October / November 2018

Published: September 20, 2018   Views: 513    Share:

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2 - Tips and Tricks For Dealing With Vision Loss, Everyone is welcome to bring in a piece of equipment, or a tip to share
6 - Macular Degeneration Workshop, 8:30am-12:00pm, Reid Park Doubletree Hotel, 445 S Alvernon, includes free breakfast, must sign up. TSB will have a table. Please see below for details.
9 - Carolyn Campbell, “Preserving the Sonoran Desert, Animal Migration and finishing the bike loop.”
12 - TSB Board Meeting 10:00am-1:00pm, Biscuit Country Cafe, 7026 E Broadway
16 - UPDATED:  Senator David Bradley talking on funding educational needs in AZ, the environment, a typical day in the life of the legislator, and what bills he would like to see passed..
23 - Janet Dyla from Desert Low Vision, will demonstrate the latest technology and bring many talking products and low vision aids for sale, bring extra cash, checks, or credit cards.
30 - Halloween Party, singer Mike King will perform a variety of tunes from Willie Nelsen and Johnny Cash . Dress in a costume, prizes will be awarded!


3 - NEW DATE: Field trip to Celtic and Scottish Festival, Rillito Race Track , 4502 N First Ave. Tickets: Senior $10, plus lunch money, 10:00am-3:00pm, see details below.
6 - Join us for a delicious “Tea Party” including sandwiches, cookies and scones, provided by our own Chef Linda Wellin, plus many surprises, stay until 12:15pm
9 - TSB Board Meeting 10:00am-1:00pm, Biscuit Country Cafe, 7026 E Broadway
13 - Annual Meeting, Board Elections, TSB 15th Birthday, and Thanksgiving Lunch. Stay until 12:30 PM. See article below for more details including Thanksgiving Menu
16 - Field trip to Tin Town, 10:00am-1:00pm, 850 E 7th Street. Cost $15, Please see details below.
20 - TSB closed for Thanksgiving holiday
27 - Ginger Carter, “Your Choice, Your Health,” Nutrition part 2, Please join us for another informative session
Dec 4 - Star spangled Seniors Holiday Show
Dec 6 - Gaslight Theater, 7010 E Broadway, 2:00pm “Scrooge” followed by dinner at Little Anthony afterwards, advance reservations required.
Save the Date:
Tuesday Jan 15, Tucson Expo, Reid Park Doubletree Hotel, 445 S Alvernon, TSB will have a table.

  Upcoming Programs

Macular Degeneration Association Workshop. Saturday, Oct 6, presenting the latest research on Macular Degeneration at the Reid Park Doubletree Hotel, 445 S. Alvernon Way. 8:30am to 12:00pm. Breakfast will be provided. They will be hosting a FREE awareness program covering the following subjects: age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, genetics and macular degeneration including the latest research. All talks are given by experts in their fields. To sign up contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call donna Auger 855-962-2852. TSB will have a table with information.

Field Trip Saturday Nov 3 Tucson Celtic and Scottish Festival. 10:00am-3:00pm Rillito Race Track, 4502 N First Ave. Tickets: Senior $10 plus food truck lunch money. Members can take Sun Van there and call Vicki 520-465-6197 when you get there so she can meet your van.

Come check out costumes of Irish and Scottish clansman, listen to the bagpipes and drum marches, along with Irish Bands. Taste Celtic food, vendors and Celtic culture. There are plenty of places to sit. Bring money for your lunch and trinkets. Confirm with Barbara by Tue, Oct 30 along with your ticket payment, she will purchase tickets online with no waiting. Sorry no refunds.

Annual Meeting: Tuesday Nov 13 Election for Board Members

According to TSB bylaws, members must pay their dues and be in good standing in order to vote. At press time: Barbara Macpherson, Mike Bording, Arthur Sanchez, Gina Cline, Ralph & Linda Lueders are running for the board. All that are elected will have a two year tern. Nominations for the board will not be accepted after the October board meeting. Linda Wellin was appointed as secretary for one year by the Board of Directors, she is not required to run for a board seat per our bylaws. At our annual member meeting we will hear the President's Report, Proposed Annual Budget, and any proposed Bylaws amendments. TSB needs all members to be at the annual meeting.

TSB will be celebrating its 15th Birthday with a sparkling cider toast. TSB is proud of its history and accomplishments of helping many individuals with vision impairments. Please let Barbara know by Tuesday Nov 6 if you are attending, we want to make sure we have enough food. Our Thanksgiving menu includes: turkey with gravy, mash potatoes, stuffing, vegetable, rolls, cranberry sauce, and dessert is your choice of pumpkin or apple pie.

