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, please dial 515-278-4755 and use the group code of NFB. The best time to call is during regular business hours, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The 2018 room rates are $80 a night for doubles and kings. Hotel room rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes, which at present is 5% and will be in effect at the time of check-out. If you prefer to reserve your hotel room online, please visit and then use our group code of NFB.

Don’t hesitate, please make your room reservations as soon as possible. Our block of rooms are available until September 28th, then they are released to the general public. In years past, the block sells out prior to the deadline, so please don’t hesitate! If the hotel says they have no rooms left, please ask them to double check the room block. If the issue is not fixed, please contact Jerad Nylin at 319-535-3723.

Note: if you can not attend and you have made hotel reservations, don’t call the hotel to cancel. Please call Jerad at 319-535-3723. Jerad usually has a waiting list to review as many learn about the state convention after the date of September 28th. if the block is not sold out, the remainder of rooms will be released to the public. In years past, the block sells out prior to the deadline and therefore, Please, don’t hesitate!

Committees for 2018 Convention

Convention Coordinators

Sam Claassen
Tom Topping
Phone: 319-450-5468

Door Prize Committee

Mike Harvey, Chair
Phone: 615-554-0695

Nominating Committee

Bob Ray, Chair
Phone: 515-334-7231

Resolutions Committee

Tai Tomasi, Chair
Phone: 515-710-4402

Dietary Requests

If you have any special dietary need, please contact Tom Topping at 319-450-5468 or by Friday, September 28th at noon.

Guide Dog Relief Area

The guide dog relief area will be announced at a later date.


Once again this year we have online registration and we would prefer registration be done online, but as has been the case for the past few years, you can still mail in your registration along with your check to:
National Federation of the Blind of Iowa
P.O. Box 93071
Des Moines, IA 50393

To get the discounted rate of $80 per night at the Holiday Inn, you must register for the convention. Also, by registering for the convention you will help the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa give a more accurate count to the hotel.

What are the perks for pre-registering for the state convention? The biggest perk is you save $5 off the cost of each food event you attend and the registration fee, plus you won’t have to wait in a longer line when picking up your packet. Don’t delay and miss out on the savings. , Pre-register and pay for the convention no later than September 25, 2018. After September 25, 2018 all prices go up by $5.00.

Please pre-register with one of the following:

On site convention registration will be open from 3:00-6:45 p.m. on Friday, October 5, and will resume Saturday, October 6, at 7:30-8:45 a.m.

Meetings & Events

Iowa Diabetes Action Network Annual Meeting

The Iowa Diabetes Action Network will hold its annual meeting at 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM with registration beginning at 12:00 outside the meeting room. Our main speaker will be Dr. Robert Dahlberg, a Des Moines dentist, who will talk about dental hygiene and your health. We will also hold our election of officers and board members. Registration is $5.

Parents of Blind Children (POBC) Networking Seminar

Calling all parents of blind children. We will be hosting parents of blind children seminar on Friday the 5th from 12:30-5:00 PM. Topics being discussed will include adaptive physical activity, activities of daily living, library services, cane travel, a parent panel, legal rights for students in k-12, and much more. This will give parents the opportunity to share experiences and connect with other families as well as professionals in the blindness field. We encourage all families to stay for the remainder of our state convention if they are able. Financial assistance is available upon request and child care will be provided. If you have any questions, please contact Jerad Nylin at or 319-535-3723.

Please view the following:

At Large Chapter Annual Meeting

The At Large Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa will hold its annual meeting at 3:00 p.m., Friday, October 5, 2018. Annual chapter dues will be collected and they are $5. Registration begins at 2:30 outside the room.

Iowa Association of Blind Students annual meeting Friday October 5, 2018 – 12:00 pm-7:00 pm

Calling all students! Do you like swimming, networking, learning, and food? We sure do! Join the Iowa Association of Blind Students for our annual student seminar. We will kick it off with a pool party starting at 12:00. Our business meeting will begin at 3:00, where we will have dynamic speakers who will help us determine what the future of our movement looks like. Following the meeting, we will go out for dinner as a group and enjoy an evening of socializing with new and old friends. We hope you can make it and we can’t wait to meet you! Our dues are $5 and will be taken at the door.

Meet & Greet Reception

A meet and greet reception will take place from 5:15-6:45 on Friday October 5, 2018. Cost is $15 if purchased by September 25 2018, and $20 if purchased after September 25 2018.

Resolutions Committee Meeting

The Resolutions Committee will consider resolutions at 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening. Submit resolutions electronically to by September 30, 2018. You may also bring resolutions in final Braille and written form to the committee meeting as long as there is provided an electronic version.

Saturday morning FREE working breakfast 7:00am- 8:00am

Are you wondering how you can help your local chapter and state affiliate when it comes to fundraising? If you can commit to spending an hour per week, a conference call every quarter, and some fun in the community – we invite you to register for and attend the complimentary working breakfast.

Additional Meetings & Events

Friday, October 5th:

8:00am – 8:45am: Join the board of directors for the annual face to face board meeting. All are welcome to attend this meeting.

