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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 - Topics||News|
ASU Office Closure
Changes in AZ in Person Voting
Meet the Candidates
E-news was happily aestivating in its cave until it got poked by Jeri Meeks. Awakened, it emerged from its cave long enough to produce the following short E-news then wandered back to its cave and fell back asleep.
The ASURA Office remains closed BUT thanks to the diligence of office managers Linda Van Scoy and Nancy Lesko, phone message are being listened and attended to and US Postal mail is being picked up and processed accordingly. The process is not as responsive as in the past but it is getting done, if more slowly.
Changes in AZ Voting – Voting in Person
Pat Schneider and Jeri Meeks attended a virtual meeting regarding changes to voting in Arizona. The meeting was presented by The Arizona Capital Times and had speakers from Citizens Elections Commission, Maricopa County Election Day and Emergency Voting and the Coconino County Recorder’s office. Jeri will prepare a full report for the fall issue of Prime Times and has prepared the following short version for E-news.
In the 2016 general election 2.7 million Arizona voters turned out – with 80% voting by mail. But if you like to vote in person, there are a few changes for the August and November 2020 elections. Arizonians will use Voting Centers instead of Precincts and adhere to COVID-19 safety measures.
Maricopa County is moving to a Voting Center model – replacing the precincts. Voting Centers will process ballots from any Maricopa County resident - voters will not be limited to using a specific precinct location. There will be 100 Voting Centers open August 4th for the Primary and more in November, as needed. Several Voting centers will be open 27 days before the voting deadline, with evening and weekend hours available. The Voting Centers will have in-person inside voting, drive-up voting for those with disabilities, and outside drop boxes for mail in ballots.
Maricopa County will not require voters to have and/or wear a mask, but will provide voters with masks, gloves, and one-time use pens. Coconino County will require masks, along with all other coronavirus safeguards. All poll workers will have face shields and gloves. Social distancing will be encouraged.
Voters can access a list of Voting Center locations with hours and wait times at https://recorder.maricopa.gov/pollingplace/ (or search for Locations.Maricopa.Vote).
Election Dates and Registration Deadlines:
Meet The Candidates
Sponsored by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission and Arizona Capitol Times, this year's Meet the Candidates event will be streamed live on YouTube at 6 p.m. each night from July 13 to July 17. You will have the opportunity to hear from the candidates and interact with them by sending in questions. Don't forget to register – the event is free to attend!
Note 1: If you do not remember your Legislative District use the District Locator
Note 2: The RSVP process involves “buying” a ticket to the event, which costs nothing since the event is free. After “buying” your ticket you will get a confirmation email and later in the week an email with a link to the meeting. Be sure to check your spam mail for the emails with the confirmation and event link.
To continue getting informative reports like the one above about changes in AZ Voting from ASURA’s Government Liaisons you will want to make sure to renew your membership. See Renew Your ASURA Membership.
If you have renewed your membership but have not yet heard back from ASURA thanking you for your continued support, it’s coming. As noted above the ASURA Office is operating but at a much slower speed. Also getting information about on-line donations/payments from the ASU Foundation has been slowed down by the way their new gifting application communicates with us.
UnitedHealthcare COVID-19 Testing Coverage
Sorry for this second E-News on the heals of the one earlier this week but I forgot to contact the ASURA health insurance liaisons to see if they had any current news they wanted to include. As it turned out Tara Roesler did have some information for those of you who use one of the UnitedHealthcare plans.
UnitedHealthcare VPVID-19 Testing Coverage
UnitedHealthvare is waiving member cost-sharing for health care provider-ordered COVID-19 testing and the test-related visit during the national public health emergency period, ending July 24, 2020. The testing-related visits include a visit to a health care provider’s office, an urgent care center, an emergency department or a telehealth visit. This coverage applies to Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, Individual and Group Market health plans.
