E-news for 2020

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

9 December

Office Closure

Board Election Nominations

Enews Image

The ASURA Office has historically closed for the two weeks around Christmas and New Years. However, at the moment, Scrooge is withholding coal for the brazier so Bob Cratchit and the ASURA Office Staff are shivering in the Community Services Building (CSB) forcing Linda Van Scoy and Nancy Lesko, the ghosts of Christmas present, to issue the following announcements:

  1. The ASURA Office will be closed from December 10 to January 5.
  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.
  4. 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..

Board Nomination

There is still time to get your nominations in for next year's new Board Member elections. We had a good response from the November solicitation but Jan Thompsonj (jml6000@gmail.com), Chair of 2021 ASURA Board Nominating committee, would like more names. We welcome members to offer the name of a current ASURA member or your own name as a potential board member by notifying the Nominating Committee chair of your nomination

7 December

Holiday Greeting


While there was no Board Meeting or Annual Holiday Potluck and Bake Sale this month the Board has not forgotten you. Carl Cross, ASURA President, reminds us that Christmas is a time when our thoughts turn to the special people that have come into our lives… and as we remember, our hearts are warmed with love.

The Board wishes you the quiet beauty of a peaceful Christmas season. May your heart be light and your Christmas be bright!

2020-2021 Board Pictures

13 November

ASU News

Open Enrollment

Board Nominations

ASURA Activities

The Board held another Zoom Board meeting last Tuesday. One member showed up with Zoom-provided bushy pink eyebrows and mustache. There was certainly some hopeful news this past week on the vaccine front. Maybe we won’t have to become Solarians after all (see Isaac Asimov’s Naked Sun for details).

ASU News

Simin Levinson, University Senate Liaison, joined the Board meeting and reported on several items of interest.

  • As you may be read in ASU News, Mark Searle, University Provost, is stepping down next June. An internal search is underway to pick his replacement with the goal of having the selection completed by Thanksgiving. Mark’s replacement will shadow him during the next months to ease the transition.
  • Enrollment is down 5% which is a concern. So far ASU has not had to furlough or lay off faculty/staff unlike their sister state institutions but this might change if enrollment doesn’t begin to grow back.
  • ASU is planning to offer a number of not-for-credit academic opportunities during the semester break to try and keep students engaged and enrolled. Some faculty are not sure students want to be engaged during the break.

Open Enrollment

ADOA open enrollment has closed on a very difficult session. Larry Carlson, ADOA Health Insurance Liaison, helped many many members grapple with the new tiered system. We all owe Larry a vote of much eaned thanks for his tireless efforts. Larry did report that while the open enrollment window has closed, ADOA has been willing to work with those who missed the window due to circumstances beyond their control, e.g., being in the hospital.

Board Nominations

Each year ASURA holds a February election for five new members of the ASURA Board of Directors.  The Board manages the affairs of the Association and establishes policies as needed to carry out its mission.  Members of the Board are elected for a term of three years and meet monthly during the academic year.

We welcome members to offer the name of a current ASURA member or your own name as a potential board member by notifying the Nominating Committee chair of your nomination. To be sure that your nominee’s name gets on the ballot, you can (as mandated by ASURA Bylaws) submit a petition of nomination bearing the signatures of at least ten current ASURA members. All nominating petitions must be received by January 15, 2021.

Send your suggestions or self-nomination to:

Jan Thompson (jmt6000@gmail.com)
Chair of 2021 ASURA Board Nominating Committee

ASURA Activities

While the Corona virus has slowed us down it has not shut us down. We had a highly successful Open Enrollment seminar in October, the pre-retirement seminars continue to be offered monthly and the seminar committee is planning a full slate of seminars for the spring. Be sure to check the ASURA website for links to upcoming events.

15 October

The Board Meeting

Open Enrollment

Virtual Social mEvents

Upcoming Election

An AROHE Webinar

The Board held its third Zoom meeting last Tuesday and it is slowly getting to be more comfortable. We practiced “raising” our Zoom hand to ask a question which turned out to be fruitless since as usual we all waited for a small crack in the conversion to jump in with our two cents worth. Sending Carl a speed up or slow down emoji did not have any effect. We have not yet twigged onto sending notes to each other but maybe at the next meeting.

Well so much for this nonsense, in this issue there is material on:

  • The Board Meeting
  • Open Enrollment
  • Virtual Social Events
  • Upcoming Election
  • An AROHE Webinar

ASURA Board Meeting

The main business was the review and approval of the budget for this year. ASURA is financially sound and can continue supporting the $10,000 / year scholarship. There was also discussion about health insurance and virtual social events which triggered the two following items.

