Monday, February 15, 2010

ECAREA Eau Claire Area Retired Educators

ECAREA Unit Meeting
Grace Lutheran Church
February 2, 2010
1:30 p.m.

The meeting began with Chris Kondrasuk welcoming everyone and leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the introduction of visitors and first-time attendees. There were 33 people in attendance.

Business meeting

A. The minutes from the November meeting were approved and will be recorded as submitted by Sally Gordon.

B. There was no Treasurer’s report as Owen Moyer was not in attendance. Chris shared our current balance.

C. Committee Reports:

Social: Loreen Yager thanked the servers for today and reminded everyone of the upcoming meetings for the year. She announced that the June meeting will be hosted by Chippewa Falls and will take place at the Bohemian Hall on Hwy. 27 north of Cadott. She will provide us with more specific directions as the time draws closer.

Membership: Kathy announced that the membership is now at 127 for this year. She asked that if anyone has a change of address or knows of members who go into nursing homes that they inform the State of that change. You can call, or there is a link on our website to the State website.

Legislative: It is so good to have Joan Cook back in this position. She gave us an update on her daughter who teaches at Longfellow and has been receiving treatment for leukemia since last year. A stem cell transplant was done from her brother and now in January there was no evidence of cancer. We are happy for the outcome and wish her well. Good example of the benefits of stem cell research.

Joan was happy to report that the Conrad Craig Amendment was voted down. She also reported that the NWEA has not taken a stand on National Health Care. She encouraged everyone to go to the NWEA website and read all of the information that is available to us there.

She spoke of a program called Pennies for Kids whereby the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools has petitioned to raise the State Sales Tax by .01. If all of the money collected were to go to public schools it would result in $830,000,000; most of it going to education in Wisconsin. Visit: This is a very informative site.

Joan shared that in a letter from Dave Mills, the Executive Director of the Investment Board that we are encouraged to keep an eye on our retirement funds. The Core Fund has dropped 1% and the Variable Fund has gained ground and is approximately 1/2 way back to recovering where it was. If anyone wants a Blue Book you can contact Jeff Smith at (608) 266-0660 or
(888) 534-0093or email him at and ask for one.

Health and Education: Marlaine White had programs for the Senior Americans Day that will be held at the University on Saturday, March 30. She encouraged members to attend the health options that will be available that day.

Newsletter: Jeanette Scheuermann mailed out 121 newsletters to members at a cost of $124.46. She also shared some advice she learned from an email of how to get away from unsolicited callers. She said to simply say "hold on" to the caller, set the phone down and wait until the beeping sounds comes from your phone. Another piece of advice she offered was that if you feel as though you are being followed to call 777 on your cell phone and the police will answer and be able to tell you if there are police in your area.

President: Chris Kondrasuk asked that if anyone has ideas for a programs/presenters for next year, let her know as we will begin planning very soon. She also passed around a sign-up sheet for volunteers to help with book distribution in the 1st and 2nd grades at several of the elementary schools in Eau Claire on Feb. 19-March 4. This is in conjunction with Clear Water Eau Claire, a program that Terry Sheridan spoke to us about back in November. Plan to spend 1- 1 1/2 hours and be sure to count it towards your volunteer hours. Look for more information forthcoming on opportunities to sign up for this.

D. Old Business

1. Chris informed us that a nice letter of appreciation was written in the Mondovi newspaper thanking us for the games we donated at Christmas time.

2. Chris shared that a grand total of 6774 hours of volunteer services were provided by our group last year, which results in a value of $137,000.00 to the community.

E. New Business

1. A retirement planning session has been scheduled for March 9 from 4-5:30 at Memorial. Roger Byers from WREA will share information with anyone considering retirement in the near future.

2. The State WREA meeting will be held in Stevens Point on May 4-5. Chris asked for volunteers interested in attending to let her know as we are planning to send a delegation from our Unit.

3. The Foundation Box was available for anyone wanting to contribute money. Kathy drew the winner of the raffle and deposited half of the money in the box.

The meeting was adjourned for the program.

F. Program

Alice and John Ridge shared a presentation about the 3,700 mile Yellowstone Trail, one of the first transcontinental auto routes in the country. They have been working for the past 13 years researching and promoting the restoration of the trail which came right through Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and Menomonie, and was in operation from 1912-1930.