The ASURA Office continues to be closed and phone messages left there are currently not being listened to. At the moment the best way to contact ASURA is via
ASURA Events During Physical Distancing
Report of the May Meeting of the Governor's Council on Aging
One hundred twelve degrees today, I guess summer must be here. While E-News would normally not be published during the summer months, these are not normal times and I thought it was important to let you know that ASURA is still here. Following are a few of the activities that have been going on.
ASURA Events During Physical Distancing
As the longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic stretch into the coming months, retirement organizations are having to creatively modify their in-person events to provide virtual connections. Carl Cross participated in an AROHE* Idea Exchange webinar on Adapting Events During Physical Distancing in the hopes of garnering some ideas that ASURA might use during this pandemic The webinar discussed ideas for a variety of retiree events such as social gatherings, recognition and awards ceremonies or other special events.
Sue Barnes, AROHE President, talked about membership engagement stating that “It’s easy for members to walk away from an organization, but it’s not as easy for them to walk away from people. Zoom allows people who don’t normally come to physical meetings to participate. We need to actively keep in touch with our retirees – one of the reasons for this E-news.
Carl prepared some notes from the webinar and has distributed them to the Board and Events chairs asking them to think about ways ASURA can hold interesting, safe events in the upcoming months, e.g., a Meet and Greet Pizza Picnic. If you have any ideas just reply to this E-News and I will pass them along to the Events chairs.
*AROHE – Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education. ASURA and the Emeritus College are members.
Report of the May Meeting of the Governor’s Council on Aging
Carl Cross rightly pointed out that we are being inundated with coronavirus items but I thought the following was worth pointing out since it is related directly to Arizona and shows continuing activity by ASURA members. Jeri Meeks, Pat Schneider, and others “attended” the May Zoom meeting of the Governor’s Council on Aging which discussed COVID-19 Testing. Jeri prepared a report which is available on ASURA’s Governor’s Council on Aging webpage.
If you value the activities that ASURA undertakes, now is the time to show your support. Membership renewal emails and letters will be coming out shortly and I hope you will want to renew. The ASU Foundation, which is the ASURA banker, has changed donor systems and so those of you who pay by credit card will notice a new look. Our look will change some in the coming weeks, as the folks at the Foundation learn more about their new system.
May Board Meeting,
ASURA Continues Working,
Well May has arrived; ASU had its virtual graduation; ASURA is still here; and the Governor is opening up the state. Let’s keep our collective fingers crossed.
May Board Meeting
The May Board meeting was a virtual meeting using Zoom. ASURA has had some previous experience using Zoom; Bev Buddy used Zoom last spring when one of the seminar’s attendance exceeded the room capacity and Trudy Perez has been using Zoom for her Pre-retirement seminars. The Board meeting went smoothly with between fourteen and seventeen in attendance; including Larry Carlson who attended while driving to California.
ASURA Continues Working
While the ASURA Office remains closed and Nancy Lesko continues with her knitting, ASURA still continues to work for its members.
COVID-19 Information Links
Jeri Meeks prepared the following list of COVID-19 Resources
|17 April -
Annual Meeting Comments
Today is ASURA’s Annual Meeting. While we cannot meet face to face to celebrate the successes of the past year and look forward to the upcoming year, we can still hear from this year’s President, Jan Thompson, as she metaphorically passes the gavel to next year's President, Carl Cross.
Jan Thompson Outgoing ASURA President
It has been a memorable year in so many ways. None of us will ever forget the difficult times that we’re living through today as we close a year of ASURA activities with our “virtual” Annual Meeting in the time of coronavirus. I was so looking forward to “Celebrating Prime Times” with all of you today as I thanked everyone for their wonderful help this past year and handed the gavel off to Carl, our next President. But alas, the gavel is “socially distanced” at the ASURA office where it will remain until September when we’ll hopefully reunite to launch another lively year of activities and events. I know we’ll all appreciate the friendship and camaraderie that ASURA offers even more when we’re able to get together again!
