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  • Sid Kardon, MEA-Retired Member

  • MEA-Retired Board of Directors meeting

  • MEA-Retired members Kay Walker Telma, Jack Schneider and Judy Daley

  • MEA-Retired President Conclave Nov 14

  • MEA-Retired President Conclave Nov 14

  • MEA-Retired Board of Directors Meeting Nov 13

May 14, 2020

EAST LANSING – The Michigan Education Association is sad to announce the death of former President Steven Cook, who passed away Tuesday after battling a non-COVID-19 illness.

The longest-serving officer of any NEA state affiliate, Cook was the first education support professional to serve as president of the Michigan’s largest school employee union, serving in that role from 2011-2017.  Prior to that, Cook served as the union’s secretary-treasurer and later vice president, totaling 26 years of leadership of MEA and Michigan’s educators.  

Click here to read Steve Cook's Obituary 

Fifty-one outstanding public school students awarded 2020 MEA Scholarships

May 12, 2020

EAST LANSING 5/12/20 — The Michigan Education Association today announced 51 recipients of the 2020 MEA Scholarships, honoring exemplary public school students from across the state who plan to attend a Michigan public university next fall.

Among the 401 applications submitted for scholarship awards this year, the MEA Scholarship Fund Trustees chose 29 new award recipients who will each receive $1,200. In addition, 22 repeat winners who are already enrolled in college will receive $700 each.

“We are so proud of these deserving scholarship winners as they begin to plan the next phase of their education and chart a path toward successful careers,” said MEA President Paula Herbart. “These students are products of Michigan’s K-12 public schools and our hard-working public school teachers and support staff dedicated to their success.”

Since 1997, the MEA Scholarship Fund has awarded 650 scholarships totaling $710,840 to graduates of Michigan public high schools. To be eligible for the MEA Scholarship, applicants must be a dependent of an MEA member or MEA-retired member in good standing. The general criteria for awarding the scholarships include academic achievement and extracurricular activities, as well as school and community service. The MEA Scholarship Fund is financed through voluntary contributions of members, staff and friends of the Michigan Education Association.

This year’s winners include (in alphabetical order by last name):

29 New Winners - $1,200 each

·     Catherine Anger from Caro High School (Caro Community Schools)

·     Brooklynne Bevier from Northwest High School (Northwest Community Schools)

·     Gregory Brown from Grand Haven High School (Grand Haven Area Public Schools)

·     Breanna Campbell from Marysville High School (Marysville Public Schools)

·     Caitlin Coppess from Montague High School (Montague Area Public Schools)

·     Ainsley Coty from Okemos High School (Okemos Public Schools)

·     Marco De Leon from Bath High School (Bath Community Schools)

·     Megan DeLong from Mona Shores High School (Mona Shores Public Schools)

·     Madison Dryden from Clarkston High School (Clarkston Community Schools)

·     Maris Ferguson from Lake Fenton High School (Lake Fenton Community Schools)

·     Corbin Fleming-Dittenber from Midland High School (Midland Public Schools)

·     Kathleen Hummer from Byron Center High School (Byron Center Public Schools)

·     Nicole Inza from Rochester Adams High School (Rochester Community Schools)

·     Madelyn Koski from Westwood High School (NICE Community Schools)

·     Katie Lazarz from Freeland High School (Freeland Community Schools)

·     Zoe Merillat from Coleman High School (Coleman Community Schools)

·     Marysol Millar from Portage Central High School (Portage Public Schools)

·     Amanda Morello from Royal Oak High School (Royal Oak Schools)

·     Alyssa Morley from Sault Area High School (Sault Ste. Marie Area Schools)

·     Audry Rakozy from Grosse Pointe North High School (Grosse Pointe Public Schools)

·     Keaton Roach from Athens Area High School (Athens Area Schools)

·     Sarah Scopas from Utica Academy for International Studies (Utica Community Schools)

·     Ella Sheedlo from Ovid-Elsie High School (Ovid-Elsie Area Schools)

·     Olivia Stack from Eisenhower High School (Utica Community Schools)

·     Maxwell Stange from Cadillac Senior High School (Cadillac Area Public Schools)

·     Abigail Trozak from Dakota High School (Chippewa Valley Schools)

·     Audrey Wong from Troy High School (Troy School District)

·     Seth Woodbury attending University of Michigan from Williamston High School (Williamston Community Schools)

·     Brianna Zinn from Vestaburg High School (Vestaburg Community Schools)

22 Repeat Winners - $700 each

·     Collin Cole attending Michigan State University from Kenowa Hills High School (Kenowa Hills Public Schools)

·     Nicholas DeMattei attending University of Michigan from Mt. Pleasant High School (Mt. Pleasant Public Schools)

·     MacKenzie Desloover from Michigan State University from Yale High School (Yale Public Schools)

·     Jaydee Dillon attending Central Michigan University from Bay City Western High School (Bay City Public Schools)

·     Carly Filion attending Michigan State University from Warren Mott High School (Warren Consolidated Schools)

·     Morgan Franks attending Michigan State University from Utica Academy for International Studies (Utica Community Schools)

·     Stavros Hedglin attending Michigan State University from Grosse Pointe North High School (Grosse Pointe Public Schools)

·     Taylor Jancsi attending Grand Valley State University from Gwinn High School (Gwinn Area Community Schools)

·     Mallory Jayne attending Michigan Technological University from Kingsford High School (Breitung Township Schools)

·     Breanna Johnson attending University of Michigan from Negaunee High School (Negaunee Public Schools)

·     Hannah Johnson attending Saginaw Valley State University from South Lyon High School (South Lyon Community Schools)

·     Dawson Kinsman attending University of Michigan from Stevenson High School (Livonia Public Schools)

·     Megan Lasceski attending Central Michigan University from St. Johns High School (St. Johns Public Schools)

·     Cameron McClelland attending University of Michigan from Clarkston High School (Clarkston Community Schools)

·     Liam McLeod attending Michigan Technological University from St. Clair High School (East China School District)

·     Alexander Netzley attending University of Michigan from Cadillac Senior High School (Cadillac Area Public Schools)

·     Alejandro Salais attending Central Michigan University from Eastern High School (Lansing School District)

·     Emilie Seibert attending Grand Valley State University from Bay City Western High School (Bay City Public Schools)

·     Andrew Smith attending Michigan State University from Laker High School (Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker Schools)

·     Jared Swiontek attending Central Michigan University from East Jackson High School (East Jackson Community Schools)

·     Alexander VanDeWeghe attending University of Michigan from Ithaca High School (Ithaca Public Schools)

·     Hannah Wells attending Central Michigan University from St. Johns High School (St. Johns Public Schools) 

May 10, 2020

Letters from Kay Walker-Telma, MEA-Retired President

Good afternoon, MEA-Retired Friends,

Happy Thursday to all. While some may call Mother’s Day a “Hallmark Holiday,” President Woodrow Wilson actually declared the second Sunday in May a national holiday in 1914. A May 10, 2019 article by James Peltz in the Los Angeles Times stated that a woman named Anna Jarvis pushed for a national celebration of Mother’s Day in the early 1900’s and later was sorry because she felt it had become too commercialized.