9:00am – 12:00pm and 2:00pm – 5:00pm: General Sessions
You won’t want to miss our National report from Scott LaBarre, the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa presidential report, BLIND INC presentation, Iowa Department for the Blind update from director Emily Wharton, National student report, and much more!

Saturday, October 6th:

Evening: The annual Banquet of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa
Scott LaBarre will deliver this year’s banquet address, and our very own Darrel Kirby, National Federation of the Blind of Iowa 2nd vice president, will be the Master of Ceremonies. Pre-registration is $35.00. The Iowa Association of Blind Students will be hosting hospitality following the banquet. We hope that you will join us for a fun night of board games and free ice cream. Can’t wait to see you there!

Sunday, October 7th:

8:00am-8:45am: Start your Sunday off right with a short morning devotional lead by Katy Olsen. We will gather together to talk about how our spirituality greatly affects our work in the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa. All are welcome!

9:00am: The annual business session of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa.
We will have state reports, elections, and other federation business to discuss. All are encouraged to attend.


The agenda will be released shortly.

Child Care

Child care will be provided on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of our state convention for families who are interested. On Friday, your kids will have the option to splash around in the hotel pool and play games with the Iowa Association of Blind Students. Saturday and Sunday they will enjoy arts and crafts, music, games, and much more during the convention’s general sessions. We invite all kids under 13 to join us for the fun!

National Rep Bio

Scott C. LaBarre, Esq.
LaBarre Law Offices P.C.
Denver, Colorado

Scott C. LaBarre owns and operates LaBarre Law Offices P.C., (LLO). LLO specializes in employment law, disability rights, Randolph-Sheppard Act cases, and some international policy work particularly in the area of copyright law. Mr. LaBarre has appeared in federal and state courts throughout the United States securing many important victories for his clients such as Enyart v. National Conference of Bar Examiners, 630 F.3d 1153 (9th Cir. 2011)(securing the right for blind students to use assistive technology as an accommodation on the multistate bar exam) and Cannon v. Palmer College of Chiropractic, 850 N.W.2d 326 (Iowa 2014)(securing the right of a blind student to pursue a doctor of chiropractic degree with his requested accommodations). He is permanently admitted before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and DC Circuits, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, the Supreme Court of Colorado, and the Maryland Court of Appeals (Maryland’s highest court). LaBarre has been named one of Colorado’s Super Lawyers, a distinction recognizing the top five percent of Colorado attorneys.

Prior to launching his own firm in July of 1998, Mr. LaBarre acted as general counsel for the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of Colorado, where he specialized in laws affecting the blind and disabled. Mr. LaBarre served in that capacity for five years. Even after establishing LLO, he remains very active in the NFB through his volunteer service in many leadership roles. In October of 2005, members of the NFB of Colorado elected LaBarre their President. He also serves as Chairman of the Preauthorized Contributions Committee, one of the Federation’s major national fundraisers. Additionally, he is President of the National Association of Blind Lawyers and serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Colorado Center for the Blind. The Federation has presented LaBarre with the Raymond W. McGeorge Award in 2010 for his work on behalf of the blind in Colorado and the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award in 2014 for his efforts to achieve successful adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Individuals Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, and Otherwise Print Disabled.

Since 2010, LaBarre has acted as the NFB’s lead delegate to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO’s) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights to work on an international treaty to create the international exchange of published works in accessible formats for the blind and print disabled leading to the adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty in June of 2013. This work has led to his election to the Accessible Books Consortium Board, a body sponsored by WIPO and designed to serve as an entity implementing the Marrakesh Treaty on a practical level, promote cross-border exchange of accessible books for the print disabled, and to encourage inclusive publishing.

As an original and current member of the Steering Committee, LaBarre helped to establish the Federation’s Jacobus tenBroek Law Symposium on Disability Rights which gathers leaders from all sectors in the arena of disability rights to discuss the current status of the law and to plan needed reform. LaBarre has presented at the Symposium on several occasions. He is active in national, state and local bar associations through his service in many roles. LaBarre is a founding member of the Disability Rights Bar Association and serves on its Executive Board as Chairman. In September of 2016, LaBarre began a three year term on the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors. He has also been a Commissioner on the ABA’s Commission on Disability Rights and served as its Chair from 2004-2007. Mr. LaBarre is also active in the ABA’s Solo, Small Firm, and General Practice Division and reassumed a position on its governing council starting in August of 2013, previously serving on the Division’s Council from 2005 through 2009. In the last decade plus, he has also performed the roles of a Director in the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division, Vice Chairman and a member of the ABA-YLD Bar Leadership Team, YLD Liaison to the ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law, a member of the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors, and Treasurer and a member of the Executive Council of the Denver Bar Association’s Young Lawyers.

Mr. LaBarre received his Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota in 1993 and his Bachelor of Arts from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota in 1990. He left Minnesota in 1993 to work at the National Headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind. He moved to Colorado in June of 1994. He is married to a wonderful woman who originally hales from Armenia, Anahit Galechyan. Anahit and Scott have two children, Alexander (born October 2002) and Emily (born December 2004).

Additional Information

If you have questions and need additional information, please contact:
Jerad Nylin, President
P.O. Box 93071
Des Moines, Iowa 50393
Phone: 319-535-3723

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