Carl Cross Incoming ASURA President
I’d also like to thank you all for attending our unique “virtual” 29th Annual Meeting. The first General Meeting was held April 14th, 1992. A lot has happened over the decades since a small group of retirees decided to create this Association. As illustrated in the Annual Report, there are many ways to become more involved and numerous activities to take part in. I challenge each of you to be an active member this year and to have fun as you meet new people and create new friendships through ASURA.
The 2019-2020 Annual Report is available for your review. If you are uncomfortable clicking on the link, then go to the ASURA home page, asura.asu.edu, open the Publications menu and select Annual Reports. You will see a table with all the Annual Reports including this year's edition.
4 April -
Jan Thompson in The Time of Coronavirus
Carl Cross in The Time of Coronavirus
One Important Recommendation You May Not Be Hearing
Staying in Contact in The Time of Coronavirus
Play Time in The Time of Coronavirus
Calendar of Upcoming Events in The Time of Coronavirus
Final Note n in The Time of Coronavirus
|I wonder if Gabriel García Márquez's estate receives any royalties from the seemingly unending use of “_____ In The Time Of ____” in coronavirus announcements and updates. I know it is a bit early for the April edition of E-News but with the extension of the stay at home directive thru April, Jan Thompson and Carl Cross, ASURA President and incoming President, thought it would be a good idea to let you know that ASURA is still here. This edition is a bit longer than normal but then I guess we have the time to read and reflect. Topics covered are:
ASURA In The Time Of Coronavirus
As you know the Annual Meeting has been postponed until next September and the ASURA Office has been closed until further notice but that does not mean ASURA has entirely shut down..
Jan Thompson In The Time Of Coronavirus
Jan sends her greetings to everyone. She has been enjoying lots of dog walks in the beautiful weather and spending MANY hours/day playing both the piano and the cello. She has a new cello teacher (Skype lessons) and expects to at least triple her amateur cello skills over the next few months. Watch for her to be duetting with Yo Yo Ma this fall! She wants to encourage anyone who has a musical instrument at home to activate it, whatever your skill level. Music can be a wonderful source of pleasure and comfort anytime, but especially now.
Carl Cross In The Time Of Coronavirus
Carl has been spending much of his time helping residents in his manufactured home community to relax and not allow this pandemic to control their lives. He sent the article below that he has been using to help accomplish this and thought it might be helpful for some of our ASURA members. As has Jan, Carl has been playing his organ and piano. Also, as a member of the East Valley Chorale, he is working on 20 songs that they were practicing before having to cancel their weekly rehearsals. As one of his neighbors remarked, “I’ve never seen so many clean windows.”
ONE IMPORTANT RECOMMENDATION YOU MAY NOT BE HEARING
Surgical Oncologist, at the Baylor College of Medicine
Comprehensive Cancer Center
Wherever you are in the world, you’re hearing about how Coronavirus (COVID-19) is rapidly spreading, I mean countries have shut down over this. First, let me say, yes, it’s important to take precautions. I’m not writing this to argue about that. But I do want to share something that’s been on my mind about what the biggest problem going on with all this is.
There’s something much worse that’s spreading a lot faster. It is FEAR. And here’s the truth. The FEAR of Coronavirus is deadlier than the virus itself. You see, when you are in fear, a reactive part of your brain called the amygdala takes control of your actions. You enter into a fight-flight-freeze response. (It’s what’s causing people to buy way too much toilet paper.) And when you are in this reactive state, your body starts producing a steroid called cortisol to help you handle the stress. And guess what cortisol does to your immune system? It WEAKENS it! We have bacteria, viruses, fungus and a whole array of foreign particles we are exposed to every day, but it’s your immune system that prevents you from getting sick.
When we’re stuck in fight-flight-freeze because of worries or anxiety, our bodies are eating a ton of energy because it actually thinks it might die at that current moment. And all that energy that’s gone now makes our bodies weaker and more vulnerable. Being afraid is literally making you even more susceptible to getting sick. And guess what else happens when you stay in fight-flight-freeze mode? You’re in a SELFISH, self-protective state. You literally lose the capability of thinking or having empathy.