Mothers should be celebrated, and maybe even more so this year. It will certainly be a different day. Peltz’s article included a statistic from the National Retail Federation (NRF), claiming that an estimated $25 billion would be spent in 2019 on flowers, jewelry, and greeting cards, among other gifts. Another $4.6 billion was estimated to be spent by 87 million people celebrating in restaurants on Mother’s Day.

Different year, different celebration. According to Daphne Foreman of Forbes Advisor, we should consider four pieces of advice when celebrating Mother’s Day during this time:

·       Cherish what’s the same and welcome what’s different.

·       Don’t shy away from challenging conversations.

·       Appreciate that each person’s experience is different.

·       Simply put, our mothers are busier than ever.

Foreman says that according to the NRF, this year’s most popular gifts won’t be the same as usual because of the COVID-19 situation, and will include housewares, electronics and books.

I don’t remember what my sisters and I did for our mom back in the day, but I am sure it was not enough to honor the incredible woman that she was. We lost her in September, 1999 at the age of 72 after a brave and optimistic battle with lung cancer. A smoker until two days before she left us, our mom was intelligent, creative, sometimes strict (especially with me, the “first draft first child”), loving and a stickler for good manners. An English and history teacher in both northern Wisconsin and mid-Michigan early in her post-college years, her first job was as one of three teachers in a tiny school in Minong, Wisconsin, where she told us she “taught typing with two typewriters in a large closet” and was thrilled to be making $2400 during the 1949-50 academic year.

She and my dad, whom we lost nine days after Mom left us (a challenging start to the ’99-’00 school year, to say the least), were truly exceptional people and parents. I miss them every day, and am always happy when they are in my dreams.

Moms, here’s to you for all that you have done, all that you continue to do and for your many amazing accomplishments behind the scenes to make life better for us.

Celebrate, Friends, and be safe, happy and healthy. Enjoy the weekend
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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Good afternoon, MEA-Retired Friends,

 Happy Thursday to you. As we get ready to turn the calendar page and say hello to the next month, we know that we're not going to be part of a crowd dancing around the May pole tomorrow even if the sun is shining.

 COVID-19 and the resulting stay-at-home situation have presented unexpected challenges that our public school educators are working diligently to meet. MEA members, regardless of their job titles, have embraced these challenges and are embracing new ways to meet the needs of students throughout the state. We commend Governor Whitmer for her support of public school employees, and know that an already important November election has become even more so.

 We MUST support and elect individuals who understand that strong public schools are crucial to a successful future. Doing so with your time, your talents and your wallets, will make a difference.

 Below is a piece written by MEA-Retired Legislative Political Involvement Committee (LPIC) Chair Karen Zyczynski, who was part of the annual MEA-PAC Council meeting last Saturday. 

Be safe, healthy and happy and enjoy the upcoming weekend.

 Kay Walker-Telma, MEA-Retired President

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Tuesday, April 27, 2020

Good afternoon, MEA-RetireTo Friends,

Happy Tuesday to all. I hope that you had the glorious sunshine and relative warmth that we enjoyed in northwestern Michigan on Sunday. I could almost feel the Vitamin D that Ol' Sol doles out when not hiding behind the layers of gray in the sky. The first dandelion of the year greeted me on the side of the driveway, maybe wishing winter a happy vacation for a few months.

 GOT ZOOM FATIGUE?

COVID-19 has changed how we communicate with each other. A variety of video conferencing platforms keep us connected with workplaces, organizations, houses of worship and friends and family. While we are certainly fortunate to have access to technology that allows these connections, psychologists say that some of those who use these tools frequently may experience what is being called "Zoom Fatigue."

 In the past two weeks, I have been part of five different organization/financial institution meetings and a few gatherings with family and friends on three different platforms, and having read a few articles about this recently-coined malady, I realized I, too, may have a mild case.

 According to a recent article by Ryan Miller in USA Today, Vaile Wright, Director of Clinical Research and Quality for the American Psychological Association, says that a number of reasons may cause someone to feel anxious or worried on a video call, from having to focus on 15 people at once to worrying about one's appearance on camera. She says that any of these factors require more focus and mental energy than a face-to-face meeting might demand.

 "It's this pressure to really be on and be responsive," said Wright.

Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, says that the platforms put participants in a position that is unnatural. A person's face is often closeup on the screen, and the individual looking at the screen is engaged in prolonged eye contact with it.

"Our brains have evolved to have a very intense reaction when you have a close face to you," he said.

During normal, in-person conversations, "eye contact moves in a very intricate dance, and we're very good at it," Bailenson said, referring to normal behavior in face-to-face conversations. We don't normally stare into our colleagues' eyes, up close on a computer screen, for an hour at a time.

For video calls with old friends or virtual family reunions, the forced structure can create different challenges.

"A lot of us are thinking I want social stuff to be fun and having to be locked in front of this computer ... it's just not how I want to be spending my time," Bailenson said.

Suzanne Degges-White, a licensed counselor and chair of counseling and counselor education at Northern Illinois University, described creating a structure to conversation like email. One person speaks and everyone takes a turn and waits to reply.

"That's not normally the way we do social interactions," she said. "It's not that easy give and take." Side conversations are lost. Some people who are naturally reserved may never get a word in. Others may get distracted by people in their house.

The context of this happening during the coronavirus pandemic can't be lost either, Wright said. We're worried about loved ones but apart from them physically.

How does one combat Zoom fatigue?

