April / May 2020

Published: April 07, 2020   Views: 601    Share:

TUCSON SOCIETY OF THE BLIND (TSB) P.O. Box 57655. Tucson, AZ 85732

TSB meets every Tuesday - 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Christ Presbyterian Church, 6565 E. Broadway
Come when you can and leave when you must. Bring a sack lunch.
For more information call Barbara, 298-2427 or Tom, 721-1029

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This is the tentative schedule due to current conditions.

(All April meetings will be held on the free phone conference line on Tuesdays at 10 AM.)
Conference Dial-in Number: (605) 468-8020
Participant Access Code: 969009#. Use 6 to mute line when not talking, hit 6 to unmute and talk. This is a free phone call where all members can call in and take turns talking. Hope to hear from as many members as possible.


7: Lupita Hernandez, “Achilles Heel” running and walking group for people with disabilities; Lupita will share her inspiring stories.

10: TSB Board Meeting 10:00am-1:00pm Biscuit Country Cafe 7026 E. Broadway

14: Van Fower, Living History, “The Life of Walter Vail, owner of the largest cattle ranch in the state of Arizona”

21: Arizona Banjo Blasters, is one of our favorite musical groups. Be prepared to participate and sing along.

28: Misty Thompson, “All about Strokes”



5: TBA, Collecting items for YOTO; See article below

8: TSB Board Meeting 10:00am-1:00pm Biscuit Country Cafe 7026 E. Broadway

12: Star Spangled Seniors Spring Show with new corny jokes

19: Jan Cleere, author of books on Arizona women, will inspire us with tales of brave western women.

26: Jim Lootens from ALOHA, Adult Loss of Hearing Association, “Tips for Dealing with Hearing Loss”

 June 2, Connie Cho & Eric Bergstrom, “All about prescription Drugs and Vaccines”


To be arranged: A BBQ and Pool party at John McCann’s, 8761 E. Placita Bolivar 9:00 am-1:30pm. TSB will provide hot dogs and hamburgers cooked on the grill. Please bring a side dish to share with others. The McCann’s have a fantastic pool, so wear your swim suit. There also is plenty of shade under the large back porch and there will be live music. Come join the fun, and please let Barbara know what food you are bringing. Address: 8761 E Placita Bolivar.

TSB Members Selling Jim Click Raffle Tickets

TSB members need to ask doctors and other service providers and family members to buy Jim Click tickets. All of the funds raised go to TSB. Tickets are $25 each or 5 for $100. The Grand Prize is a 2020 Platinum edition F150 pickup truck with all the options. Second prize is two first class round trip airplane tickets to anywhere in the world. Third prize is $5,000 in cash. To buy Jim Click Raffle tickets contact Tom Young, 721-1029.

May 5 TSB members collecting items for Youth on Their Own

To help homeless youth to stay in school, we will be collecting non-perishable food, personal grooming items, household items, and gift cards from Fry's grocery store, Target, or Walmart. Youth on Their Own (YOTO) helps 1600 homeless teens each year to stay and finish high school by providing financial assistance, personal counseling, and basic guidance. TSB members can make a difference by investing in Arizona’s future, helping YOTO break the cycle of poverty and preventing teens from dropping out of school. YOTO has been helping middle and high school students in Pima County for 30 years and has helped over 16,000 homeless young people.

TSB members can help by bringing the following items:
• Non-perishable food: macaroni and cheese mix, canned soup and fruit, canned pasta, etc., spaghetti sauce and pasta, Ramen Noodles.
• New, regular personal grooming items: shaving cream, razors, deodorant, body wash/soap, shampoo and conditioner
• Household Items: paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent pods, dryer sheets, gift cards from Wal-Mart and Target for clothing and from grocery stores for food.
Let's see how much TSB members can contribute to this worthy cause. Many of these items can be purchased at the dollar stores. It is great to help our local teens. For more information call Kristan 293-1136 or go to yoto.org . Thank you for your help.


In Loving Memory of Lucy Laue
Lucy was a joy to know and a wonderful person. She often said that she wished she knew about TSB sooner. Lucy was married to Ken for 68 years and was 97 when she passed. She had a heart attack on Sunday, Feb 9th. Lucy will be missed by TSB members and is survived by a son and grandchildren.

President’s Message by Barbara Macpherson

TSB had two outstanding concerts and silent auctions on March 5th and March 6th. We raised about $4,000 total! A big thanks goes to Marilyn and Dutch, Hunter, Richard, Catt, Emily, Betsy, Wesley, Marge, Linda, and Vicki. A Special Thanks goes to Tom Young for managing and selling raffle tickets which brought in $395. Annie did an outstanding job as host and she kept us on time. Our wonderful performers, Christine Vivona, Rob Boone, and Bill Ganz gave super concerts. Over 65 businesses donated items to the silent auction. And of course a big Thank You goes to TSB members and friends who came to the concerts as well as to the residents and activity staff of Fellowship Square.

Eye Talk by Annie Schlesinger
Published in Braille Monitor, March 2020

Problems with balance happen more often as we age. At age 83 I want to reduce my risk of falling and continue to get around independently using my long white cane. “Having good balance means being able to control and maintain your body’s position, whether you are moving or remaining still. Good balance helps you walk without staggering, get up from a chair without falling, climb stairs without tripping, and bend over without falling. Good balance is important to help you get around, stay independent, and carry out daily activities.”