How to Powerfully Boost Your Immune System
While taking proper precautions during these times, do the things that keep your immune system strong. Reducing stress helps your brain feel safe and puts your body out of fight-flight-freeze state and into a “rest and digest” state so your body is in recovery and ultimately maximizes your health.
So how can you do this?
Staying in Contact In The Time Of Coronavirus
One of the pluses of membership in ASURA is that the Association helps you keep in contact with fellow ASU colleagues – old and new. Just because you are stuck at home does not mean you have to lose face time with colleagues or family. There are several electronic ways to have real-time chats - you’ll need a computer/laptop/phone with a camera, microphone, and speaker.
Note – There are reports of third-party hackers attacking Zoom meetings. ASURA has not experienced any such thing but should it happen you have “Settings” in Zoom that can make your meetings more secure.
Play Time In The Time Of Coronavirus
So maybe you can reduce your stress by playing games with some of your colleagues / grandchildren - how about a Monday afternoon game of Scrabble, or Monopoly, or Go Fish. There are several online versions of a variety of board and card games. Most of them will require some set-up to get opponents invited / recognized.
Calendar of Upcoming Events In The Time Of Coronavirus
Final Note In The Time Of Coronavirus
If you would like to read a nice love story consider reading Love In The Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez.
I was supposed to be in California this week watching tennis at Indian Wells but the tournament was cancelled so instead I attended the next event on my list - the ASURA Board Meeting. This issue covers:
March ASURA Board Meeting
A few comments from the meeting
Sun Devil Giving Day – March 21
ASU’s seventh annual Sun Devil Giving Day is when the ASU community celebrates and encourages gifts in support of Arizona State University. All members of the ASU community—alumni, parents, fans, friends, faculty, staff, former employees, and students—are invited to give to the areas of ASU they care most about.
Sun Devil Giving Day is a perfect time to boost ASURA's Scholarship Endowment Fund and help support our annual $10,000 scholarship for a returning student. The link to our giving page is: https://givingday.asu.edu/colleges-and-programs/programs-and-centers/asu-retirees-association-scholarship-CA110541.html.
You can also donate to any of ASURA's other worthy projects--Video History, Adopt-a-Family, Book Drive, and the Scholarship Endowment fund--at any time through our website. Look for "DONATE" on the top menu bar on our home page, or for the red "DONATE" button on pages describing the above projects. Go Devils and thanks for your donations!
Jan Thompson, ASURA President
ASU Budget Request
Kendra Burton, ASURA's University Affairs Liaison, told the Board that ASU was somewhat optimistic that the Board of Regents' request of $100M dollars for The New Economy Initiative: Enhancing Arizona's Competitiveness would get funded. This initiative replaces the Board's previous efforts to get funding for 50% of the cost of educating an in-state student. The money is shared with the other two state universities with ASU's share being $46M. Stay tuned.
Ad Hoc Committee on Abuse . . .
With the number of Arizona seniors growing exponentially in the next decade, and in response to the 2019 Hacienda incident, the Governor’s Office put together an Ad Hoc Committee on Abuse and Neglect of Vulnerable Adults. Jeri Meeks along with Tara Roelser attended a February meeting. There were twelve panelists. Jeri's full report can be found in the minutes of the March Board meeting. Several bills have been introduced in the legislature at least partially because of this committee's work.
Legislative Bills Impacting Voting
Tara Roesler brought the following bills to the attention of the Board and now our members. If you feel strongly about any of these bills contact your legislator; be sure to use an email other than asu.edu, e.g., gmail.com, cox.net, etc. Note: If any of the HCR bills actually get passed by the legislature they must be approved by the public in a state election before becoming law.
|21 Feb 2020 - February Supplicment||
I was in such a hurry to get the E-news out that I forgot to include the following two items.
Color Version of Prime Times
.A color version of the spring 2020 Prime Times is now available on the ASURA website.