  1. • Not every video call actually needs to be a video call. Make a phone call instead once in awhile.
  2. • Take breaks, if possible, in between calls.
  3. •  Create a separate physical space where you take work/organization video calls and personal video calls.
  4. •  For some work/organization meetings, have the video on for just the person speaking.
  5. •  For other meetings with the same group, keep video on the entire time to have that shared sense of being together.
  6. •  If uncomfortable with how you look on camera, spend time adjusting your settings and trying different lighting in your house.
  7. •  If you notice one person not very responsive or always turning their video off, check in with them one-on-one. A large video conference can be intimidating whether it's work or personal, and some people don't like to speak up in large groups.

"Don't expect these Zoom groups to replace other ways you communicate with people," Degges-White said.

Zoom, or other similar platforms, doesn't replace other ways, but it's what works right now.

I look forward to "Zooming" with my college roommate later today, and hopefully the two of us will connect face-to-face soon, and I'll give her an "elbow-bump" or maybe even a hug.

Be safe, sane, happy and healthy.

Kay Walker-Telma, MEA-Retired President

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Monday, April 20, 2020

Good afternoon, MEA-Retired Friends,

Happy Monday to all. I hope you enjoyed the weekend. I had a welcome phone call from retired educator friends who have repainted seven rooms in their home. During the past few weeks. Talk about being productive during these crazy times!

MEA REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY, DAY ONE, WORKS:

The first day of the 2020 MEA Representative Assembly happened virtually-and successfully-on Saturday. Over 350 delegates and others from throughout Michigan participated by phone and accomplished some of the necessary business of the association.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke to attendees, thanking them and acknowledging that while the decisions she has had to make recently have been difficult for Michiganders, they are necessary to protect the health and safety of all. She thanked members for their efforts during the crisis.

President Paula Herbart, Vice President Chandra Madafferi and Secretary-Treasurer Brett Smith were re-elected by acclimation to three-year terms, and candidates for positions as NEA State Director, NEA Alternate State Director and Commission positions were nominated and gave speeches.

At this time, the remaining business of the RA will occur on the second day of the annual event, scheduled to be held in-person on Saturday, August 1 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing.

SAY NO TO DEVOS AGENDA:

While educators across the country are doing amazing things to help our students, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is using this crisis to push her education privatization agenda - this time proposing "microgrants" that sound very much like the school voucher programs she's pushed for years. 

"Once again, she's tone deaf.  She's out of touch," said NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garci­a.  "Students, parents and educators are grappling with a global crisis. Instead of giving them the support they need, Betsy DeVos wants to push a privatization plan that does nothing but hurt our most vulnerable students."

Congress has rejected DeVos's previous voucher schemes, and should reject this one too. Please use these links and take a moment to:

1. contact your U.S. Representatives and Senators to urge them to say no to DeVos's latest privatization push. 

2. Andwhile you're emailing Congress, be sure to advocate for more funding for the Education Stabilization Fund to help fill state budget gaps and for at least $2 billion in funding for the E-Rate program to help close the "homework gap" experienced by students who don't have access to the internet at home.

For more detail about DeVos's latest efforts via Chalkbeat, please click on this link

Take care, Friends. Say healthy, happy and home.

Kay Walker-Telma, MEA-Retired President
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Friday, April 17, 2020

Good Afternoon MEA-Retired Friends

This is a scary and confusing time for people all over Michigan, but right now is also the time to remember that through compassion, unity, and listening to public health experts, we can continue to support our communities, even in the face of crisis. Compassion comes in many forms, but during this unprecedented time the most compassionate thing we can do for ourselves and one another is to practice responsibility. CLICK HERE to visit the Operation Compassion website and find out who our partners are in this effort.

We as Michiganders have a responsibility to each other to practice safe social distancing and to support workers and small businesses however we can. We have a responsibility to support healthcare and essential workers who are working on the frontlines to keep our communities and families safe by staying home - even if it's one of the toughest things we've had to do. We all have our part to play. 

While many of us are frustrated that we can't continue our daily routines, we realize that the decisions made by Governor Whitmer haven't been easy, but that they are what we need to do to ensure we're protecting public health. We also realize that the sacrifices we make to stay home, practice social distancing, and only go out when it's essential will ultimately save thousands of lives.

 We know that the steps taken to slow the spread of the virus are having an impact on family budgets, small businesses and our state's economy. But it's clear that following the advice of public health experts now and being thoughtful on when and how businesses are reopened will help drive our economy forward in the long run.

This is what compassion looks like. Let's send a message to our healthcare professionals, frontline workers, and Governor that we have their back.

Please click here to sign the petition and say THANK YOU!

A message from Kay Walker-Telma,  MEA-Retired President 
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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Good afternoon, Friends,  (LONG POST)

  Happy Wednesday, and Happy National Banana Day. Yeah; I know it's normally Tax Day, too. I am one of those who is taking advantage of the filing deadline being moved to July. I really DO plan to get the paperwork to the accountant next week. We'll see about that.

Speaking of bananas, according to Google, model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen's Banana Bread recipe was the fifth most frequently Googled recipe between March 25 and April 10. More on popular recipes tomorrow.

 Thank you to Larry Smartt who read my posting about virtual meetings and caught my missing "and". I will be participating in the virtual MEA Board meeting tomorrow and the virtual first day of the MEA Representative Assembly on Saturday. Another virtual MEA gathering on my calendar was last night's MEA-PAC Governing Board meeting, which seemed to go very smoothly.

 IMPORTANT INFO FROM NEA PRESIDENT LILY ESKELSEN GARCIA:

The information below is lengthy but important; it was shared with me yesterday by NEA-Retired President Sarah Borgman. We are encouraged to let all members know that due to the COVID-19 situation, the NEA Board of Directors will be meeting on Monday to vote on having a limited Virtual Representative Assembly (RA) rather than the in-person annual event scheduled to be held in Atlanta this summer.

 MEA-Retired would normally have 36 of several thousand delegates from throughout the country participating in the RA. Like the COVID-19 situation, the vote to change the 2020 NEA RA, the largest gathering of a democratic deliberative body IN THE WORLD, is unprecedented.

 Whether or not you are a delegate, I encourage you to read President Eskelsen-Garcia's memo to the NEA Board of Directors below.

 MEA-Retired's Barb Schram is one of NEA-Retired's six representatives on the NEA Board of Directors. If you have any questions, please direct them to her at schram2468@gmail.com. 