Open Enrollment

The health insurance open enrollment period is upon us or will be soon. For those using ADOA plans you have to make a choice or lose your coverage. For those using ASRS plans this is a passive year so you don’t have to make a choice to keep your current coverage. The amount of informational material available is almost overwhelming, snail mail, webinars, websites, etc. Following are some information sites that Larry Carlson, ASURA ADOA health insurance liaison, or I thought could be useful.

Virtual Social Events

It is becoming increasingly clear that ASURA is not going have any in-person social events for the remainder of this year. The three spring seminars are currently Zoom meetings. It may be possible that the April Annual Meeting can be conduced in-person; we will see. So, what can we do in the meantime?

Trudy Perez, ASURA Events Chair, told the Board about a Zoom social event she organized. Zoom has breakout rooms that let you create smaller collections of attendees. Trudy and co are just beginning to think about what might be good for ASURA. Let us hope they come up with an interesting event.

If you have participated in a largish virtual social event or have some ideas about such an event drop Trudy a line telling her about your experiences or ideas.

Upcoming Election

The 2020 election is less than a month away. ASURA encourages all of you to vote. Early voting has started. You can go to one of the voting centers today and vote or drop off your mail-in ballot. Go to iwillvote.com/AZ to find voting / drop-off locations near you.

AROHE Webinar – Wellness and Social Connection

Join a conversation related to the importance of social supports to one's individual and collective wellbeing and explore the opportunities and roles institutions and retirement organizations may provide to enhance the wellbeing of their members, communities, and institutions. This webinar will be presented via Zoom on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 9:00 AM - 10:00 am PST. Since ASURA is a member of AROHE you are a member as well and can Click here to login in and register

20 September

Prime Times Alert

A little something to cheer you up after last night's debate. The color version of the fall 2020 Prime Times is now available on the ASURA website. Jeannette has done another masterful job with this issue.

10 September

The Board Meeting

The ASURA Office

FAll Meet & Greet

Life Long Learning

COIVID-19 Saliva Testing

Sixteen or so Board Members, Committee Charis and Liaisons gathered around their computers and ASURA held its September Board Meeting. Business was conducted and Carl Cross “gaveled” it closed about 11:30 am. This issue has material on:

  • The Board Meeting
  • The ASURA Office
  • The Fall Meet & Greet Pizza Party
  • Life Long Learning
  • COVD-19 Saliva Testing

ASURA Board Meeting

  • Jeri Meeks, Government Liaison Council, reported she will continue attending the Governor’s Council on Aging meetings. Jeri’s report on August’s meeting on developing guidelines for long-term care home visitors is available on the ASURA Website.
  • Membership status was discussed. The good news is that membership is up four members despite the virus. It was agreed to send paper reminders to those who were paying members last year but have not renewed. It was mentioned that a few Board Members and committee chairs will be getting one of these letters
  • Bev Buddee, seminar chair, reported the first announcement for the Medicare, 2021 ADOA/ASRS Open Enrollment seminar had gone out. She reminded the meeting that this will be a virtual seminar using Zoom. Barry McNeill reported that 70 had already registered and this could turn out to be ASURA’s most attended seminar.

ASURA Office is Open

After a long break the ASURA Office is again open Tuesday thru Thursday. If you plan to visit you should plan on masking up.

Fall Meet and Greet Pizza Party

No pizza, No party, No meet BUT there is GREET! First up in the program is Carl Cross, ASURA President.

Welcome to our non-event! It has certainly been an interesting spring and summer for everyone, but ASURA has continued to provide useful information and learning opportunities through it all. We had originally hoped to have our fall kick-off and the postponed annual meeting this month, but the situation is still that it would not be a safe nor healthy activity. We will continue to offer our seminars on Zoom and send out E-news as information becomes available. Hopefully we can get back together in the spring if people continue to practice safe and healthy daily living.

Next up is Barry McNeill, ASURA Oompa Loompa

Thank you Carl. I know everyone is anxious to get back together. I would like to especially welcome all our new Introductory Members. I don’t have enough space or time to tell you about the various ASURA committees and what they do. But please take half an hour and look at the ASURA website for information about all the committees and projects. Then if you see something of interest drop the chair a note and I am sure they will be glad to have another member on the committee. Again don’t forget to sign up for the Open Enrollment Seminar and hopefully we can all gather early next year and celebrate the end of the pandemic. 

