February / March 2018

Published: January 20, 2018   Views: 603    Share:

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 6 - Craig Turner “The Unique Piano Guy with 50 years of experience”
 9 - Board Meeting 10 AM- 1 PM, Biscuit Country Cafe,7026 E. Broadway Blvd.
13 - John McCann “All about the American Council of the Blind,” John is the National Second Vice President and President of the AZ State ACB
15 - TSB Rodeo Concert, Tom Chambers, 6:00pm - 8:30pm, Fellowship Square, 8111 E. Broadway Blvd, Villa 2 Great Room, see article below
17 - Memorial Service for Bill Elser, 2:00pm Fellowship Square Villa 2 Great Room, see article about Bill below.
20 - Dr. Leonard Joffe, retired retinal specialist, “Latest Research in Treating AMD and RP,” stay until noon. Please ask general questions for all to learn from.
27 - Dr. Ron Lester, blind author of “I'm Blind, What's Your Excuse?” Motivating and inspiring speaker, stay until noon for Chick-fil-A lunch, includes chicken sandwich, fruit, and cookie


No regular meeting on March 6 and 13.
 6 - SPECIAL EVENT: Field Trip to Reid Park Zoo & Zoo Adventure, 9:30am - 2:30pm. Cost $5 plus lunch. See details below.
 9 - Board Meeting, 10 AM-1 PM, Biscuit Country Cafe, 7026 E. Broadway Blvd.
13 - TSB closed - Christ Presbyterian Annual Flee Market, March 15–17.
15 - Field trip to The Presidio, Cost $5 plus lunch at La Cocina, across the street 9:45am – 1:00pm, see article below.
20 - Personal Safety and Tech, Part 2, Barbara Macpherson.
27 - “Fire Safety” with Cecilia Mendoza, city of Tucson.
April 3 - Suzi Gunn, Orientation and Mobility Specialist

  Upcoming Programs

March 6 - Field trip to Reid Park Zoo Adventure. Cost $5 plus lunch. Take Sun Van to the zoo to arrive by 9:30am and depart after 2:30pm at the main entrance. We will have lunch from 12:00 to 12:45pm at the zoo cafe. The zoo adventure will be from 1-2pm. Cost $5 in advance paid to Vicki or Barbara.

At the zoo we will attend an educational classroom presentation and also get to touch three live animals. For an additional $3 you can feed the giraffes at 10:00am. The newest members of the zoo are the two small red pandas who eat bamboo like their bigger black and white cousins. Wheelchairs are available for free at the gift shop, and solar keys are available to read exhibits. RSBP to Barbara by Feb 27, call: 520-298-2427

March 15 Field trip to the Presidio San Agustin, a rebuilt fort of what Tucson looked like in 1775. Jean Baxter will give us a personal guided tour of all the exhibits; blacksmith, weaving, bread making including touching the cannon. Take Sun Van to 196 N Court Ave arriving by 9:45am and departing after 1:00pm. Cost $5 plus lunch. We will eat at La Cocina across the street at 202 N. Court Ave. Menu includes $9 sandwiches: turkey, pulled pork, reuben, and burgers, salads for $12, Tacos with beans and rice for $12, prices are approximate not including tax and tip. RSVP to Barb by Feb 27, call: 520-298-2427.

TSB Rodeo Concerts, Thursday Feb 15

Fellowship Square, Villa 2 Great Room, 6:00-8:30 p.m. Tickets $10 per person.
Silent Auction and Raffle drawing on February 15.

Join us for a fabulous Rodeo Concert of Western Music by Tom Chambers. Tom will be playing favorites such as Tumbling Tumbleweed, Cool Waters, Ghost Riders in the Sky, and many more. Tom Chambers has many entertaining stories to tell. Call Barbara Macpherson 520-298-2427 ahead of time for Rodeo Tickets which are $10 each. Raffle tickets are available from Tom Young 520-721-1029. Tickets are 6 for $5 or 12 for $10. Grand prize $100 cash 2nd prize crocheted afghan, third prize 2 theater tickets. You do not have to be present to win. TSB appreciates the support from everyone, 100% of the proceeds go directly to the general TSB budget.


Blind Standard Deduction Retained in Tax Cut Bill. The good news is the additional standard deduction for the blind was maintained in the new tax bill. This means that a blind person filing single or head of household will get an additional $1,550 deduction. A blind person filing married will get an additional $1,250 deduction, and two blind spouses filing jointly will get an additional $2,500 deduction.