Stay safe, stay home, stay healthy and stay happy,

Kay Walker-Telma, MEA-Retired President
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Re: Executive Committee Recommendation to hold a limited 2020 Virtual RA

Dear Colleagues:

At our meeting on April 20th, I will ask you to do something no Board has ever done before. This report is to give you the background on the exhaustive investigation we undertook in the past few months to explore all our options and what convinced us to recommend to you that we change the venue of the 2020 NEA Representative Assembly to virtual and postpone all business except those items we can put on a mail ballot directly to RA delegates. Through all our considerations, we looked through a primary health and safety lens: What is our responsibility to protect the safety and lives of our delegates during this national health crisis and our responsibility as an organization to help stop the spread of this deadly virus?

The decision is in your hands, colleagues. Our Constitution and Bylaws are clear: The Board of Directors is the only body authorized to debate and act on cancelling or postponing the RA and selecting the RA site. In this written report, I want you to know the questions asked and the answers received that compel me and the Executive Committee to act to bring this recommendation to you, the NEA Board of Directors.

ARE DELEGATES IN DANGER IF WE MEET IN PERSON? The coronavirus global pandemic upon us is deadly. It's real. It's growing. Donald Trump failed to take the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and to act in a timely manner to check the spread of the virus, even claiming at one point that there was no pandemic but only a hoax by his political adversaries. His delay in acting will inevitably prolong this crisis.

We applaud the governors of America - there are courageous examples of both Republicans and Democrats in this crisis - who filled the vacuum of leadership on the national level. The Stay-at- Home orders issued by the vast majority of state governors will save lives. Social Distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from others) has closed our schools, workplaces and public spaces. It is helping to check the spread of infection, but much damage had already been done, and the casualties and deaths are multiplying, including among our members. The advisories change by the hour. Medical experts have moved the timeline they believe will require social distancing further and further into the future several times. There is no current definitive answer as to the date social distancing orders might ease or when public gatherings of large groups will be allowed.

The director of the Los Angeles Department of Public Health said this week about social distance restrictions, "We do know that we will be lifting some of the restrictions and we do hope that we're able to take a hard look this summer at what makes sense for us to be relaxing, in terms of some of the closures right now that are making it impossible, for example, for some people to get back to work. But it really does depend on the data." She believes that staying at the current levels of physical distancing would still result in 29.8% of LA residents being infected by August 1st.

 The most optimistic outlooks we could find move us into August. But even in August, should social distancing be relaxed, the scientific community warns that it must be done gradually, with smaller groups being able to go back to work or public places or we risk a return to infection spikes. The Centers for Disease Control's head of Infectious Diseases division, Dr. Anthony Fauci, interviewed with the Wall St. Journal (April 7, 2020) and explained it won't be like turning on a light switch.

"When you gradually come back, you don't jump into it with both feet. ... Depending upon your status, the possibility that when you are in a group of people that you can't avoid with the six- foot limit that you might want to wear a cloth face protection."

We imagined having to purchase daily protective masks, gowns and gloves for thousands of delegates and staff on the floor and the problems with close quarters on shuttle buses, elevators and restaurants. We pondered how to adequately protect delegates who are immune- compromised or in other high-risk categories for contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

Remarking on the CDC's change of guidance extending social distancing into May, tech trade groups are issuing advisories of their own saying, "It's clear from this modification of its advice on the matter that the CDC anticipates greater impact for longer durations, at least when it comes to high-risk situations like densely packed groups of many individuals including conferences, concerts and trade shows..." (Darrell Etherington, 3/15/2020 Techcrunch.com)

As you already know, the International Olympic Committee has postponed the 2020 Summer Olympics to August of 2021 believing that August will still not be safe for a large gathering of sports fans or athletes. The National Democratic Convention has moved their nominating convention from mid-July to mid-August (it cannot be postponed past that time as they must officially nominate their candidate in time for the general election), but there are already contingency discussions of how to move to a virtual format anticipating continued social distancing for their 2,000 delegates.

And so, colleagues, the decision to move from an in-person RA to a virtual site was thoroughly investigated, but the decision to prioritize the safety of our delegates who would be asked to travel and meet in crowded conditions during this pandemic was not a difficult one for us. We believe that meeting in July would pose a substantial risk to the health and safety of our delegates and the communities to which they would return.

SHOULD WE POSTPONE AN IN-PERSON RA TO AUGUST? Our investigation included the possibility of postponing the RA to later in the summer. First, there was the consideration mentioned above that no scientific or medical communities are suggesting that by the end of summer large groups of people could meet in close quarters without risk of infection and spreading the infection.

As of April 11th, the United States surpassed Italy for the greatest number of coronavirus-related deaths in the world. Dr. Fauci indicated that a relaxation of social distancing by the Fall might be possible, but then added, "There is always the possibility, as we get into next fall, and the beginning of early winter, that we could see a rebound." The public health officials in King County, Washington-the first major hotspot for coronavirus cases-also warned on Saturday against premature relaxation of social distancing orders.

We also considered financial complication of simply postponing an in-person RA. We have negotiated contracts for convention centers, hotels, events, production, shuttles, etc. Some contracts have not yet been signed, and, of course, we would not incur cancellation costs in those cases. But many other contracts have been signed. In these cases, we would negotiate with vendors to find ways to mitigate our fees and obligations on cancellation. But even in the best of circumstances, we believe we will incur millions in cancellation costs. Our affiliates, caucuses and councils who have signed contracts for events, hotels, etc. will likely also incur their own cancellation costs.

We investigated attempting to change the dates of our contracts in Atlanta to later in August. But the uncertainty grows. There are now 3,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Georgia and authorities are considering turning the Atlanta convention center into an emergency hospital. Should we have to look to a different city, the costs incurred in new contracts would be in addition to the millions lost to cancellation in Atlanta.

Further, we would have to subject our NEA staff and our state coordinators to having to travel, do site visits, find out if there would be enough restaurants, hotels, etc. open to accommodate delegates. The additional staff work would have to begin immediately, during this dangerous time of stay-home orders.

And NEA and our affiliates would be asked to pay deposits and sign new contracts... gambling on whether or not experts are correct that this national emergency and social distancing may last through the summer and into fall for large gatherings. Should we have to cancel again, it may double the losses to NEA and affiliates.

IF WE MUST HAVE A VIRTUAL RA, WHY CAN'T WE REPLICATE AN IN-PERSON RA ONLINE AND DO ALL OUR USUAL BUSINESS VIRTUALLY? Many of our members are finding they cannot replicate exactly what they could do with in-person classes as they are forced to deliver instruction virtually. They've had to make major adjustments. The same holds true for our RA.