Life Long Learning

It is not too late to take advantage of a smoking deal from New Frontier for Life Long Learning. For a modest fee you can have access to a number of courses offered by Mesa Community College. See the link in the Calendar of Upcoming Events at the end for more details.

AZDHS – ASU COVID-19 Saliva Testing

This item appeared in the August E-news but I thought it was worth repeating. COVID-19 saliva tests are available to anyone by appointment only. I have not taken the test but my son-in-law has and he reports it is very efficient and quick.

To schedule a test click on the link above which sends you to an Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) webpage that discusses the ASU saliva test. The page contains much information and you should review it all, especially the schedule of “Upcoming Events” which contains the Agency Code you will need to create your account.

15 August

Free COVID-19 Saliva Testing

Just a short note about free COVID-19 saliva testing for everyone. ASU has partnered with the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) to provide free drive-thru COVID-19 testing at sites around the Valley and State. The tests are available to anyone by appointment only.

AZDHS – ASU Corvid-19 Saliva Testing
When you click on the link above you are sent to an AZDHS webpage that discusses the ASU saliva test. The page contains much information and you will want to make sure to review it all, especially the schedule of “Upcoming Events”, i.e., upcoming testing, and the FAQs.

Getting Started
In order to pre-register for a test, which is required, you need an account so on your first visit you will need to create your account. This is easy enough to do provided you know an Agency Code. And where might I find such a code you ask? Why in the calendar of upcoming events of course!

If you don’t see “Upcoming Events” scroll down a bit until you do. Each testing date shows:

  • a location,
  • hours of operation, 
  • the Agency Code for that location (write this code down), and 
  • a link to “Pre-register”. 

Click on the “Pre-register” link and then  on the “Sign up for an account” link. A new popup window appears asking for, of all things, an Agency Code. Enter your code and fill out the form to create your account. You are now ready to schedule your test.

A Word of Advice
Much of the information in the FAQ will be included in the email confirming your appointment but a word to the wise from ASURA’s own Larry Carlson – make sure you are hydrated; it is a saliva test after all. But you must do your hydrating more than thirty minutes before the test because “you cannot chew gum, use tobacco products or have anything to eat or drink — even water — for 30 minutes prior to submitting a sample” (see FAQ "How does saliva testing work?").

Happy Testing

Calendar of Upcoming Events
Be sure to check the ASURA website for links to any upcoming events. Also mark your calendars for the open enrollment Zoom seminar in October.

ASU Organized Events

September 08 (Tuesday)
ASURA Zoom Board Meeting

October 8 (Thursday)
2021 Medicare-ADOA-ASRS Open Enrollment (Zoom) Seminar
Registration is open

October 13 (Tuesday)
ASURA Zoom Board Meeting

November 10 (Tuesday)
ASURA Zoom Board Meeting

December 08 (Tuesday)
ASURA Zoom Board Meeting

Barry McNeill, editor

19 July

Free Resuable Cloth Face Masks

Extraordinary times produce extraordinary things, e.g., a second summer E-News. Jill De Michele alerted ASURA to the follow announcement from the Arizona Department of Health Services about obtaining free face masks from the State.

Five, Free Washable, Reusable Cloth Face Masks

I expect many of you already have a handy supply of face masks but if you do not and would like some or would like to augment your current supply the following offer seems like a pretty good deal.

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) posted a form allowing qualified Arizonians to request five free face mask. The posting states, “We (ADHS) intend to provide cloth face masks to individuals 65 years and older and other identified vulnerable populations.” The form asks for your email address, name, and mailing address; pretty simple.

Calendar of Upcoming Events

Be sure to check the ASURA website for links to any upcoming events. Also mark your calendars for the open enrollment Zoom seminar in October.

September 08 (Tuesday)
ASURA Zoom Board Meeting

October 8 (Thursday)
2021 Medicare-ADOA-ASRS Open Enrollment (Zoom) Seminar
Registration will open in August

October 13 (Tuesday)
ASURA Zoom Board Meeting

November 10 (Tuesday)
ASURA Zoom Board Meeting

December 08 (Tuesday)
ASURA Zoom Board Meeting

Barry McNeill, editor

8 July

ASU Office Closure

Changes in AZ in Person Voting

Meet the Candidates

Membership Renewal

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.

ASURA Office

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:

  • Primary Election – August 4, 2020 (registration deadline July 6, 2020)
  • General election – November 3, 2020 (registration deadline October 5, 2020)

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.

Membership Renewal

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.