Field trip, Friday, Nov 16 Tin Town 850 E 7th Street, 10:00am-1:00pm. Cost $15 per person, near University of Arizona.

Tin Town has been on national TV five times. Tin Town features a collection of unique antiques including a Model T on the roof and a bathtub used in Breakfast at Tiffany. There are a mining and barber shop museums, penny arcade and circus car, plus a saloon. Our Hostess Pat will lead a two-hour leisurely tour telling how they acquired many items. After the tour TSB will provide a submarine sandwich lunch for members. Pat will provide chips, salsa, gelatin salad and homemade dessert. Pat only gives a very limited number of tours each year, don’t miss this one! Please confirm your attendance with Barbara by Nov 6. Arrive via Sun Van by 10:00am and request a pickup between 1:00-1:30pm.


Help support TSB by selling 2018 Jim Click Tickets! We have raised $975 and we will have to work hard to meet our goal of $2000. Tickets are $25 each or five for $100, every dollar raised goes directly to support TSB. Please contact Tom Young for ticket at 520-721-1029. The grand prize this year is a fully loaded Grand Cherokee Summit Jeep and If you win, you can take the Jeep or 75% of the jeep's cash value. Second prize: two first class tickets to anywhere in the world. Third Prize: $5000 in cash. WOW!

  Erma’s Eye Opener

Sight Saving Protein retinitis pigmentosa: A protein called the rod-derived cone-viability factor (RdCVF) occurs naturally in the retina. Research scientist Dr. Jose Sahel and his partner, Dr. Thierry Leveillard, demonstrated that RdCVF prevented or slowed the degeneration of cones, the cells in the retina that provide central and color vision that are progressively lost in people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), leading to legal or total blindness.

Dr. Sahel's and Dr. Leveillard's company, SparingVision, clinically developed and commercialize RdCVF, and this emerging therapy has performed well in several lab stUdies. A clinical trial is expected to be launched next year.

"Saving retinal cone cells is critical for preserving vision for people with genetic retinal diseases," says Dr. Sahel.

Best Disease Gene Therapy: Using gene therapy, FFB-funded researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) and Perelman School of Medicine have reversed the disease process in a canine model of Best disease.

Best disease is an inherited form of macular degeneration that can lead to severe vision loss in humans. The therapeutic effect of the treatment has been sustained for as long as five years.

“With this research, we have demonstrated that gene therapy is working in a large animal model,” says Karina Guziewicz, PhD, one of the leaders of the project. “Following safety studies, a human clinical trial could be two years away.”

Emerging therapy for USH2A: The Foundation Fighting Blindness Clinical Research Institute (FFB-CRI) has entered into a partnership with ProQR to develop a retinal therapy for people with Usher syndrome type 2A (USH2A).

The therapy involves QR-421 a, which works like a piece of tape to mask the genetic defect. The goal of the treatment is to stop disease progression and potentially restore some peripheral vision.

“We are excited to team up with the Foundation Fighting Blindness to develop QR-421 a for patients that suffer from Usher syndrome 2A,” says Dr. Erwin van Wijk, lead investigator on the project. “We expect that additional funding will allow us to rapidly advance this novel therapy.”

Wishing everyone a relaxing wonderful fall.
  - Lovingly, Erma Seal, President

  News You Can Use by Barbara Macpherson

TSB had two guest speakers worth mentioning again. Christina came from TMC Services for Seniors to tell about their free classes, support groups, exercise, and other social groups. You need to pre-register for classes.

Suzanne Morrison came from Interfaith Community Services, a volunteer organization that will take you to the doctor or grocery store or read your mail to you. You can register over the phone and a volunteer will come to your home to fill out an assessment. Suzanne Morrison will return at the end of January to discuss advanced directives.

TSB is selling 2019 Large Print Calendars for $8 from Desert Low Vision. I was astonished and angry to hear that the Texas Board of Education may recommend to drop Helen Keller from the Social Studies curriculum. The biography of Helen Keller provides a good place to talk about disabilities, Braille, and Sign Language to the students emphasizing all of Helen's accomplishments. She graduated from college, Radcliffe, with honors and was fluent in many languages. Helen Keller who was deaf and blind, wrote many books and traveled across the United States and around the world promoting the rights of the blind. She promoted job opportunities for the blind and services for the blind so they could receive training, services, support and financial resources for attaining specialized equipment. Helen worked closely with the American Foundation of the Blind and challenged the Lions to help the blind and hearing impaired. The Texas Board of Education will make its final decision in November, but it seems very short sighted to eliminate Helen Keller from the curriculum to save 40 minutes of teaching. In honor of Helen Keller please see additional article below.

