E-news for 2021

The ASURA E-news is published after each Board Meeting and sometimes extra issues are published. The listing of future events, the last section of most E-news issues, has been deleted.

Barry McNeill Editor

Date - TopicsNews

 June 22

June Pre-retirement Seminar

Color Prime Times

 

Hot

I got my peaches canned in the nick of time just before our heatwave hit but of course it is a dry heat so that’s not so bad. There’s not too much going on at the moment but there were two items I wanted to alert you to.

 June Pre-retirement Seminar

The June Pre-retirement Seminar did not go off as planned and I’d like to apologize to those who tried to join and could not. The sort of good news is that the seminar was recorded and is now available for viewing on our 2021 Pre-retirement Seminar page.

 Summer Prime Times

 On a cheerier note, the color version of the summer 2021 Prime Times is now available for viewing on our Prime Times archive page

March 11

Celebrating a Third Decade of Success

Pre-retirement Seminar Topics

The President's 2021/22 Program

In-person Events Survey

May Board Meeting 

The times they are a-changing! It was a year ago that we held our first Zoom Board meeting. This week we held our first hybrid Board meeting, with five people attending in person and the other ten present via Zoom. This worked well thanks to our new Meeting Owl Pro (see picture below). The device looks around the table to find the person speaking and projects their picture to the Zoom attendees. Pretty slick!

Board Meeting with Owl

 This E-News is longer than usual but there were a number of things to cover. Our new President, Larry Edmonds, has set out an ambitious program for the next year and there are several items requesting your input, if you so choose.

Celebrating a Third Decade of Success

A book about ASURA’s third decade (2012-2021) has been completed. It is a companion for the first- and second-decade histories. The digital version is available on our website in the Publications menu.

The Board approved printing 250 copies, made possible by a generous contribution from Bill Stasi. At the Board meeting it was agreed that the books would be distributed as follows:

  • You can pick up a copy from the ASURA Office. The Office is currently operating under reduced hours, see current hours on our website. So, if you plan to come in, call the Office at 480-965-7668 to be sure somebody is there.
  • Or you can ask to have a copy mailed to you by sending the Office a check for $4.00 made out to the ASU Foundation (ASURA). The office mailing address is:
    • ASU Retirees Association
    • PO Box 873308
    • Tempe, AZ 85287
  • Or you can wait to attend an in-person event and pick up a copy at the event.

2021 Pre-retirement Seminar Topics

The ASURA pre-retirement committee is seeking topics suggestions for future workshops / seminars. Current workshop topics include:

  • Understanding Social Security,
  • About Medicare,
  • Financial information from MidFirst Bank,
  • Financial Planning and Retirement from a Financial Planner,
  • Health Insurance after Retirement.

The committee is interested in any suggestions you have for future workshops, particularly along the lines of what you would have liked to have known before you retired. Email all your suggestions to Sue Henderson at suegreenhenderson@gmail.com.

The President’s 2021-2022 Program

Larry Edmonds introduced a number of interesting activities / projects for consideration:

  • A Review of the Bylaws - It has been almost 10 years since the last look at the Bylaws and he suggested a review might be in order. Carl Cross, Sue Henderson, and Pat Schneider said they would undertake this task.
  • A Golf Tournament – It has been eight years since the last Veteran’s Day golf tournament. As part of her involvement on the Special Events & Luncheons Committee, Carol Taylor-Tassone said she could sell igloos to Eskimos and offered to look into a possible tournament either for fun or as a fund raiser. Carol is going to need help and so if you would like to help Carol and the Special Events Committee, please contact Carol at ctaylortassone@yahoo.com.
  • Community Volunteers – We have our three current community projects, Adopt-a-Family, the Scholarship, and the Video History Project but none of these involve many of our members being visible out in the community where we could “enhance our brand”. If you know of opportunities to volunteer in the community, please contact Larry at doctoredmonds@gmail.com.

In-person Events Survey

The Board really wants to begin offering in-person events again, but we need to know if anyone would actually show up if offered. The following short two question survey will hopefully help us get some sense of the interest. You can respond to the survey by replying to this email.

Question 1: The soonest I might attend an in-person event is:

  1. Fall 2021
  2. Spring 2022
  3. Fall 2022
  4. Possibly never
  5. Probably never

Question 2: The conditions necessary before I would be willing to attend an in-person event are (more than one answer acceptable):

  1. The event was indoors and everyone was vaccinated.
  2. The event was indoors and everyone wore a mask.
  3. The event was outdoors.
  4. Other

May Board Meeting

  • All five of our new Board members attended and participated. This might have been a first.
  • Jeri Meeks reported that the legislature is deep into getting a budget passed and not much else is happening. She mentioned several bills that have passed but the one that created the most discussion dealt with the bill that allows Community Colleges to begin offering four-year degrees.