31 May

UnitedHealthcare COVID-19 Testing Coverage

Contacting ASURA

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.

Contacting ASURA

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

Barry McNeill

29 May

ASURA Events During Physical Distancing

Report of the May Meeting of the Governor's Council on Aging

Membership Renewal

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.

Membership Renewal

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. 

14 May

May Board Meeting,

ASURA Continues Working,

COVID-19 Links

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.

  • The meeting attendees felt uncomfortable scheduling the Meet and Greet with the postponed Annual Meeting for next September and agreed to cancel this event. The future of other group events is on hold.
  • The September Board meeting will again be a Zoom meeting. The Board meetings are open to all ASURA members and if you would like to attend this Zoom meeting just reply to this email to let us know of your desire and I will add you to the list of those receiving meeting announcements including Zoom links.
  • The AROHE annual convention scheduled for Phoenix in the fall of 2020 has been postponed until the fall of 2021. Dave Scheatzle completed and submitted the Video History Project’s application for the AROHE Innovation Award which is awarded at the annual convention.
  • Jeff Chapman mentioned an unfortunate situation he encountered with travel. He had booked an international tour with a reputable company for travel this summer. When the event was cancelled due to COVID-19, while initially being told he would get a refund, he eventually was told his only option was to rollover the payment for a trip next year. As Jeff pointed out, at our age postponing something for a year is not as trivial a matter as it used to be. Fair Warning: Since COVID-19 is now a known event, many travel/tourism companies & insurance plans will likely not reimburse for COVID-19 caused cancellations, delays etc.

ASURA Continues Working

While the ASURA Office remains closed and Nancy Lesko continues with her knitting, ASURA still continues to work for its members.

  • Jeannette Robson completed the summer edition of Prime Times. When you’ve read your copy you might want to view a color version on the ASURA website. Note: Would you like to help us save some paper, printing, and mailing costs by reading Prime Times online (it’s in color there!)? If so, replay to this email saying you no longer want to receive the paper copy of Prime Times. I’ll take it from there.
  • Jeri Meeks and Co are attending Zoom meetings of the Governor’s Council on Aging. The next meeting will address Corona virus testing. Look for Jeri’s write-up on the ASURA website in late May or early June.
  • ASRS, through the procurement processes of the Arizona Department of Administration (ADoA), sought proposals for the next five years’ health plans for active and retired members. The proposals are now being reviewed by a committee of ASRS members (of which Dick Jacob is one) assisted by the Segal Group (healthcare consultants,) and staff from ASRS and ADoA.
  • Trudy Perez and Liz Badalamenti are getting the next Pre-retirement seminar ready to go in August.
  • Bev Buddee and her committee are working on how to deliver the annual Open Enrollment seminar in October.
  • Becky Reiss continues to process obituaries.
  • Connie McNeill and Carolyn Minner are working to get the annual membership renewal letters out to you at the end of May. Hopefully you will see the good work ASURA is still doing (see above) and will renew your membership. 

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!

More than anything, my year as your President has made me so appreciate the amazing number of people involved in keeping our organization healthy, vital, and growing. Our officers, board members, committee chairs and members, and government/health care liaisons are constantly engaged in activities that keep our all-volunteer organization successful and thriving. Please be sure to read their summaries of the year’s activities in our Annual Report below and you will appreciate the wide-ranging breadth of their accomplishments. I can’t begin to thank you all enough for your contributions, suggestions, and cooperation over this past year. It has been a pleasure to work with all of you and to meet and interact with so many of our members over this past year.

Special thanks to our outgoing officers--Treasurer Barry Bruns and Secretary Pat Schneider--for their exemplary years of service and to outgoing board members Barry McNeill, Don Nilson and William Stasi for their ongoing dedication to ASURA. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Barry McNeill (my original ASURA mentor) for his year-long guidance and support. Barry coordinates so many behind-the-scenes details and did a great job of keeping me on track. And both Barry and Connie’s upkeep of the E-News and website and Jeannette Robson’s excellent work on Prime Times have been invaluable, as always. Lastly, a big thank you to my friend Carl Cross for jumping into the Co-Presidency last fall during my absence and for assuming the “virtual” Presidency now. Things can only get better! You’ll be a steady hand and a great leader for ASURA, Carl.

Thank you all for the opportunity to serve as your President. It has been a highlight of my retirement and a time that I will always cherish. Please be safe as we continue to work our way through the next few months. I look forward to seeing you all in a happy and healthier September!

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.