Support TSB & Pay Your TSB Dues

It's time to pay annual membership dues for TSB of $15 for 2018. Dues help to pay for luncheons, entertainment and the printing of the newsletter. There are three ways to pay your dues; by check via mail to: Tucson Society of the Blind, P.O. Box 57655, Tucson, AZ 85732, or in cash or by check in person to our Treasurer, or using PayPal on our website, www.tucsonsocietyofthelbind.org (service fee of $0.50 applied).
The TSB website is updated regularly with new photos of members at our activities, upcoming calendar, current and past newsletters, among other information. Check the website out at www.tucsonsocietyoftheblind.org.

  In Loving Memory of Bill Elser

Bill Elser, 94, a founding member of TSB passed away on Thursday, January 4th. With his powerful voice and a twinkle in his eyes, he became TSB's cheerleader. Bill was warm and loving and supported TSB with generous financial contributions. He especially liked the TSB programs containing music. Bill is responsible for bringing Tom and Bobby Young into TSB by a chance meeting at Jason Deli. Bill also lived many years at Fellowship Square and encouraged Erma Bartley and other visually impaired individuals to attend the Low Vision Support Group there. Bill is a 65 year member of the Lions Club. He was known as “Mr. Volunteer” and treated others with kindness. Bill is survived by two sisters Carolyn and Ann. He was buried in his Lion's outfit, in a grave by his wife, on Jan 17 in Rochester, New York. A memorial service will be held at Fellowship Square Villa 2 Great Room at 2:00pm on Sat Feb 17. Bill was our "anchor" and will be greatly missed at TSB.

  In Loving Memory of Bruce Davis

Bruce Davis, 59, a member of TSB passed away on Wednesday, January 3rd. Bruce was a wonderful person, a friendly gentleman, with a cheerful attitude. He went totally blind six years ago and was a radio DJ and skippers mate sailing the Caribbean seas. Bruce will be greatly missed. A memorial service is planned for the end of the month.

  Erma’s Eye Opener

Promising new strategy to protect the optic nerve in Glaucoma
A national Glaucoma Research funded study which Repurposes an EXisting Drug may help preserve vision. Gillian McLeilan, PhD, at the University of Wisconsin will test a promising new treatment strategy for glaucoma. Dr. McLeilan and her team of researchers plan to repurpose an existing FDA approved drug to block a chemical growth factor thought to play an important role in processes that lead to damage to the optic nerve, which results in vision loss for persons with glaucoma. The goal is to slow or prevent permanent vision loss.

The research team will assess the ability of an oral medication that effects transforming growth factor beta signaling, to prevent progressive damage to the optic nerve. They will then determine the effects of the medication an expression of different genes and proteins in the eye tissues that are implicated.

The results will aid in confirmation and discovery of genes and pathways that contribute to loss of vision in glaucoma patients and provide insight into how these genes and pathways are modified by drug therapy.
This study may prove that an existing drug could be used to help aid current treatments. It will accelerate transfer of this innovative strategy to clinical trials in patients to slow or prevent the inexorable vision loss from glaucoma. For more information visit: brightfocus.org

Q: What does a golf game and a committee meeting have in common? A: You go 'round and 'round for a couple hours and end up back where you started.

To everyone: Have a wonderful, healthy and safe winter.
- Lovingly, Erma Seal, President

  News You Can Use by Barbara Macpherson

Under the ADA the visually impaired customer can ask for customer assistance to find items in a store. One suggestion in a grocery store is to put the aisle number on the shopping list next to the item. Then you are not zigzagging across the whole store.

If you receive books from the AZ Braille and Talking Book Library, you can now ask your reader advisor for a good pair of head phones to plug in your talking book library player. You may just find that you will hear your book much better!

I received an original Pen Friend for Christmas. A Pen Friend is a voice labeling system. You put the pen to a label and press the record button and then give a description. Then to hear the description just touch the label with the pen. I bought 48 rectangular special labels which can be machine washed and tumble dried, available from Independent Living Aids for $38. These are not the labels that come in the box. After waiting 7 days for the labels to stick on my shirts, all went well. I now have labeled my t-shirts and sequin shirts. If you need more labels ask for Series 2.! I also used the pen friend on index cards and recorded the directions for making scalloped potatoes. What a great tool!