Before our mid-sixties most of us don’t think about balance. But many deaths are related to hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries. As we live longer and have chronic conditions we also take medications that affect balance. Vision and balance are highly integrated in the brain; thus poor vision can equal poor balance

The inner ear part that is responsible for balance is the vestibular system; a number of physical problems can affect this system. The vestibular system works with other systems in the body such as visual and muscle and joint receptors which maintain the body’s position at rest and in motion.

Last year I had sessions with a physical therapist for the Epley Maneuver which is the treatment for my recurring vertigo. I then had some sessions with her about my balance. Fortunately I have been active and have exercised for years. So far my balance is Okay but as I look around Fellowship Square, my retirement complex, I see many folks using rollators/walkers for balance. The walkers are also great to carry things: grocery bags, laundry, trash, etc.

After some research and discussions with Orientation and Mobility instructors I found these three options for someone with poor balance and using a long white cane:

1. The way to use a walker with my long white cane is probe ahead with the cane, take one step with the walker and repeat cane-walker one step at a time. It is very slow!
2. I have trained using a support cane in step with the long white cane and it is faster than one stepping with the walker but I don’t feel as secure.
3. It is possible for a blind person to sit in a wheelchair, propel it with their feet and use the long white cane to check ahead. I tried it, it works, safe but also slow and unappealing.

Faced with these choices, maintaining my balance becomes very important. I do my prescribed exercises for balance and other exercises to maintain my strength and cardiovascular health. I do stretches for my shoulder tendinitis.

Some exercises help make up for a balance disorder by moving the head and body in certain ways. The body learns muscle memory, and in theory, gets used to being off balance and recovering. Exercises can be developed especially for a person by a physical therapist or trainer who understands the balance system. It is never too late to start! Pima Council on Aging, SAAVI and some health plans offer exercise and balance classes. There are some aspects of aging that can’t be avoided but by practice, maintaining balance is one I can proactively fight.


The BlindShell Accessible Cell Phone
The BlindShell is a completely accessible cell phone with a tactile number pad and buttons and a consistent, easy-to-use menu system. For anyone wanting a bit more than a flip phone and unwilling to tackle the learning curve of a smartphone, the BlindShell is a great alternative. Imagine for a moment a cell phone that combined the best features of a smartphone with the best features of a flip phone. (You know, a dial pad you can actually feel, with widely spaced buttons, and, for those of us with low vision, bold, large print numbers.) How about some serious large print on the display for text and menu items? And text-to-speech everywhere, without having to drill down through the settings to find it? While we're creating this wish list, let's add a user guide that's built right in. You can read your email, listen to internet radio and YouTube. You can also label objects such as items in the freezer. The major limitation is there is no BARD or BookShare on this phone. You could download books from your computer to the phone.

The phone is available at LS&S for $349 and runs on ATT network. The phone received a good evaluation by the reviewer on Access World in the February issue. If interested call LS&S 800-468-4789

Sangean PR-D17 Accessible Talking Radio from Amazon - Review
The Sangean PR-D17 radio is a simple way to access your favorite news and entertainment. It's lightweight, sounds good, and is completely and delightfully accessible to users with visual impairments.

At only 5” x 10” x 2“ the Sangean is a small boom-box style radio with a carry handle on top, tucked up against the extendable antenna, that folds flat when not in use The radio is black with light orange buttons, each of which are distinctly tactilely identifiable. It has an easy to read display for those who can see it. On the front are two speakers, left and right, about two inches in diameter, with the visual display between them. Near the bottom of the front are two rows of five button each, with the Power button above them. The top five buttons, each bearing a distinct tactile symbol, are for changing from AM to FM, setting the alarm, checking the time, et cetera, while the bottom row of five, each embossed with braille numbers 1 through 5, are for setting up to 10 preset stations, five AM and five FM. On the right side of the radio are two round knobs, one for tuning stations, the other for volume. The tuning knob is particularly unique in that it is used to execute commands as well as to rotate from one station to another. On the left side of the radio is a switch to move from stereo to mono, and jacks for auxiliary connectivity, headphones, and the AC power adapter. The Sangean can run on AC power or, if you want to take it out by the pool, on six C batteries. Plug it in, press power, and it begins speaking to you in a clear female voice.

This radio is for the blind and visually impaired. Available from: Amazon. Price: $89. For additional information, visit the Sangean website or call 888-726-4326. For more information go to the February Issue of Access World.

Handy Tips for iPhone users
I recently got my battery on my iPhone replaced by Battery Plus, 1031 N. Wilmot,747-8228. making an appointment online, I only paid $39 + tax. They will also fix cracked phone screens. You can get reconditioned older models of iPhones at Walmart. Straight Talk from Walmart has reasonable calling plans from $35 that uses the Verizon network on a pre-pay plan.

Google Flight is an easy program to look up and book airplane flights but it does not include Southwest Airlines.

Also I downloaded a free app from the app store called Lazarillo. This app is designed for the visually impaired and tells you where you are. There are categories such as banks or food to let you know what business is around you. If you are traveling on a bus it will tell you the major intersections as you cross them. You need to turn this app off when not in use as it will drain the phone battery.

Good News! You can ride Sun Tran and Sun Van for free until March 31st.


LAUGHTER – The best medicine

A widower and a widow attend their 70th class reunion, and a long ago spark is rekindled. At the end of the night, he asks, “Will you marry me?”
“Yes, yes, I will!” she says enthusiastically.
The next morning, the widower wakes up troubled. Did she say yes or no? Confused, he calls her and asks, “Did you say yes or no?”
“I said yes! And I’m glad you called because I couldn’t remember who asked me."

 When I was a boy I had a disease that required me to eat dirt three times a day in order to survive. It’s a good thing my older brother told me about it.


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