I retired at the end of August in 2015 and attended my first ASURA Annual Meeting the following spring. It was there I volunteered to be the liaison for the University Club and began attending the monthly Board meetings. Although I was only an ex-officio member of the Board, I soon volunteered to be a part of the Video History Project, utilizing my experience with the ASU Digital Repository that I contributed to before retiring from the University Library. 

In January 2019, I submitted my name to the nominating committee to be on the Board. Once the voting had taken place, Jan Thompson was busy trying to find a Vice-President before the March Board meeting. After much arm-twisting and reassurance, I agreed to serve. 

I have always enjoyed the comfort of being in a “support” position, rather than at the head of the table. However, with the incredible support of our Board and our wonderful volunteers, I knew that everyone was always willing to help each other. That’s one of the things that makes ASURA a very special and active organization.

I know that I’ll be leaning on Immediate Past President Jan Thompson, as ASURA completes its third decade in the spring of 2021. We extend a warm welcome to our five new board members – Larry Edmonds, Kathy Gunn, Mark Henderson, Jill Massara, and Trudy Perez. Our new Officers are Larry Edmonds, Vice President; Jane Carey, Secretary; and Jill Massara, Treasurer.  Thank you all for your willingness to serve.

I’m looking forward to a great year, filled with lots of fun and exciting events that will allow each of us to not only enjoy our retirement, but continue to be active and contributing members of the ASU family.

Annual Report

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 -
ASURA In The Time Of Coronavirus

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:
  • Jan Thompson
  • Carl Cross
  • Staying In Contact
  • Play Time

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.. 

  • Joy Shearman is working remotely with her committee to select next year’s scholarship recipient.
  • The Video History Project is very busy
    • Dave Scheatzle is working with the Video History group to develop a submission for the AROHE Innovation Award to be awarded at the annual convention next fall, held here in Phoenix.
    • Dave, Linda Van Scoy, Roger Carter, John McIntosh, and I continue editing past interviews.
    • Pat Schneider and Evelyn Cesarotti are working on adding Abstracts and Table of Contents to interviews in the Digital Repository. If you would like to join Pat and Evelyn in learning something new about ASU and enhancing the Video History’s interview collection let me know.
  • Becky Reiss continues to process obituaries

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.” 


by Dr. Eugene K. Choi,

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?

  • Practice the act of shifting your focus to things you are grateful for.
  • Take some time to think about the things you have that others don’t.
  • Or if that’s hard to be grateful for, try thinking about all the people in the front lines working to contain this pandemic.
  • Take notice of things that allow you to feel grateful. Doing this immediately gets you out of the fight-flight-freeze state.
  • Practice empathy. Spend time connecting with your loved ones that you are not with. Laugh with them. Tell them you appreciate them. 
  • Spreading joy to others boosts their immune systems as well.
  • Spend these next few weeks as if it will be a long while before you have this rare time to connect with your loved ones at home or just have your alone time to recharge.
  • Send your love to those who are getting ill because this is bigger than just ourselves.

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.

  • Skype has been around for years. You will need to add the Skype app to your device, and you are then pretty much ready to go.
  • Zoom is a newer application and is what ASURA has been using for its pre-retirement seminars and one sold out regular spring seminar. It is free if your meeting is 40 minutes or less. If you want to have longer meetings you can sign into MYASU and use the commercial grade version of Zoom with unlimited meeting times. As with Skype you will need to load an app on your device

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.

  • Gotomeetings is another possibility. There is a free trial period but then it is $12/month.

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.

10 March

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
  • Sun Devil Giving Day
  • ASU Budget Requests
  • The Calendar of Upcoming Events

March ASURA Board Meeting

A few comments from the meeting

  • Board Member Elections - Tara Roesler
    Tara reported that one hundred thirty-seven ballots were submitted, fifty-two by US Postal Service and 85 by email and that all five candidates were elected. 
  • Slate of New Officers - Carl Cross
    The Board approved Carl Cross' slate of Officers for next year; the new Officers will be introduced at the Annual Meeting in April.
  • AROHE Innovation Award - Jan Thompson
    The Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education (AROHE) is holding its annual meeting in Phoenix next fall. The Board approved nominating the Video History Project for the Innovation Award. Dave Scheatzle, Linda Van Scoy, Roger Carter, and John McIntosh have agreed to work up the application. 

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.

  • SB1505; nursing supported group homes; licensure.
  • HB2549; adult protective services; audit; appropriation. 
  • HB2550; DHS; long-term care facility surveyors.
  • HB2793; group homes; monitoring; appropriation..  
  • SB1283; appropriation; emergency shelter beds;seniors. 