Important numbers:
AZ Braille and Talking Book Library 800-255-5578
Independent Living Aids 800-537-2118

AZ Braille & Talking Book Library (ABTBL)

The free AZ Braille & Talking Book Library is one of the best resources for the visually impaired. The ABTBL provides access to talking books and many hours of reading pleasure. If you are already a patron, you can now ask your reader advisor for head phones to plug in to your reading machines. Also you can order DVDs of movies with audio description on them. If you want to learn how to play a musical instruments,instruction books are available Cartridges of many magazines such as AZ Highway is available. If your talking book player quits working, just tell your reader advisor, they will ship you a box with a new machine. You just put in the old machine in the box and ship it back for free.

A new service is the AZ Talking Book Library Telephone Book Club. It happens on the second Thursday of the month in the morning. Ask your reader advisor for details if interested.

There are two types of Book Players, the regular one and the advance player. To use advanced features, you need to request the advanced player which is used to listen to the Bible and multiple magazines. There is no waiting for a book, not like the public library where you can be placed on a long waiting list. Many specialized books on AZ history are produced at the ABTBL. The Friends of the ABTBL pay for the three recording studios. The state of AZ pays for the employees and the building and the Federal Government through the Library of Congress pays for all the reading materials and players.. But funding is never guaranteed, so in the future , we may have to advocate for continued funding of the library. Soon a small portable refreshable Braille Reading player will be available allowing Braille readers to enjoy many Braille books electronically.

Besides visual impairment there are other physical conditions that qualify for use of these players. These include many conditions which interfere with reading such as arthritis, Parkinson’s, MS, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and learning disabilities. One must fill out an application to qualify.

Here are some interesting facts about ABTBL

Last year the Arizona Talking Book Library …
• served 8,100 individuals state wide
• They estimate 490,000 disabled AZ citizens qualify for service
• Informed 2,947 individuals statewide about their services
• Patrons read an average of three books per week.
• Patrons read more than 698,320 books, magazines and newspapers through their service
• Volunteers contributed 11,364 hours

Be sure to use the ABTBL resources in 2018.
AZ Braille and Talking Book Library 800-255-5578

  Tech Bytes by Wesley Derbyshire

Ding Dong, who is at the door? Have you ever wondered before answering who is actually knocking? City life is full of solicitors and persons who you may not be interested in directly interacting with. Take a step towards another layer of home security by adding the Ring 2 doorbell which allows you to ask and hear the callers response through your tablet or smart phone.

I picked up the Ring 2 at my local Target for just under $200, and it is also available from other big box retailers including Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy. Here is how it works.

The wi-fi connected doorbell can directly connect to your standard chime already installed at your home. It screws into the exterior wall using wall plates and an internal USB rechargeable battery. The device is connected to your wireless network and coordinates with both the Ring servers and apps that have been installed on tablets or smart phones that use IOS, Android, or Windows operating systems.

When a person rings the doorbell, not only does your doorbell ring, but a distinct notification is sent to your device. You may just walk to the door and answer it the old fashioned way, but better yet, press the answer button on your device to ask who it is. A small speaker in the doorbell will instantly chatter your question, and a microphone will listen for the callers answer and you will hear it on your device. No need to get out of your seat, or even better yet, you could answer your door from anywhere in the world! Additionally, for those with visual acuity, a video camera shows a live feed of the caller at your doorstep and for $30 a year, these recordings are saved on the Ring servers. This footage could prove to be helpful for unwanted visitors, as it would aid in identifying the individual.

I found the IOS app to be accessible, and very easy to set up. One must create a user account, and then establish a wireless network connection, which should be secure, thus requiring your wi-fi password. It then searches for the Ring doorbell and updates the software if necessary. This is all pretty straight forward, and using the app after that is self-explanatory. The most difficult part is installing the doorbell, although it doesn’t require an electrician, I advise hiring a handy person.

Please excuse me, I must go answer the door now…





In our issues you'll find:

   Upcoming Events
   Special Stories
   News You Can Use
   Thoughts from our Sunshine Lady
   ... and more

Timothy: Cactus walking with a white cane, dark sun glasses, and white cowboy hat.

Volunteers Needed


TSB needs sighted volunteers to:

  • drive
  • assist with activities
  • help with luncheons, field trips, and fund raising events

IRS #  84-1636485
TSB is a 501c3 Organization

Green Check Mark in square box with Black border.

Or mail your donations, which is 100% tax-deductible to:

Tucson Society of the Blind
P.O. Box 57655
Tucson, AZ  85732

Thank you for your support

For membership and general information contact:

Barbara Macpherson, President
  (520) 298-2427

Tom Young, Director
  (520) 721-1029

Email TSB