PASR BUCKS COUNTY
Fall 2018 Newsletter
Although the calendar says September and children are returning to school, it still feels like summer! The good news is students returning to school can now feel safer in Pennsylvania. Governor Wolf signed into law a comprehensive school safety bill that includes $60 million in school safety and security grants. The law also establishes the Safe2Say Program which allows an individual to submit an anonymous report 24/7 of threats of violence or instances of bullying to a trained professional who can appropriately respond to the situation.
Members of our chapter are looking forward to the Leadership Conference in October. A hot topic will be the reorganization of PASR. Any new information will be shared at our October Luncheon Meeting.
I hope all of you have seen our picture and article about our Klothes for Kids service project in various local publications. This year, I helped deliver the over 80 book bags plus to Family Service. What a rewarding feeling to see all the book and extra bags piled on tables to be delivered to under privileged children!
Please look at the PASR Times magazine delivered in June. It is full of information regarding member benefits and services. It is a great resource for all our members.
Looking forward to seeing you at our Fall Luncheon and wishing you cooler weather!
NONAGENARIANS HONORED at Spring Luncheon
Eileen Sichel, Social Service/Memorial Honor Fund Chair
Gracing us with their presence at the Spring luncheon were Martha Flaherty, Maude Koch, Sarah McLaughlin, Jean Nelson, and Marie Slack.
At our Spring luncheon this year, we honored 10 our nonagenarian (90 years or beyond) members not only for their longevity, but also for their dedication to the children of Bucks County. Those nonagenarians who were unable to attend the luncheon are Peg Wentz, Joan Schwab, Nancy Dott, Mary Ann Gilbert, and Janice Peischel. They all send warm regards to our chapter and are sorry to miss seeing everyone.
Peg Wentz was a head nurse at Abington Hospital before she moved to public school nursing in the Bristol Township Schools. After retirement, she was an active member of this chapter for more than 20 years and continues to be an advisor to our board. Peg tells me she does well for her age, still lives in the home where she raised her children, and gets along with visits from two of her children who live nearby. She says hello to her many friends in the chapter.
Joan Schwab now lives in Winter Park, Florida. She was born in California, but moved to Norway at age 4 after her mother passed away. At the age of 8, she moved back to the United States and lived in Bucks County. She has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Joan taught English part time for a short while but mostly Physical Education in the Neshaminy and Council Rock School Districts. Many of us remember her husband George who was quite a character. The two of them served for years on our chapter’s board of directors. They have four children, three of whom live in Florida. Joan will be moving to the Towers from her garden apartment where it will be easier for her to get around.
Mary Ann Gilbert turned 106 in October and if you met her, you would never guess her age. We were so happy when Mary Ann and her two daughters, Beth Ann and Mary Jane, were here at a luncheon to celebrate her 100thbirthday. Mary Ann has two grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Her daughter, Beth Ann, has been an active member of our chapter for many years. Mary Ann, along with her husband, assisted in the start of the Churchville Nature Center. Currently she resides at Christ Home’s Retirement Center.
You may remember Janice Peischel as the little lady who came to our luncheons and teas with Judy Guise. Janice was a math teacher in the Quakertown Senior High. Since retirement in addition to being a member of PASR, she also belongs to the Quakertown Women’s Club, Quakertown YMCA, and is active in the First UCC Church in Quakertown.Currently she is a resident in Meadow Glen apartments, part of Phoebe Ministries in Richlandtown.
Nancy Dott was a secretary for many years with the Neshaminy School District at Carl Sandburg Elementary School and at the district’s business office. She lived in Levittown for many years, mowing her own grass and shoveling her own snow. For the last 16 years she has lived at Juniper Village. Nancy had one son who passed away and has a daughter who lives out west.
Martha Flaherty, better known as Marty, graduated from Bloomsburg College in 1949. Marty has seven children, and she lives alone in Warminster. She is lucky to have children who live nearby. Marty started out with the IU teaching trainable children who ranged in age from 14 to 19. She went to work for the Centennial School district in 1964, and advised the district on how to set up a facility to teach life skills to young people.
Maude Koch served faithfully on our board of directors for many years, most recently as Recreo Chairperson. She graduated from Susquehanna University and has a masters’ degree in music education. Maude taught choral music and music education at Neshaminy Junior High School. She helped open that building in 1966 and retired from there after having taught music for 31 years. Maude has two sons and a daughter, 5 grandsons, and 4 great grandsons. She sings in the choir at Northminster Presbyterian Church and currently resides at Lamont Plaza in Fairless Hills where she is Council President.