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. 

  • HB2054 allows a partisan, Governor-appointed, commission that requires no partisan balance, to review and revoke rulings by the Citizen’s Clean Election Commission. Has already PASSED the House.
  • SB1020 – Puts a “warning label” on every citizen initiative or referendum. It is intended to discourage a “yes” vote. Has already PASSED the Senate.
  • HCR2046 would require re authorization of every citizen-passed initiative or referendum every 10 years; ready for a vote in the House.
  • HB2343 requires those who drop off early voting ballots on election day at the polls to have to stand in line, show ID, and sign a log; (long lines depress voting); ready for a vote in the House.
  • HCR2039 – would require 1/30th of all initiative signatures to come from each of the 30 legislative districts!! This would make initiatives/referenda almost impossible. It has PASSED the House.
  • HR2004 – Puts Arizona on record as supporting the electoral college whereas over the past decade there has been bipartisan support for the National Popular Vote Compact.
  • HCR2032 - Restricts the subject of any initiative to one area so if multiple changes are needed, multiple initiatives and thus multiple signature drives would be required.
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:

  • February ASURA Board Meeting
  • House Bill 2124
  • Board Member Elections
  • Changes in the AZ Tax Laws
  • The Calendar of Upcoming Events

January ASURA Board Meeting

A few comments from the meeting

  • ASU Day at the Capital
    Bill Stasi, Jeri Meeks, and Tara Roesler represented ASURA and had a table at the event (a few pictures). President Crow stopped by and complimented the work done by ASURA.
  • Presentation at the Academic Senate – Jan Thompson
    Jan reported that ASURA has been invited to make a presentation to the Academic Senate on March 2. Jan will be presenting an overview of what ASURA is and does. This invitation is a first.
  • Live Streaming of ASURA Seminars – Bev Buddee
    Bev reported that the February seminar was streamed live using Zoom. This became necessary when the room capacity was reached early in the registration period. The March seminar will also be streamed using Zoom. You will get further information about this when the second announcement comes out.

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 asura@asu.edu 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:

  1. A few comments from the January ASURA Board meeting
  2. Interesting Links
  3. A United Way Volunteer Opportunity
  4. Employee Hearing Screenings
  5. Calendar of Upcoming Events (omitted)

January ASURA Board Meeting

A few comments from the committee reports

  • The Pre-retirement Seminar – Trudy Perez and Liz Badalamenti Co-chairs
    The Pre-retirement seminars have really taken off. The goal is to provide information to those about to retire about retirement issues that are not addressed by the HR retirement sessions. The seminars have increased in number from one or two a year to monthly. They are given in the Computing Commons and are available via Zoom across all the campuses. Links to the last three presentations can be found in the next section.
  • Government Liaison Committee – Jeri Meeks
    Jeri reported on her first review of the bills coming out of the legislature. At the moment there did not appear to be anything to be concerned with. Tara Roesler also mentioned that there are some bills to allow ASRS the possibility of becoming self-insured

Interesting Links

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.

  • Governor’s Council on Aging – The November meeting addressed efforts at capping drug costs.
  • Video History Project – The interview with Gus Edwards, playwright and ASU professor is now available from the ASU Digital Repository.
  • Past Event – A write-up and a few pictures from the Luncheon and Special Project's ASU Women’s Basketball event.
  • Pre-retirement – Videos of the latest three pre-retirement seminar presentations

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:

  • working with area school districts to provide backpacks with school supplies and reading materials to disadvantaged students.
  • Project Connect to help get homeless and other poor people connected to right social services, and
  • more recently the Vello program which links adult volunteers online with individual elementary students who can benefit by extra reading support. These students have a computer set up in their classrooms and through a unique app can read while being coached remotely by a volunteer who may be located in their home, office or even on a vacation trip as long as one has a web connection.

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:

  • A pure-tone test to determine if hearing levels are at or below the screening levels at key speech frequencies.
  • A tympanogram measurement to determine middle ear function.
  • An otoscopic evaluation to determine if outer ear issues such as cerumen ear wax or other problems need attention.

Polytechnic campus
Monday, February 3 | 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Student Union, Cooley ballroom A
Appointments required 

West campus
Monday, February 10 | 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.

UCB 265
Appointments required 

Downtown Phoenix campus
Monday, February 17 | 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Appointments required 

Tempe Campus
Monday, February 24 | 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

ASU Speech and Hearing Clinic - Coor Hall, 2nd Floor (follow the signs)
Appointments required