We could get no guarantees from several tech vendors that our in-person debate among thousands of delegates, complete with motions, substitutions, modifications, etc. could be replicated reliably with current technology. More important than that, we know that the digital divide among our members would leave some delegates without appropriate technology, WIFI access or even reliable cell phone coverage with which to participate and vote.

Therefore, we are proposing limiting the RA agenda to three items.

1. The timeliest business of the RA this year is the election of new officers, two Executive

       Committee members and at-large NEA Board members.

 2. This is also an election year where RA delegates consider the recommendation of the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, our PAC, for our official support of a candidate for President of the United States.

 3. Finally, the delegates have the responsibility to approve the Strategic Plan and Budget. The extraordinary year-long engagement that is part of our process usually results in a high level of confidence and support for the Budget. We believe that we can present the details of the Strategic Plan and Budget in a virtual Open Hearing with delegates having the opportunity to review, ask questions and make final recommendations to the Budget Committee. The Budget Committee will review input from delegates and make their final recommendation to the NEA Board virtually. The Board will have the opportunity to review, debate and vote on bringing the Budget to the virtual RA with their recommendation. At the virtual RA, delegates would have the opportunity for limited debate and speeches "for" and "against" the budget. There would be no ability to debate amendments as we have no virtual ability to vote on the floor.

Presentations on this limited agenda can be made virtually with votes taken by mail ballot assuring access to all delegates and in compliance with our rules on secret ballot for NEA elections and the presidential endorsement.

WHAT WOULD HAVE TO BE POSTPONED TO THE NEXT RA? All other business (the Legislative Program, Resolutions, NBIs, Policy Statement amendments) would be postponed to the next RA. The Constitution, Bylaw and Standing Rule amendments properly filed to be considered this year would automatically be postponed for consideration at the 2021 RA with no need to re-submit.

HOW WILL WE PROCEED WITH THIS DECISION?

Attached to this report are two motions.

MOTION #1: That the NEA Board of Directors approve the following recommendation to move the 2020 RA currently scheduled in Atlanta to a virtual convening with a limited agenda and votes taken by mail ballot, given the on-going global pandemic of coronavirus infections resulting in a growing number of COVID-19 illnesses and deaths and the medical advisory against large group gatherings and non-essential travel on commercial transportation.

This motion will come to the Board as a recommendation of the Executive Committee. Please review the entire recommendation and explanation that you will consider. We will have a full debate and vote. The Board must approve this motion by 2/3 vote. Only if the Board approves Motion #1 will we consider Motion #2.

MOTION #2: That the NEA Board of Directors suspend the Standing Rules of the NEA RA in their entirety for the duration of the 2020 virtual convening of the Representative Assembly and adopt the following temporary Rules of Procedure for the purpose of conducting business at the virtual convening of the 2020 NEA Representative Assembly being held on July 2-3, 2020. 

Motion #2 defines the Rules of Procedure that the Board will approve to allow the virtual format to go forward since we will not have the technical capacity to take virtual floor votes of thousands of delegates to approve suspension of the standing rules. Our General Counsel and Parliamentarian have approved this procedure as the proper way to proceed. Motion #2, as a suspension of the standing rules, must pass the Board by a 2/3 vote.

To end this report, I want to thank you, NEA Board, for your attention to this difficult and historic decision that is before us. I know that you will study the proposal included in this email carefully and I invite you to email me directly if you have any questions or suggestions before our "Committee of the Whole" meeting on April 19th which will allow all Board members an open forum to clarify, ask questions and better understand the recommendation we are making before the full debate and vote on April 20th.

Finally, this information is not confidential. I invite you to share this memo and the Motions proposed with your constituencies so that they understand fully the decision you will be asked to make and the rationale behind the recommendation.

Stay safe and be well.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia

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Good Afternoon, My MEA-Retired Friends

Happy Tuesday to you on another blustery day in northwest Michigan. I delivered some goodies to a homebound friend this morning, and thought about how I don't have to worry about putting food on the table. Some of our members, or their senior friends and family, may not be as fortunate. The information below is from michigan.gov/coronavirus, and was originally published on the site about 10 days ago. Please read, use the resources if they will help you and share with others who may be able to benefit from the services mentioned.

 HELP FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT:

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan recently received additional federal dollars to help provide meals to older adults as the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, and wants to make seniors aware of food delivery programs.

These programs - available to Michigan residents over age 60 - provide meals through home delivery and pick up services during the current pandemic.

"COVID-19 is a threat to Michiganders, particularly older adults who are most vulnerable to complications related to the virus," said Dr. Alexis Travis, senior deputy director of the Aging & Adult Services Agency at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). "Nutrition services are a lifeline for the nearly 100,000 older adults we serve through these programs. We are pleased to have additional resources to ensure more older adults in need here in Michigan have access to meals during this time." Seniors who need extra support at this time can now sign up for assistance

, including meal delivery, delivery of non-perishable food items, and daily wellness-check calls, through the MDHHS coronavirus website.  

 The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law on March 18, provides the additional funding for the nutrition services programs authorized by the Older Americans Act of 1965.

 Michigan received just over $7.5 million to fund meals for older adults. This includes more than $5 million for home-delivered meals and more than $2.5 million for congregate meals.

In addition to meals, Older Americans Act programs provide a wide range of services, such as help with bathing and dressing, rides to doctors' offices, education on managing chronic illnesses, support for family caregivers, and much more. Provided by a network of community-based organizations, such as Area Agencies on Aging, local community and senior centers, faith-based organizations, and other non-profit service providers, these programs work together to help millions of older adults each year stay healthy and continue to live independently.

Older adults who need assistance can request help through the MDHHS coronavirus website or contact their local area agency on aging.

 For more information about COVID-19, please visit Michigan.gov/coronavirus.  For more information about the Older Americans Act nutrition programs, please contact your local area agency on aging.

Stay safe, warm, healthy and home

Kay Walker-Telma, MEA-Retired President

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Monday, April 13, 2020

 Good afternoon, MEA-Retired Friends,

 Happy Monday to you. I hope that your holiday celebrations, unconventional as they may be this year, brought and are bringing joy to these stay-at-home days of mid-April. I appreciate some of you sharing that you tried Judy's Veep Beer Bread, and loved Cathie Frederick's sharing a picture of the lovely scones she baked last week (see above); they look scrumptious.

SCAM ALERTS AGAIN:

NBC News Investigative and Consumer Correspondent Vicky Nguyen had some crucial information regarding scams during an interview on Today this morning.

