Valley Schools Announces Bill Munch will be Joining their Staff

From their press release:

Phoenix,Arizona- The Valley Schools Management Group (VSMG) announced the hiring of Bill Munch as their Director of Procurement Compliance, Outreach and Education.  His duties will include continuous outreach, training and participation with new and existing members on procurement and other issues.

“We are very happy to add such an experienced and accomplished member of the community to our team,” said Tom Boone, Chairman and CEO for VSMG.  “With his assistance we can continue and improve our track record of providing substantial savings to public entities through cooperative purchasing of insurance.”

Bill Munch brings with him over twenty-three years of experience in public procurement at the State Procurement Office and various school districts.  His school district purchasing experience includesMesa Unified School District,WashingtonElementary School District,ScottsdaleUnifiedSchool District,TempeElementarySchool DistrictandTollesonUnionHighSchool District.

In addition, Bill has also served four years on the Governing Board of Tempe Elementary School District and was its Governing Board President in 2010.

“I have had the honor of working in procurement in public service for my entire career.  It is not a glamorous role, but one for which I am very dedicated to do my utmost.”  Bill Munch continued, “The Valley Schools model provides a unique opportunity for school districts and other public entities to save through cooperative purchasing.  I am excited to have this new opportunity.”

Bill Munch graduated from Arizona State University in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts in Purchasing and Materials Management.  He has received certification as a Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) and Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB).  He was the first President of the Greater Phoenix Purchasing Consortium of Schools (GPPCS), a purchasing cooperative comprised of over fifty school districts in Arizona.  He has also served as Vice President and is currently Membership Officer of GPPCS.

Bill currently serves on the Arizona Association of School Business Officials (AASBO) Board of Directors as Treasurer and is a certified Arizona Community College Instructor that regularly teaches the AASBO 4-Day Purchasing Classes and “Purchasing for Users”.  He is a member of the Capitol Chapter of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (AZNIGP), has served on various committees and regularly presents at their conferences.  Bill has always been an active procurement advocate for Arizona public procurement entities.

Bill Munch Photo

Updates to the Retirement Plans For Arizona State Employees

This may be of interest to those of you out there who are participants in the Arizona State Retirement System.  It includes an update on recent legislative changes.

Arizona State Retirement System logo
NEWSLETTERA publication of the Arizona State Retirement System
Director’s MessageASRS DIRECTOR PAUL MATSONWelcome to the inaugural edition of the ASRS electronic newsletter! We hope you find it useful and informative.

Over the past few months, we’ve reviewed our email database – email addresses our members have provided to us – and have sent welcome emails to more than 250,000 members. Now we’re sending you this e-newsletter with important member updates.

It’s our mission to stay in touch with you periodically, keeping you up-to-date on important issues related to your ASRS benefit plan. We won’t bombard you with emails, but we do want to be sure you have the latest, most timely information possible.

In this issue, we will tell you about laws passed in the most recent session of the Arizona Legislature. While some of the information may not pertain to your specific situation, it’s good to be aware of these changes should your situation change in the future.

I hope you will take a few minutes to review the information below. I would also like to invite you to visit the ASRS website to learn more about your retirement plan, particularly those members who have not yet created their own personal ASRS login. It’s easy to do – just look for the “Login Here” button at the bottom of this publication.

Arizona State Capital BuildingLegislative UpdatesActive members have likely already noticed that the contribution rates have returned to an equal 50/50 percent split between employees and employers. And, beginning August 2nd, members will need only five years of credited service to initiate a Service Purchase request, down from the previous requirement of 10 years. For more information on legislative changes, read our Legislative Summary.Each fiscal year, the contribution rates are adjusted, effective July 1st. The new rate for the next fiscal year will be 11.14%. To learn more, see Contribution Rates.
Retiree enjoying coffee while she uses her laptop.Member EducationIt’s never too early to plan for your retirement! Online webinars, in-person group meetings, and online video tutorials are part of our commitment to provide you the information and support you need. Whether you are new to the ASRS or are closing in on retirement, we have a learning opportunity to provide the information for this juncture in your career. Visit the Member Education section to schedule your meeting or appointment today!
ASRS member publications. Shown are the 2012 Annual Report and Member Handbook.Member PublicationsThe Arizona State Retirement System regularly publishes member newsletters and other reports. Whether you are enjoying your retirement or still looking forward to it, these publications can provide meaningful insight about the ASRS:FINANCIAL REPORTS. For a reader-friendly summary of the ASRS’ finances, investments, actuarial calculations and general statistics about the agency, view the 2011 Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR). For a more in-depth analysis, please refer to the 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

MEMBER PUBLICATIONS. The Member Handbook provides an overview and explanation of membership benefits. Additionally, members may find helpful information in the Retirement Handbook and our Long Term Disability brochure.

Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source

I found the following on the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source.  Thanks to the people at Harvard for a simple, high quality explanation on nutrition.  It can get confusing out there for us regular folk who hear so many conflicting stories.