Sarah McLaughlin, better known as Sally, attended the luncheon with her daughter, Sara Jane, who is also a PASR member. Sally recently returned from a 12 day car trip to Florida where she was visiting family and friends. She grew up in McKeesport, PA and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1949. Sally was in education from 1962 until 1992. In 1964 she began teaching at the McDonald School in the Centennial School District working with young children ages 5 through 10 who were mentally challenged. She was and is best friends with Marty Flaherty who she worked with for many years.
Jean Nelson is a local girl who grew up in Southampton and lived in Langhorne Manor for 65 years. She was an elementary school librarian at the Poquessing Elementary School in the Neshaminy School District. Jean has 4 daughters who live all over the country. She is especially happy that one of them lives in Warminster near her. Jean presently lives in an apartment at Christ’s Home. We wish her good luck as she will soon be having a hip replacement.
Marie Slack. Marie is a lifelong resident of Chalfont. She graduated from Westchester State College in 1946. She was married to her husband, Dothard, for 64 years, has one child, 2 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren. Marie started out teaching elementary school music in Marcus Hook. She also taught in New Hope, Haddonfield, and for 21 years for the North Penn School District in Central Bucks. After she retired, she spent time visiting older people to make them smile. Marie’s aim in life is to put a smile on people’s face and then make them feel better about themselves as music soothes the soul.
Congratulations to all of our nonagenarians; those that we honored in the past, those that we honor now, and those who deserve to be honored but are unknown to our organization. Thank you for your service to public education and your dedication to children.
Linda Peters, Chair
The Bucks County Chapter presented scholarships to two outstanding seniors at the Spring luncheon. Rachel Savio from Central Bucks East and Joseph Stanford from Neshaminy were the recipients.
Rachel was unable to attend, but was represented by her father. She is planning to pursue a degree in Secondary Education majoring in Mathematics at Penn State University. She is member of the orchestra, Student Council, and the National Honor Society. Outside of school she participates in the Girl Scouts and has 800 volunteer hours at Doylestown Hospital.
Joseph was presented his scholarship by President Linda Peters, who also serves as Educational Support Chair. He plans to pursue a career in music at Youngstown State University. In addition to playing in Jazz Band and singing in the men’s chorus, he is a member of the National Honor Society. He was a member of the All State Jazz Band. Outside of school he works with special needs children teaching them basketball.
A scholarship donation coupon is included with the newsletter. Please consider contributing to this fund. Thanks.
COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT (COLA)
David Noyes, Region 1 Regional Representative, wrote the following explanation of why a COLA is necessary. This will be the focus of our legislative efforts in 2019.
COLA: It’s The Real Thing
It has been sixteen (16) years since PSERS and SERS annuitants have received a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). It is understandable that there is uncertainty and doubt that it will happen soon. Act 9 of 2001 in Pennsylvania gave potential annuitants the opportunity to increase their annual pension by electing to increase the multiplier in the pension formula from 2.0% to 2.5%. There was no adjustment for retirees who left service prior to Act 9 of 2001. Because it was perceived that Act 9 was so generous to retirees of the State and School Districts, legislators have not authorized a COLA since 2002.
It is no secret that fixed incomes have suffered due to the cost of living and inflation over the past sixteen years. With no COLA the annual pension continues to have less buying power. That fact is equivalent to having a reduction in the annual pension every year of retirement.
Many retirees who retired prior to the legislation of 2001 find themselves in dire straits regarding their pension and increased living costs. The most extreme examples have to do with the seven remaining retirees of schools from the 1960’s. Their average annual pension from PSERS is a meager $9,000 per year, a figure well below the poverty level. Some pre-Act 9 retirees do not even receive Social Security benefits. It is obvious that these circumstances cannot be allowed to continue and a COLA must be passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature.
The COLA will happen. It will not come about, however, in 2018, an election year. Work has been steady at the time of this writing to ensure its future passage, with PASR at the forefront of the initiative. The organizations for which the COLA is of great importance will need to unite to form a coalition for its eventual passage. Among the groups to work with PASR include Pennsylvania State Education Association Retired (PSEA-R), Pennsylvania Association of Retired State Employees (PARSE), and Pennsylvania State Troopers Association (PSTA). It is expected that support for a COLA will also come from Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers (PFT), American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
PASR is working closely with PSERS to ensure that the costs and legislative language of a COLA are practical and feasible. Mark McKillop, PASR Executive Director, and Jeff Hunsicker, PASR lobbyist, have put the COLA initiative at the forefront of their legislative and political concerns. Their expertise and energy speak well for the future of a cost of living adjustment. Their work is fully supported by the PASR Board and the Legislative Committee and Legislative/Political Education Committee (L/PEC) of PASR.