This weekend, the government started depositing stimulus checks in accounts of individuals who are eligible to receive them. If you are eligible, filed a federal income tax return for either 2018 or 2019 and received a refund that was directly deposited into your credit union or bank account, you can expect to receive the money in that account in the not-too-distant future. You do NOT need to do anything in this case. If you're eligible and did not have a refund, or it was not directly deposited, you can contact the IRS at irs.gov/coronavirus for information about getting your stimulus check.

DIRECTLY FROM THE IRS WEBSITE: The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the economic impact payments as cover for schemes to steal personal information and money. Remember, the IRS will not call, text you, email you or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information - even related to the economic impact payments. Also, watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.

 Nguyen also mentioned retirees being targeted by phone calls offering COVID-19 cures, treatments or home tests by providing social security numbers. There are NO FDA-approved treatments or home tests, and no known cure at this time. Again, NEVER answer such requests. She suggested that you contact your cell service provider for apps that will block such calls.

 DOING BUSINESS ONLINE:

Although some Groundhog Day qualities exist in our lives these days, I still actually have some events scheduled on my calendar. Among them are a virtual MEA Board of Directors meeting the virtual first day of the MEA Representative Assembly, among others. We are fortunate that technology allows us to have business, while not "as usual," as good as we can make it.

Stay home, stay safe and stay healthy!

Kay Walker-Telma, MEA-Retired President

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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Good afternoon, MEA-Retired Friends!

Happy Thursday to you. After a relatively warm and sunny day yesterday, snow has been in the air off and on today, with an occasional peek at the sun and a fair amount of wind. That's all right; I made a pot of veggie soup that will be accompanied by a thick slice of bread. All right, maybe two. Let's call this tasty carb fix Veep Beer Bread since MEA Vice President Judy Daley was kind enough to share it with me, and I know she'd be happy if you could enjoy it, too.

I am not a beer drinker, and if you do not drink "adult" beverages, please know that much of the actual alcohol evaporates during the baking process, and the finished product does not taste like beer. Finding actual yeast during my infrequent trips to the grocery store has been a challenge. Thanks so much for the recipe, Judy.

Veep Beer Bread                                                 

12 oz. beer
3 c flour 

¼ c sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 stick (1/2 c) butter

Preheat oven to 375°.
Mix dry ingredients thoroughly, add beer, stir/mix together (used wooden spoon), make into loaf (flour your hands to avoid a sticky mess). Put into greased pan.

Melt butter and pour over unbaked loaf in pan. Yes. The WHOLE stick of butter. Bake for an hour.

I cut ¾" slices (please be patient and wait until it the loaf cools completely before slicing), then cut each slice in half. Great as a "naked" slice and even better with a swipe of even MORE butter (of course). I used a metal loaf pan, and maybe 5-10 minutes after taking the finished product out of the oven, I removed the loaf from the pan and let it cool on a rack.

TECHNOLOGY HELPS DELIVER MESSAGES OF FAITH

For many of our members, this is a week which would, under normal circumstances, bring congregations and families together in an important time of celebration. Instead of joining together with other congregants in houses of worship to celebrate Easter Week or Passover, relevant and uplifting messages and services are being shared online by rabbis, priests, pastors, musicians and others. Thank you to those who are making this unique way of celebration possible during this time.

Stay home, stay healthy and make someone's day by sending a note or picking up the phone.

Kay Walker-Telma, MEA-Retired President

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Good afternoon, MEA-Retired Friends!

Happy Wednesday to you! The sun is shining on this glorious, 59-degree day. I am enjoying this as much as possible since tomorrow, the predicted high is 41, with a 70% chance of frozen mix. Ugh.

MEETING ONLINE WORKS:

I had the pleasure of being part of the Grand Traverse Bay Area MEA-Retired Board of Directors meeting this morning. Thanks to Zoom, President Fran Cullen was able to conduct a productive online get-together that not only allowed the board to accomplish some business and plan for the unknown near future, but also offered us the opportunity to connect with each other and have a few laughs. The chapter is exploring the possibility of one or two virtual luncheons if necessary, and discussed some creative ways to stay connected. One member’s pooch made a couple of guest appearances, as did a frisky feline. Spending time with these friends was the perfect start to the day.

A WELCOME CALL:

I had the pleasure of receiving a phone call from NEA-Retired President Sarah Borgman yesterday afternoon, and getting this was such a delightful surprise. She is doing what she suggested that we do: make phone calls and TALK with others. Our nearly 20-minute conversation covered everything from our “stay home” activities to what was happening in our state and national organizations to creative options for that five-pound chicken that just came out of the oven. She is in touch with NEA regularly, and reaches out to state leaders via e-mail and to individual members with thoughtful phone calls. Although she is in her home as we are in ours, President Borgman’s commitment to the members of NEA-Retired is surely not “staying home.”

CHECK BEFORE YOU SEND:

Last week I shared that Sheila Blain and other retirees were sending letters to a fellow retiree at a nursing home in Ohio. Some institutions are not accepting mail, so check to see whether there are restrictions if you are planning to send cards or letters there. Earl Campbell shared, for example, that Saginaw’s Covenant Hospital is not allowing get well cards.

Bundle up and stay home; the cold front is on its way.

Kay Walker-Telma, MEA-Retired President

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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Greetings, Friends!

Happy Tuesday to you. 

I hope that you're not too frightened by the picture on today's installment. It certainly frightened me. 😉 I knew that bandana would come in handy sometime, but never expected COVID-19 to be the reason.

The sun's out, and I'm heading out for a walk.

Thank you, and enjoy today; the cooler weather arrives late tomorrow for awhile. 

Kay Walker-Telma
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Monday, April 6, 2020

Greetings, Friends,

Happy Monday to you. Hope everyone is doing all right. While I want to keep up on the COVID-19 situation, doing something OTHER than having news on the tube all day is a good idea. Delivered some food from Kay's Coronavirus Catering(yes; it is a joke, but I do prepare the food!) to a few shut-in friends earlier and am headed out for a walk after I send this to you.

VP Judy Daley shared an easy recipe with me last week. If you have a spare beer in your house, give it a try. The recipe yielded tasty results, and, while I am not a beer drinker, I'll bet a warm slice would be tasty with a frosty brew! I cut thick slices, then each slice in half. Great as a "naked" slice and even better with butter(of course!). I used a metal loaf pan, and maybe 5-10 minutes after taking the finished product out of the oven, I removed the loaf from the pan and let it cool on a rack.