    The Community College legislation requires Community Colleges to prove that proposed baccalaureate programs respond to local labor market needs and don’t replicate programs already offered by state universities. Rojann Alpers expressed concern about whether professional programs, like nursing, would have the same standards that are in place in the university. The Board of Regents opposed this legislation.
  • Joy Shearman reported she had wrapped up this year’s Scholarship recipient’s paperwork and is now ready to start the process of turning the scholarship activities over to the “younger” folks. Joy would like to have a Co-chair for a year and then she would be Co-chair the second year. Joy has helped develop rather extensive documentation of the process. If you are interested in this wonderful program and/or would like more information, contact Joy at joyrn@cox.net
 March 17

Cén scéal?

So what’s the news on this St. Patrick’s Day? I had meant to mention in the last E-News that Sun Devil Giving Day was coming up and it has arrived. It is tomorrow! This is an opportunity to support ASURA and at the same time ASU. If you visit the ASURA Donation page you can read about the four ASURA giving opportunities and find links to make the giving easy.

Pot of Gold

 March 11

March Board Meeting

2021 Annual Meeting

Carlton Moore and a New Mineral

Update Membership Database

It sure seems like we are winning the battle with the virus. Today was the third day in a row with fewer than 1,000 reported new cases reported in Arizona (first time since October), the vaccine scarcity seems to be lessening, and, most importantly, fans are permitted in to see the ASU baseball team play ball – Go Devils.

March Board Meeting

  • Simin Levison from the University Senate thanked Jane Carey, Board Secretary, for giving the University Senate a brief overview of ASURA and what it does. She said that ASU is advancing on all fronts with a new model that includes three enterprises:  Academic, Knowledge, and Strategic. She also mentioned that the Fulton School of Engineering is going through a reorganization with some programs moving to the Polytechnic campus.
  • Jeri Meeks and Pat Schneider reported on the status of a number of bills in the legislature. There were no bills they thought required Board attention. The Arizona Board of Regents’ bill for an optional retirement plan did not pass out of the House and was currently stagnant.
  • Membership continues to be strong. As of March 4th, there were 817 members, up over fifty from last year. Thank You! It is encouraging to see the growth in the number of more recent retirees. These are the potential new Board Members, Officers, and Committee chairs.
  • Jan Thompson, ASURA Immediate Past President, announced the results of the Board election – all five candidates were elected and will be introduced during the Annual Meeting.
  • Larry Edmonds, ASURA VP & incoming President, submitted a list of officers for next year’s Board. The Board approved the list and starting April 13, Larry Edmunds will be President, Kathy Gunn will be Vice President, Jane Carey will continue as Secretary, Barry McNeill will be Treasurer, and Carl Cross will be Immediate Past President.

2021 Annual Meeting

Last year we had an Annual Report as required by the Bylaws but no Annual Meeting. This is going to change this year! Carl Cross, ASURA President, announced at the Board meeting that the Annual Meeting will be held on Monday April 13 with a full program. See the calendar of upcoming events at the end for a link to more details and the opportunity to register.

Carlton Moore and a New Mineral

There was an interesting story in the February 15th edition of ASU News about the discovery of a new mineral. Not only did I not know you could discover new minerals; I did not know what a mineral was (a mineral is a mineral was about the best I could do).

The new mineral was found in a meteorite that had fallen in Kansas in 1948 and was named carletonmooreite after ASU’s (and ASURA’s) Carleton Moore. Carleton said his full name was used since there were other Moores.

It is a fun article and I encourage you to read it. You can get a K-8 definition of a mineral on the Oxford University Museum of Natural History website.

Update Membership Database

As the annual membership renewal drive approaches it is important that we have current contact information. Below you will see the contact information we have for you. If this information is correct you need do nothing; however, if the information is not correct please let me know what has changed by replying to this E-News. Note – the contact information you see below is only on your copy of E-News.

  • First Name:  Barry     
  • Last Name:  McNeill
  • Street Address:   5801 E Lafayette Blvd
  • City:  Phoenix
  • State: AZ
  • ZIPCODE:  85018-4643
  • Phone Number:  480-945-3565
  • Cell Phone:   480-751-8483  
  • Email address:  barry_mcneill@outlook.com

 February 10

ASURA Continues to Functions

Good News ASURA office is Reopening

Prime Times

Vote for Board Members

COVID-19 Vaccine Availability

ASU Open Door

The board held a very successful meeting on Tuesday. I think I might be hearing the COVID-19 Fat Lady beginning to warm up – fa la la la.