From the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source:

The answer to the question “What should I eat?” is actually pretty simple. But you wouldn’t know that from news reports on diet and nutrition studies, whose sole purpose seems to be to confuse people on a daily basis. When it comes down to it, though—when all the evidence is looked at together—the best nutrition advice on what to eat is relatively straightforward: Eat a plant-based diet rich in fruits,vegetables, and whole grains; choose foods with healthy fats, like olive and canola oil, nuts and fatty fish; limit red meat and foods that are high in saturated fat; and avoid foods that contain trans fats. Drink water and other healthy beverages, and limit sugary drinks and salt. Most important of all is keeping calories in check, so you can avoid weight gain, which makes exercise a key partner to a healthy diet.

Want to learn more? Use the Healthy Eating Pyramid, created by the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, as your guide to choosing a healthy diet, and the new Healthy Eating Plate as a handy blueprint for a healthy meal. 

Healthy Eating: Ten Nutrition Tips for Eating Right

Carbohydrates Choose good carbs, not no carbs. Whole grains are your best bet.
 Protein Pay attention to the protein package. Fish, poultry, nuts, and beans are the best choices.
 Fats Choose foods with healthy fats, limit foods high in saturated fat, and avoid foods with trans fat. Plant oils, nuts, and fish are the healthiest sources.
 Fiber Choose a fiber-filled diet, rich in whole grainsvegetables, and fruits.
 Vegetables and Fruits Eat more vegetables and fruits. Go for color and variety—dark green, yellow, orange, and red.
 Milk Calcium is important. But milk isn’t the only, or even best, source.
 Healthier Drinks (healthier-drinks-new.jpg) Water is best to quench your thirst. Skip the sugary drinks, and go easy on the milk and juice.
 Lower Salt & Sodium (salt-new-icon.jpg) Eating less salt is good for everyone’s health. Choose more fresh foods and fewer processed foods.
 Alcohol Moderate drinking can be healthy—but not for everyone. You must weigh the benefits and risks.
 Vitamins daily multivitamin is a great nutrition insurance policy. Some extra vitamin Dmay add an extra health boost.

Terms of Use

The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source is to provide timely information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The information does not mention brand names, nor does it endorse any particular products.

Dr. Andrew Weil – Arizona’s own health guru!

A great source of advice on healthy living is Dr. Andrew Weil in southern Arizona.  You can get a wealth of information from his website at:




I first saw him speak in person at an annual conference two years ago sponsored by the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT).  He spoke on health in general and how America is missing the boat.  Dr. Weil is unique in that he is not only a traditionally trained doctor, but also has traveled the world to study eastern and other medicinal remedies.  He has an eclectic view to health that includes meditation, stress relief, healthy living and healthy foods, with traditional medicine only when necessary.  He has lectured many times on various subjects and has some wonderful books out as well.

In Phoenix there is a restaurant that he helped design healthy, natural menu items for that highly recommend called, True Foods.  It is located at around 24th Street and Camelback in the Biltmore shopping center.  If nothing else, it has a unique atmosphere and I recommend you check it out.

One message Dr. Weil said that really stuck with me is that wellness and health is not simply the absence of sickness.  It is leading a full and happy life.  He has a program you can follow to that is very effective.  Two things I remember from it well are 1) do not watch TV or the news for two weeks; 2) and spend at least one hour a day in meditation or gardening, simply reflecting.  I tried those and my stress went down tremendously.

You should definitely check out his philosophy and some of his literature.

How Quickly Do The Effects of Smoking Go Away If you Quit?

This has been re-posted on blogs quite a few times and I was unable to find the original author to give them due credit.  Thanks to the person who originally compiled this information.

Some feel it does not matter if they quit smoking now, since they have done so their entire lives.  Surprisingly, that is not true.  You can accrue great benefits in stopping smoking, even if you have smoked for a very long time.












I think one of the main reasons it’s so hard to quit smoking is because all the benefits of quitting and all the dangers of continuing seem very far away. Well, here’s a little timeline about some of the more immediate effects of quitting smoking and how that will affect your body RIGHT NOW.

In 20 minutes your blood pressure will drop back down to normal.
In 8 hours the carbon monoxide (a toxic gas) levels in your blood stream will drop by half, and oxygen levels will return to normal.
In 48 hours your chance of having a heart attack will have decreased. All nicotine will have left your body. Your sense of taste and smell will return to a normal level.
In 72 hours your bronchial tubes will relax, and your energy levels will increase.
In 2 weeks your circulation will increase, and it will continue to improve for the next 10 weeks.
In three to nine months coughs, wheezing and breathing problems will dissipate as your lung capacity improves by 10%.
In 1 year your risk of having a heart attack will have dropped by half.
In 5 years your risk of having a stroke returns to that of a non-smoker.
In 10 years your risk of lung cancer will have returned to that of a non-smoker.
In 15 years your risk of heart attack will have returned to that of a non-smoker.

So, you have more immediate things to look forward to if you quit now besides just freaking out about not being able to smoke. Quit now!