Helpful Numbers
Desert Low Vision 520-881-3439,
Interfaith Community Services 520-297-6049,
TMC Services for Seniors 520-324-1960

Shop online and have groceries and more delivered to your home

With same day or next day delivery, you can now order all your groceries online and never have to shop at a grocery store again. And you pay the same price as shopping at the store!

Walmart has a home delivery service for $9.95 and you can pick between an hour window for delivery. For those of us with a visual impairment, you can have the luxury of someone else picking out your groceries and thus save time and Sun Van trips.

Sign up for an account at www.walmart.com. Then go to www.walmart.com/groceries. You put the item you are looking for in the search window. It took awhile to find the items, but you can same your choices under favorites. The delivery service will ask you for your zip code. In our case, the nearest store that delivers is the Walmart Supercenter at Speedway and Kolb.

Your first order has to be over $50 with no delivery fee and you are not limited to groceries. As a test, Hunter and I had fun adding many different items to our shopping cart.   We added over the counter drug store items, pet food, toys and games, household items, a fan, food processor, and even a camera.

The second delivery must total over $35 and would include the usual $9.95 delivery fee. Each order comes with a surprise gift bag   You can check the box for no substitutions and there is a text box to give the driver instructions. If you accidently order something you don't want, save the receipt and return it to a Walmart store within 90 days.

Gina Cline, our newly appointed board members, is very happy with the service. Try this service out. Happy shopping!  

  Tech Bytes by Wesley Derbyshire

Now enabling Skills for Amazon's Alexa is easier than ever, just say, “Alexa, enable Lyft,” and poof — you've given your Echo speaker or other Alexa-enabled device the ability to order you a ride. Based on your needs and preferences you are likely to find several among the 45,000 skills currently available. To make it easier you can search by category, such as Smart Home, Food and Drink or Lifestyle or ask “Alexa, what are your new skills?”

Alexa is found in the Echo, Echo Dot, Tap, Echo Show, Fire TV, Echo Spot, Echo Plus and Fire Tablets. However it is also available in a number of third-party devices, such as the Ecobee4 Thermostat or the Sonos One speakers.   Below are just a couple of new skills that you may find handy.

Scare Off Burglars by using Alexa to trick burglars into thinking people are home. Say “Alexa, run Away Mode,” and Alexa will play a recorded conversation. Potential crooks will hear from an eclectic cast of characters such as a mother singing to her child, a phone conversation, and many more.

You can also find a rest and relaxation skill, chill out to the sound of a strong downpour with the Thunderstorm Sounds. But if that is to intense, mellow out to Ocean Sounds and Rain Sounds skills, along with the Sleep and Relaxation Sounds skill which is particularly popular. Or switch it up with Healing Sounds, which can create the atmosphere of a Japanese garden, a beach, a desert and more.

Participate in an Interactive Audio Story similar to an old-time radio show. Earplay lets you listen to, and interact with, the characters in one of several audio stories, complete with voice acting and sound effects.

This great tool is constantly being updated, so keep checking back for more skills!

  Eye Talk by Annie Schlesinger

Hadley Institute is a wonderful free resource for learning new skills and expanding your knowledge and all by correspondence courses! If you are visually impaired call Student Services 800-526-9909 or use the Web site www.hadley.edu for information and to examine course offerings. Courses are free and are in Braille, large print, on cartridge or online.

I have taken some great correspondence courses at Hadley: Braille, Independent Living and recently Effective Listening. Soon I plan to sign up for Birdsongs.

The iFocus series of videos have been a wonderful help to me in learning about the iphone and accessibility features in iOS. The videos are online and can be watched again and again.

Tip: If you use the laundry room in an apartment building, identify the dryer you are using by placing a magnet next to the opener on the door. Use the same position every time; consistency is so important for us. This little trick also works for the washer too!

In Honor of Helen Keller by Barbara Macpherson

Helen Keller (1880-1968) died at age 87, was an activist, lecturer, world traveler, author of 12 books and many newspaper and magazine article. Born on June 27, 1880, she was an advocate for the blind, working and raising funds for the American Foundation of the Blind for 40 years, and is one of the most famous individuals of her time. Helen worked for women's suffrage, labor rights, birth control for women, was a pacifist during WWI, and a member of the Socialist Party. She visited many blind veterans in Hospitals during WWII providing encouraging and inspiring words.

