News Briefs for March 2017

By LLAF Staff

Master Zuni carver and jewelry maker celebrated at public talk

Thanks to his menagerie of turquoise bears, abalone birds and marble rabbits, Leekya Deyuse was known as the 20th century’s preeminent carver of sculptures, fetishes and jewelry. On March 8, the Desert Foothills Chapter of the Arizona Archaeology Society will host “The World of Leekya,” a presentation honoring the Zuni master’s legacy.

Deborah Slaney, curator of history for the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, will lead the lecture in anticipation of the museum’s exhibit on Leekya and his family, which debuts in June.

The free event runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Community Building (Maitland Hall) at The Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church, 6502 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek. For more information, visit

IRS warns of scam targeting deaf and hard of hearing

Just when you thought con artists couldn’t get any more nefarious, they’re now trying to swindle deaf and hard of hearing people by pretending to be the IRS.   According to a recent warning from the real IRS, these phony tax collectors are contacting deaf people on the video relay service (VRS) to demand financial information and payment. The scammers are playing on people’s inherent trust in VRS, which uses real-time sign language interpreters. However, VRS interpreters do not screen calls for validity, so people should not automatically trust them, the IRS warns.

The real IRS never demands instant payment, never asks for debit or credit card numbers over the phone, and never threatens people with immediate arrest. If you receive a suspicious call from an “alternative tax” collector, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.

Peoria retirement community supports next generation of students

This spring, retirees at the Plaza del Rio community in Peoria gave back to their dedicated young employees – to the tune of $11,550.

The Plaza del Rio Foundation’s Spring 2017 Scholarship Awards Presentation honored six scholars who work at Freedom Plaza Retirement Community, Freedom Plaza Care Center and Casa del Rio Senior Living. The recipients can use the scholarships to further their education at college, nursing or technical school.

In the 20 years since its inception, the foundation’s William T. and Laura Lou Riggs Memorial Scholarship Fund has presented 374 scholarships totaling $498,893 – all funded by resident donations.

Easter fashion show funds charities

Break out the floral frocks, the beribboned bonnets and the pastel pumps. On April 8, the Our Lady of Lourdes Fashion Show features an “Easter Parade” theme, showcasing clothing from Calle Rose, plus accessories, jewelry and hats. Dressing rooms will be set up at the event site, Briarwood Country Club, so you can try before you buy.

All proceeds from the sartorial sales, the luncheon and the raffle will benefit the many charities supported by the women’s guild at Our Lady of Lourdes, a Catholic church in Sun City West. For reservations, call Jean Green at 623-824-9817 or Rosemary Dougherty at 623-584-2327.

Sun City West residents bank on… new bank

In January, Western State Bank opened its newest location in Sun City West at 19440 N. RH Johnson Blvd., its second location in the Sun City area. The bank offers a full array of financial services including retail, business and mortgage lending.

Focusing on a “hometown bank experience,” Western State Bank is a 114-year-old, employee-owned company with locations in Arizona and North Dakota.

“We look forward to introducing our community banking philosophy to meet the financial needs of new business and residential customers in Sun City West,” says Andy Strand, president of Western State Bank.

Seniors can catch a Lyft with new ride-share options

Since 2012, Scottsdale-based Envoy America has been matching seniors with driver companions who take them to doctors appointments, grocery stores and more, staying with them and giving them the assistance they need. Recently, the company partnered with Lyft, Uber’s upstart ride-sharing competitor, to provide traditional curb-to-curb ride-sharing in addition to door-to-door accompanied transportation.

Lyft Concierge will provide services through Envoy America’s platform, allowing seniors to make multiple assisted stops, with drivers trained to interact with elders. For more information, visit To schedule an appointment, call Envoy America at 888-375-5558.

New health insurance website caters to the Over 50s

AARP has teamed up with Connecture to spearhead a first-of-its-kind insurance shopping website designed exclusively for people age 50 and over. The AARP Direct Select site will offer AARP members and non-members a range of health insurance plans including Medicare, as well as life, home and auto insurance.

Powered by Connecture – which offers customized health insurance shopping – the system will guide people through a comparison and purchasing process tailored to their specific needs and financial situation. For more information, visit

True Concord receives $500,000 gift from local philanthropist

True Concord Voices & Orchestra announced it has received a $500,000 gift from philanthropist Dorothy Dyer Vanek. The funds will support five new commissioned works to be recorded over the next five years.

“This is a game changer. Dorothy’s gift has positioned True Concord to be an American leader in the creation and recording of new works by some of the world’s best composers,” said True Concord Music Director and founder Eric Holtan.

Dorothy Dyer Vanek has been a supporter of True Concord for the past ten years. Holtan says her support “has been transformational in bringing True Concord onto the world’s stage as America’s premier chamber choir and orchestra.” The Tucson-based organization garnered two Grammy nominations for its 2015 album, “Far in the Heavens.”