Volunteer for AROHE Awards Committee
Planning for AROHE’s 10th Biennial Conference, “Transforming Retirement: A 360° View,” October 18 – 20, 2020, hosted by Arizona State University, is underway. AROHE is the Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education and ASURA and the Emeritus College are members..
As part of the conference program nominations are now open for the AROHE HERO (Higher Education Retirement Organization) Awards. These awards are designed to recognize individuals as well as organizations for their outstanding contributions to retiree engagement in higher education.
In addition there are two new award categories to AROHE’s Innovation Award inaugurated in 2018 – the AROHE Distinguished Service Award and the AROHE Distinguished Leadership Award. To view details and/or submit your nominations for any of these three awards, please visit the HERO Awards web page for more information.
The planning committee is seeking volunteers to serve on the HERO Awards Selection Committee; specifically a retired staff member to serve on the HERO Awards Selection Committee. If you would like to volunteer please contact Jan Thompson.Barry McNeill
|20 Feb 2020||
This month has turned out to be a very busy month what with the opening of the croquet season and ASU Baseball. This issue covers:
January ASURA Board Meeting
A few comments from the meeting
House Bill 2124
Tara Roesler, an ASURA Legislative Liaison, brought House Bill 2124 to the attention of the Board. The bill was an attempt to keep people from using temporary addresses when they register to vote. The bill was poorly written and confusing and appeared to have some negative impact on retirees. The Board voted to actively oppose the bill. Luckily there were some rational legislators at the bill’s hearing because the bill was killed.
Note / Reminder: If you ever plan to write to your state legislator about some issue be sure to use an email other than asu.edu, e.g., gmail.com, cox.net, etc.
ASURA Board Member Elections
If you have not already voted in the ASURA Board Member Elections it is not too late. Voting ends Friday February 28; so, Don’t Delay Vote Today. Note: the problems we had earlier with mail sent to firstname.lastname@example.org have been resolved.
Changes in AZ Tax Laws
The AZ tax law on charitable gifts has changed. If you take the standard deduction, there are now ways you can also claim additional charitable contributions and you may want to discuss this with your tax consultant. If your income is less than $56,000 you qualify for help from Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
|15 Jan 2020||
I hope you all had a relaxing enjoyable holiday season but now it is time to get back to the business of being retired. This is a lengthy E-News with the following six items:
January ASURA Board Meeting
A few comments from the committee reports
Following are links to various pages in the ASURA / ASU websites that you might have overlooked and would find interesting. Once you’ve looked at the link maybe you can poke around and find something even more interesting.
A United Way Volunteer Opportunity – The Vello Program
Helping a Child Learn to Read.......and Other Volunteer Opportunities You Might Find Interesting in the New Year
By John Millikin, PhD
When I retired from teaching in 2012 one of the things I noticed was that retirees were no longer part of the United Way campaigns as we were no longer on payroll. Working with the Valley of the Sun United Way (VSUW) we created Retire United as a focal point for continued involvement in the community. [Editors Note: ASURA members do receive annual letters asking for donations to the United Way through ASU] We now have several hundred retirees in Retire United including ASU participants. We have found that many of us who participated as donors over the years now have more time to volunteer.
There are a number of different VSUW programs that benefited from Retiree United volunteers. These include:
Originally Vello was staffed by teams of employees at VSUW partner companies, but we have created a team of Retired United participants to support a specific school and class. This has worked well as I can personally attest! You can get a feel for the program at Vello Video Library.
We are seeking ASURA members who would be interested in developing an additional team of volunteers to support another school
While we always accept donations, there is no giving requirement to participate and you can sign up for free. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact John Hamilton, Retire United Chair or me at John.Milikin@asu.edu or (602)370-2941.
Employee Hearing Screening
The ASU Speech and Hearing Clinic is holding free fifteen-minute hearing screenings on the various ASU campuses. The test includes:
Downtown Phoenix campus
ASU Retirees Association
Mailing address: PO Box 873308, Tempe, AZ 85287
Physical address: Community Services Building Room 201, 200 E. Curry, Tempe, AZ