12 oz. beer
3 c flour
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 stick (1/2 c) butter

Preheat oven to 375°.

Mix dry ingredients, add beer, stir/mix together(used wooden spoon), make into loaf(flour your hands). Put into greased pan.

Melt butter and pour over unbaked loaf in pan. Bake for an hour.

Take care, thank you so much for your help, and we will be in touch!

Kay Walker-Telma
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Friday, April 3, 2020

Good afternoon, MEA-Retired Friends,

Happy Friday on Traverse City’s third sunny day in a row. Hope this note finds you healthy and finding new and enjoyable adventures during this challenging time.

GOVERNOR WHITMER’S TELETOWN HALL:

As you know, face-to-face learning in Michigan’s K-12 public schools was suspended for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. This affects students, families and staff in the state’s 537 public school districts that serve nearly 1.5 million children. After the official announcement was made yesterday morning, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and education policy staff took part in a teletown hall early in the afternoon with members of MEA, AFT-Michigan and AFSCME. After Gov. Whitmer spoke to participants, thanking them for what they do and answering a few questions, a few of her key staff members answered some additional questions from members of all three unions. MEA President Paula Herbart, AFT-Michigan President David Hecker and AFSCME Michigan Council 25 President Larry Roehrig thanked the Governor and staff, and pledged to continue working together in the best interests of students, families and members.

You can hear the one-hour Teletown Hall by going to mea.organd clicking on the short article, then “Listen Now.”

WE LOVE ALL OF OUR FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS:

I didn’t purposely exclude our beautiful kitties a couple of days ago when I shared “The Theology of Dogs” with you; I should have mentioned that I was including our feline friends when I used the term “four-legged friends” later in the day’s thoughts. I apologize to cat-lovers everywhere. During a much-needed stroll later that day, I encountered a couple of beautiful felines. One, a well-fed orange tabby sitting on a porch, was probably hoping to get a little closer to a blue jay perched for a moment on a nearby branch. The other, coal-black, lean and shiny, crossed in front of me as I huffed and puffed my way up a hill. Seriously. Uh-oh.

MORE MEMBERS MAKING US SMILE:

Democratic Party State Central Delegate Elaine Miller and a group of retired women including teachers, social workers, nurses and others, normally meet for coffee weekly to socialize and work to further party goals in Antrim County. Now meeting on Zoom, they are continuing to press on to secure candidates and precinct delegates.

Sheila Blain asked retirees with whom she worked in Berkley to send cards to a fellow retiree in a skilled nursing home in Ohio. Think I’ll take a few minutes to put a card in the mail to a friend, too. 

Have a safe, healthy and enjoyable weekend.

Kay Walker-Telma

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020 

Good afternoon, MEA-Retired Friends,

Ol' Sol is casting shadows, and as I look out the window to the east, I see a neighbor walking her way-cool doggie up the hill. I'm not sure who's walking whom. Black and white and weighing 40 pounds or so, the canine reminds me of my own late Betsie. My dad called dogs like this one "curbstone setters." Arf!

SPEAKING OF PUPS...

My dear friend, MEA-Retired member Tom Bousamra, shared the "The Theology of Dogs" the last time he and his wife Mary hosted friends for a delicious feast. Seeing the human and canine neighbors enjoying the day prompted me to share these words rather than those in an April Fool's joke today.

If a dog was the teacher you would learn stuff like this: When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy. When it's in your best interest, practice obedience. Let others know when they've invaded your territory. Take naps. Stretch before rising. Run, romp and play daily. Thrive on attention and let people touch you. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree. When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body. No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout; run right back and make friends. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you've had enough. Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Thank you, Tom. As I was typing this, I found myself thinking about each piece of advice, wondering how, and if, I heed and adopt it. Although a couple of them may need to be put aside or adjusted because of social distancing, we would be wise to reflect on the others.

If you share your space with a four-legged friend or two, or more, I'll bet they're actually pretty happy to be spending all of this quality time with you.

I think I'll go "delight in the pure joy of a long walk" right now, soak up some Vitamin D and savor the sunshine.

Stay safe and happy.

Kay Walker-Telma, MEA-Retired President

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Good afternoon, MEA-Retired Friends,

I was mentioning to more than one friend that I need to think about what day of the week it is. Oh, yeah; it’s Happy Tuesday. According to nationaldaycalendar.com, grab your Crayolas for National Crayon Day, pretend you’re enjoying a meal near the ocean and celebrate National Clams on the Half Shell Day, or salute science teachers everywhere by lighting something safely for National Bunsen Burner Day. Check out the aforementioned website for a little fun.

OUR MEMBERS SHARE STORIES TO MAKE US SMILE:

Thank you to a couple of our members who have shared anecdotes that are sure to put a smile on your face, and give you a couple of ideas for you to enjoy creative ways to entertain and be entertained.

Jo Ellis’s son, a teacher himself, hauls his keyboard out to the driveway every afternoon and puts on a mini-performance for his fortunate neighbors. He and his two daughters have provided the entire musical portion for their virtual church services the last few weeks. 

Tonight, Rita Vater Darnton’s son will be in a friend’s apartment in Miami, celebrating his 50thbirthday in style, albeit via Zoom. He invited 20 people to his gathering, and wherever the attendees are viewing their screens and enjoying the party, their tables will be set with dishes and flatware usually only used for special occasions, they will be dressed to the nines, and they will be swapping “Stay Home” tales.

Reading these stories feeds our souls. Got any of your own? What’s working for you in the “Coping with Cabin Fever” Department? I have a few in the hopper, but gladly welcome any that you’d like to share.

STAY HOME AND MOVE:

I have made cookies twice in the past 10 days. I haven’t eaten ALL of them; I swear.  I make a trip or two a week to the store for necessities and bring results of my ongoing “kitchen therapy” to the porches of a few friends who aren’t leaving their homes, so I DO share those treats, as much as I’d sometimes like to eat a half-dozen in one short sitting. I’m eating healthier lately, and trying to make sure I move. No excuse. Some days have been great for walking, and a number of free online fitness classes are available.

If you are able, go outside and take a walk. Walk around your living space 5-10 minutes an hour a few hours a day. Take advantage of online opportunities for exercise. If you have mobility issues, check your PBS station for the “Sit and Be Fit” program, which airs five days a week.  Healthy members are happy members, right? Oops…time to take a walk out to the mailbox. 