ASURA Continues to Function

  • Ginny Sylvester, chair of the Adopt-A-Family committee reported that even with the pandemic ASURA has still been able to support two families, one from Tempe Schools and one from ASU. She reported that at Christmas in addition to some gift cards she was able to get small stocking stuffers as well as a large Christmas stocking making those gifts a bit more festive. ASURA owes Ginny and her committee of Henry Stevens and Cecilia Hook a big Thank You for keeping the program going under rather trying circumstances.
  • Connie McNeill, chair of the Finance committee, reported that a review of last year’s income and expenses showed that all was well and that the Association is fiscally sound.
  • Bev Buddee, chair of the Seminar committee, reported there are over 150 members registered for this week’s seminar. Registration has closed but look shortly for news about the March seminar.
  • John Brock, chair of the Travel committee, reported that the Travel committee is firing back up and looking to sponsor some events soon. Let us all think good travel thoughts and maybe we can get our traveling shoes back on.
  • Jeri Meeks, Chair of the Legislative Liaison group and Larry Carlson, ASRS Health Insurance Liaison, reported on House Bill HB2138, “ABOR; optional retirement programs”. This bill, revising ARS 15-1628, has the potential to defund the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) by allowing ABOR to establish optional retirement programs, at a lower contribution rate, for university employees under their (ABOR’s) jurisdiction. The current ARS bill allows the university to retain its contribution for the first 5 years of employment, with all employer contributions reverting to the institution if the at-will employee doesn’t stay for over 5 years. ASRS sees the proposed changes as detrimental to the ASRS fund. Jeri reported that, at this moment, the bill is not moving forward.
  • Connie McNeill, chair of the Web Site and Database group, reported she had updated the website so that it would reflect more of the current ASU branding standards. We did not lose any important text during the update but the formatting is often not what we want and it will have to be changed to make the page more readable.
  • The Board approved a virtual Annual Meeting on Tuesday April 13 from 10:00 am to noon. It will be a complete meeting with speakers and presentations and the virtual handing over of leadership from Carl Cross to Larry Edmonds. You will want to get this event on your calendar.

Good News ASURA Office Is Re-opening

From Linda Van Scoy and Nancy Lesko

“We plan to reopen the ASURA Office on Tuesday, February 16. We will be open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11:00AM to 2:00PM. The 11-2:00 time frame may be flexible, so anyone needing to visit should call first to be sure the office is staffed: 965-7668.

Previous safety protocols will be observed.

Prime Times

If you have not yet received your Prime Times in the mail you can expect a pleasant surprise (no hints). As usual the new issue is available on our website.

Vote for Board Members

I hope you received your ballot for the new slate of Board members and have voted but in case you lost your ballot it is not too late. Go to our homepage and click on “Vote” in our new snappy information banner. You have until the end of February to get your ballot in.

COVID-19 Vaccine Availability

Vaccination sites are increasing.  Bill Stasi pointed out that Fry’s is now scheduling vaccinations and I noticed today that Safeway/Albertson’s is also getting into the business. I have added both of those scheduling sites to our COVID-19 webpage.

ASU Open Door

Bill Stasi alerted me to an annual ASU event he always likes to promote – ASU Open Door. Taken from their webpage:

Once a year, ASU Open Door invites the local community, adults and children of all ages, to experience ASU and discover why it was named the most innovative university in the nation six years in a row. This year, we’d like to bring everything ASU has to offer — science, the arts, humanities, sustainability and more — to you.

Explore our four campus locations and the spaces accessible only to ASU students — laboratories, living collections, museums and classrooms — from the comfort of your couch. Participate in hundreds of interactive, hands-on activities created just for you by our faculty and students. The 2021 Open Door virtual activities will be available on this website starting March 1.

This sounds like a lot of fun.

January 22

Trudy Perez as an ASU Unsung Hero

Just a little something to brighten your day.

Our own Trudy Perez has been highlighted as one of ASU's unsung heroes in a nice ASU Now article. You need to scroll down quite a ways to find Trudy but there she is in her "red traditional stocking cap, turquoise sweater, maroon and gold scarf, black gloves, bright orange traffic vest and a red “Bunco Babes” mask."

Thank you Trudy from all of us - keep those doggies rollin' Rawhide

Barry
E-News Editor

January 20

COVID-19 Vaccination Update

Presidential Inauguration Day is always a special day. If you missed the inauguration poem given by 22 year old Amanda Gorman you missed something pretty cool.

In the last E-News I reported that Carl Cross, our very own President, was tasked with writing a letter to President Crow asking if ASURA members could be included in ASU's vaccination plans. 

Carl received a response from President Crow indicating he (Crow) was asking Nichol Luoma, Vice President of University Business Services, to connect with him to discuss this further. Nichol informed Carl that we (ASURA) now have a site at Phoenix Muni Stadium which is a public site and can be scheduled through the state’s website. She also told Carl that she would let Kevin Salcido in HR know of our concerns to see what else can be done for our retirees. For now, we are encouraged to visit the public sites if we fit the criteria.