Mark McKillop and Jeff Hunsicker in their communications with legislators and potential coalition organizations, emphasize two main points with respect to a COLA: 1.) PASR advocates a COLA for all retirees, with emphasis on Pre-Act 9 annuitants and 2.) The COLA Coalition will explore all sources of revenue to fund an annual COLA including non-traditional sources.
A COLA is long overdue for Pennsylvania public pension annuitants. Rest assured that its eventuality is a major PASR concern and initiative. Because the COLA passage is a”wedge issue”, the 2018 election and future Pennsylvania elections will be determining factors. It will take a lot of work and support from across the State to make it happen. Only then, will the long-awaited Cost of Living Adjustment become the real thing.
KLOTHES FOR KIDS
Meg Kramer, Chair
The board decided to make our annual Klothes for Kids project our celebration of the 80th celebration. We were able to pack 83 bags for family service. In the picture are members who delivered this year’s bags to Family Service on August 10.
PROGRAM - JAMESON SISTERS
Ellen Tepper and Terry Kane are the Jameson Sisters. This lively duo combines harp, mandolin, and guitar with soaring vocals. Ellen Tepper developed an interest in early harp music when growing up in Vienna, Austria. Terry Kane was immersed in her family's Irish culture, dancing, playing and singing. Terry has studied Gaelic for 15 years. This duo plays many styles of Celtic music and will be performing many different styles of music. They are sure to entertain all of us!
FALL LUNCHEON - OCTOBER 18
Fall Luncheon will be held in theTerrace Court at Spring Mill Manor, 171 Jacksonville Road, Ivyland.
9:30 Registration with Coffee and Pastry, 10:00 Meeting
Please reserve by October 12 and choose entrée using insert coupon.
Breast of Chicken stuffed with apple raisin stuffing and served with brandy cream sauce, potato du jour & vegetable medley
Tilapia Francaise, potato du jour, & vegetable medley
Portabella Mushroom Tower on a painted plate
All entrees include a salad with choice of balsamic vinaigrette or Thousand Island dressing and Cheesecake with strawberry fan for dessert.
Arlene Williams, Membership Secretary
If you are an annual member of Bucks County Chapter and your label was printed in red ink, your dues are not paid. If they are not received by November 30, 2018, your name(s) will be deleted from the membership role. There is a coupon for dues included in the newsletter.
If you are unsure about your dues,
please call or email Arlene Williams or
215-355-0162, before sending payment.
Lower Bucks Food Pantry requested that we no longer provide snacks and other items, but send them monetary donations. Following our practice at the spring luncheon, we will be making a collection. Many thanks to those who donated in the spring.
PASR LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
PASR is holding its annual leadership conference at the Toftrees Resort in State College on October 15 and 16. Attending from bucks will be President-Elect -Ken Griffin, Treasurer- Joy Hardin, and Linda Peters –President. Judy Guise – Region 1 Director will also be present. Topics to be discussed are PASR reorganization, update from PASR lobbyist, Jeff Hunsicker, and health of PSERS from Glenn Grell, PSERS Executive Director.
A NAME FOR OUR
BUCKS COUNTY NEWSLETTER
The editor attended a public relations workshop and discovered our newsletter needed a few improvements. One – I hoped you noticed – is using a different font that is easier for retired persons to read. Two – we have no name for our publication. We are holding a contest to select a name.
Please send via email or snail mail to Judy Guise – or
728 Juniper Street, Quakertown, PA 18951.
Include your name and phone number and your suggestion for a name. The luck winner will win a gift from the chapter.
Here we see our President Linda with a sad face because she needs help in the following committees – Community Service, Recreo, and Webmaster. If you or you and a friend could help with one of these committees, Linda’s face would change to a happy emoji. Community service committee identifies places or groups such as homeless shelter who can use our donations – cash and items. Recreo would be planning day trips to various shows, exhibitions, etc. The webmaster would be sending pictures and brief articles to our website operator, not maintaining the website.
If any of these positions are of interest to you, please contact Linda (see number or email) and if she calls you and asks, please say yes!
DATES TO REMEMBER
October 9 LAST Day to Register to Vote
October 11 Region 1 Luncheon, Manufacturers Country Club
October 15 & 16 PASR Leadership Conference, Toftrees Resort
October 18 Bucks County Chapter Fall Luncheon
November 6 Election Day
November 8 Bucks County Executive Board Meeting