Helen made her famous speech at Ceder Rapids, Iowa in 1924 Lion's Convention, convincing the Lions Club to focus on providing community service to blind and deaf individuals.   She helped to establish many Blind Commissions, low vision clinics, and adult rehabilitation centers in the USA. Helen and her companions visited over 40 countries where many programs for the blind were set up after her motivating words during her visits.

Helen became deaf and blind at age 1 1/2 Her parents hired Anne Sullivan 21, who was also visually impaired to be her teacher. Helen 's breakthrough came when Anne put her hand under the water pump and spelled the word water in her hand. A stature of this event of seven year old Helen is in the Capital Visitor Center.   Anne's accomplishments were told in the award winning play, movie, called " The Miracle Worker." Anne and Helen would work and travel together for 49 years.

Helen was the first deaf-blind woman to graduate from Radcliffe College in 1904 with a Bachelor of Science degree with honors. In order to graduate she had to pass proficiency exams in Latin, German, and French History. She communicated with the world with her first book “The Story of My Life” at age 21 through her Braille typewriter.

In 1895 at age 15 Helen met Mark Twain age 50, (the famous writer) and they developed a lifelong friendship. Helen remarked, “Mr. Twain, did not treat me as a freak, rather as a person dealing with great difficulties.” Mark Twain was so impressed by Helen's quickness and intelligence, that he wrote to his rich friends to finance her education, which they did to order for her to develop her potential for greatness. Mark Twain marveled at Helen's ability to pick him out correctly in a crowd. It turned out that he smoked tobacco, and she could smell that unique odor.

Helen Keller demonstrated that there are no barriers that cannot be overcome by courage and faith.

A few quote by Helen Keller in her own words:

  1. You can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.
  2. People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant.
  3. Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world.
  4. Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousand of miles and all the years you have lived.
  5. The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.
  6. We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.
  7. When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

Let’s All Go to the Movies!

As of June 2, 2018, federal law requires that audio description for the blind and visually impaired be made available by all digital first-run movie theaters. Almost all applicable theaters have complied, and others are in the process of converting to digital and upgrading to include description equipment.

The Federal Government defines audio description as “narration added to the soundtrack to describe important visual details that cannot be understood from the main soundtrack alone.” Wearing headsets provided by the theater, the listener hears spoken information about actions, characters, scene changes, on-screen text, and other visual content, the narrations are usually added during existing pauses in dialogue.

Audio description technology has been randomly available since the 1990’s for various live plays, movies, television shows, and DVDs, but this is the first time the service has been actually required by law in movie theaters. Some companies, like Cinemark, AMC, and Regal, have been offering accessible movies, but others have been late getting on the boat. This resistance partially motivated the amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act that led to the Justice Department signing it into law in late 2016, finally taking effect this past June.

Great Books from BARD and the AZ Talking Book Library to Read

  1. On my own two feet, from losing my legs, the dance of life, Amy Purdy;
  2. Restless Wave, John McCain & Mark Salter;
  3. Fear, Bob Woodward;
  4. Trump America, Lewt Gingrich;
  5. The President is Missing Bill Clinton, James Patterson;
  6. Cottage by the Sea, Debbie Macomber;
  7. The Good Fight Danielle Steel;
  8. When I Was a Turkey, Joe Hutto;
  9. Paul Simon by Robert Hillburn

Figure out the day of the week without looking at a calendar

Here is a easy way to figure out the day of the week in your mind by memorizing a few rules. If the date of Oct 10 is Wednesday then Dec 12 of the same year is also a Wednesday, likewise the date of Nov 7 is also a Wednesday. Let's try some examples. What day of the week is Oct 20, 2018? We know Oct 10, 2018 is a Wednesday, add 7 to get the following Wednesday. Oct 17is a Wednesday. Counting up, the Thursday is the 18th, Friday the 19th, thus Oct 20 is a Saturday! Another example, what day of the week is Nov 26, Barbara’s Birthday? We know that Nov 7 is a Wednesday, so we’ll add 21 (three weeks) to get Nov 28, a Wednesday. Take away 2 days and we find that Nov 26 is a Monday. Keep practicing and it gets easier.


In our issues you'll find:

   Upcoming Events
   Special Stories
   Ermas Eye Opener
   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