Not quite the response we were hoping for but they did not say "no way" so there is always hope.

To help you keep up with what is going on we have created a COVID-19 webpage. The page contains links to vaccination sites in Pinal and Maricopa Counties as well as the Points of Distribution (POD) operated by the state (Arizona Department of Health Services). On these pages you can find:

  • lists of vaccination sites
  • availability of reservations at the listed sites
  • links to reservation webpages

If you want to schedule a vaccination, you should check these pages regularly. At the moment (noon on 1/20/2021)

  • There are no January or February appointments available at State Farm or Phoenix Muni
  • There is no availability at any of the five Maricopa Points of Distribution (POD)
  • It is less clear what is available on the Pinal site

As I mentioned in the last E-News, if you have not created an account with ADHS you should do so; even if you cannot actually schedule anything. The site is a portal for scheduling vaccinations at the various PODs and when appointments become available you don't want to be fiddling around creating your account.

Barry
E-New Editor

January 13

ASURA Continues to Function

Vaccine Availability

 

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
COVID vaccines are here today!
Amid the joy the Board did meet
To celebrate an astounding feat

Thank you, Lewis Carol, for the first line

ASURA Continues to Function

  • Joy Shearman reported our scholarship recipient did very well last semester with all As.
  • Bev Buddee reported that the first of the spring seminars is on track for tomorrow. It will be totally virtual using Zoom and just to keep you on your toes, admittance to the seminar will require a code which will be sent tomorrow morning, along with the seminar link, to all registered attendees.
  • Jeri Meeks is gearing up for the next Legislative session. She is looking for members who would like to try their hand at keeping an eye on the legislature. If you would like to join our active Government Liaison group drop Jeri a line at jeri.meeks@asu.edu.
  • Jan Thompson reported on a meeting in November between members of the retiree’s associations from the three state universities. During this meeting NAU asked if its members, “wintering” in Phoenix, could attend our events. See the spring Prime Times for a complete article.
  • One of our members asked about ASU’s vaccination plans and whether these plans could include ASURA members. Carl was asked to write President Crow to see if this was possible.

Vaccine Availability

Maricopa County has implemented its vaccine distribution plan and scheduling is now open for Phases 1A 1B.  Phase 1B includes those 75 and older which includes me and many/some/a few of our members. To get vaccinated you need to make an appointment; walk-ins are not possible.

Following is a “road map” of the vaccine scheduling information road trip.

  • We start our journey at the Maricopa County COVID-19 Vaccine webpage (https://www.maricopa.gov/5641/COVID-19-Vaccine). This page contains information about what Maricopa County is doing relative to vaccines. After reading what you want, scroll back to the top and click on the “Phase 1B Vaccination” button.
  • You are now on the “COVID-19 Vaccine – Phase 1B” webpage (https://www.maricopa.gov/5651/Phase-1B). There is good information on this site explaining the process, e.g., why you need an appointment. Once you are done reading, scroll down to the section “Adults Age 75 and Older” and click on the “Make Your Appointment” button.
  • You have now arrived at the “COVID-19 Vaccine Locations” page (https://www.maricopa.gov/5659/COVID-19-Vaccine-Locations). You are getting close to a registration page, the registration page is in sight. The current page has useful information about vaccine appointment availability for the four Maricopa County locations. It also includes the State Farm Stadium site, which operates 24/7, and is operated through the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). If there is availability at one of the sites there will be a link to allow you to register. At the bottom of the page there is a list of Albertson and Safeway pharmacies that are offering vaccinations. I am not sure it is working; I could find no available dates through May.

I recommend that even if there are no appointment times available that you go to the ADHS registration site (https://podvaccine.azdhs.gov/) and create your account. Connie and I used the ADHS site to register for appointments at Maricopa County’s Southeast facility at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. 

 3 January

Office Closure Continues

 2020 is in the review mirror and my traffic advisory app indicates they expect the vaccine traffic jam to begin to be reduced in the near future. With sunny skies (and no snow) 2021 is getting off to a nice start.

Office Closure to Continue

While the forecast is for better times we are still suffering the lingering effects of 2020 and as such:

  1. The ASURA Office will continue its closure. A reevaluation will be done later this month.
  2. If you call the Office and leave a voice message, these messages will be regularly reviewed and responded to.
  3. If you mail something to the Office, the US postal mail will be picked up every Tuesday.

Book donations will continue to be accepted but by appointment only. To make an appointment contact either Linda Van Scoy or Nancy Lesko to arrange for a time to meet at the Office. You may also call the Office at 480-965-7668 and leave a voice message. See our "Used Book Drive" webpage for more information