I’m BACK from the empty mailbox. Take care, and stay healthy and happy.

Kay Walker-Telma

Monday, March 30, 2020

Good afternoon, MEA-Retired Friends,

Happy Monday to all. We’ve had both rain and snow today in Traverse City. On the bright side, my yard is finally snow-free, at least for now.

CHALLENGING SITUATIONS BRING BRIGHT MOMENTS:

A group of neighbors cheering, clapping and forming a corridor of parked cars with horns honking to welcome a 15-year-old home from the hospital after her last chemo treatment. The gifted Berklee College of Music students gathering online to serenade viewers/listeners worldwide with their beautiful rendition of the 1965 Burt Bacharach/Hal David hit, “What the World Needs Now is Love.” Retired medical personnel by the thousands responding to the call for volunteers to help with the pandemic in New York. These are a mere three of the seemingly endless examples of the goodness and creativity of others during trying times.

GOOD OL’ PHONE CALLS:

In a recent interview airing on CNBC, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said that daily cell phone usage is now averaging twice that of the typical usage on Mother’s Day, and the calls are, on average, 33% longer. He added that the company is handling 9 billion text messages per day.

“The spike is perhaps not surprising. Social distancing can be emotionally taxing,” says CNBC reporter Taylor Locke. “Experts advise maintaining contact with friends and loved ones even if it’s just over the phone.”

Give someone a call today! I saw a television ad this morning for a well-known Michigan law firm, with Mark Bernstein asking viewers to call friends and family instead of calling Sam.

Ironically, the column I wrote six weeks ago for the upcoming issue of the Michigan Retirement Reportaddresses the importance of connecting with others. Coming soon, I hope, since I believe the MEA presses have stopped temporarily.

SPEAKING OF STAYING CONNECTED:

During the last 20 years or so, some of the advances in technology have made me both smile and growl. The scales are tipped on the smile side lately. Apps that allow for group gatherings are available, including Zoom, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts and Skype, among others. They provide us the opportunity to have everything from a happy hour with friends to a trivia contest to a family reunion. If you are technologically challenged, this could also be the perfect opportunity for you to be the student and a child or grandchild to be the educator.

Stay home, stay safe and smile!

Kay Walker-Telma
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Friday, March 27, 2020

Good afternoon, MEA-Retired Friends,

Happy Friday to you. We’re getting a little sunshine in Traverse City right now, and both the light and the warmth coming through the window hit the spot.

REACHING MORE MEMBERS:

Thanks to Administrative Assistant Lisa Fox, “Web Guy” Dave Schopp and Facebook Page/Constant Contact Administrator Nancy Coscarelli, we’ll get our frequent messages to more members.

During these uncertain times, staying connected is even more crucial. If we can provide helpful information, “Stay Home” adventures and anecdotes that elicit some laughter, eye-rolling or groans, we’ll be happy.

WORDS FOR THESE DAYS

Thank you to the witty, warm, optimistic former MEA-Retired President Harvey Miller for sending the words below to me this morning. According to OprahMag.com, the author, Kitty O’Meara, lives in Madison, WI with her five rescue dogs and her husband Phillip. A former teacher and chaplain, O’Meara is now retired. Phillip suggested that Kitty use writing as a tool to deal with her angst over the current situation. Her words have spread far and wide in recent days.

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art. And played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

“And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

“And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been ”

-Kitty O’Meara

Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives. Be well.

Kay Walker-Telma
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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Good afternoon MEA-Retired Friends,

Happy Thursday to all. Just in case you were wondering what to celebrate today, I want you to know that March 26 is National Spinach Day and National Nougat Day. Now THERE’S an interesting combo.

TRAFFIC? WHAT TRAFFIC?

When I was picking up some takeout dinner from a nearby eatery yesterday, I ran into a man who works for the state who said he had traveled this week around the northwest part of the lower peninsula, and was joined by few vehicles. My friend who works for the local MDOT office shared this info with me: Michigan has traffic counters installed in various locations throughout the state; traffic is down 38% this week. People are staying home.

CHECK YOUR SOURCES; STOP THE SPREAD OF FAKE NEWS:

A couple of weeks ago, the source for a posting making the rounds about COVID-19 was, allegedly, Stanford Hospital. I checked several sources, including Stanford itself. NOT TRUE. During these challenging days, we want information that will help us. PLEASE make sure that if you share information, if you must, that it is from a RELIABLE source, like the CDC, the NIH or the state health department, for example. Like stopping the spread of the virus, we must stop the spread of misinformation.

COMFORT FOOD:

Loving that smell of pot roast in the oven right now. Mmmmm. Surf the net for a new dish.  Grab a tried-and-true, food-stained, dog-eared card out of the recipe box and get to work. If you are able to do so, share the results with friends by leaving a couple servings (prepared and packed in a sanitary way, of course) outside their front door. Not only will you bring comfort to them, you’ll bring comfort to yourself.

WEBSITE:

I am going to work with Administrative Assistant Lisa Fox and Web Page Guru Dave Schopp to get these postings on the website so you don’t have yet another item in your Inbox. Stay tuned.

I wonder what Popeye does to celebrate National Spinach Day.Take care, Friends.

Kay Walker-Telma
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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Good afternoon, MEA-Retired Friends,

Welcome to Wednesday. I hope you are all staying healthy and busy on the second day of this adventure. If this daily note continues, I guess this particular edition would be Vol. I, Issue 2, right?

OOPS…SORRY.

I was so happy to receive a call from MEA-Retired Board Member Anne Good earlier today; I always appreciate her optimism and sense of humor. She politely told me that using “shelter in place” was not what we are doing since that is the term used when an active shooter is in a school building. BIG OOPS. I apologize, and guess I used it since I have recently heard it in the media, referring to ordering that citizens stay in their places of residence during this time. “Stay home” works for me. Thanks for the important correction, Anne.

TAKE A MOMENT AND MAKE A CALL OR TWO:

Anne’s welcome phone call is a reminder of a simple act of kindness. Making a call or two a day to someone who lives alone, a friend or relative residing in a nursing home, someone who could just use a boost or a person you haven’t contacted in awhile, you’ll make someone else’s day, like Anne did mine. You’ll do yourself some good (I guess the name reference is intended, Anne) in the process.

THIS IS REALLY FROM ME:

I know that many of you have recently received spam texts and e-mails from Katherine Walker Telma saying that Dan Rudd was in a meeting and I needed your assistance. I will NEVER use the name Katherine when contacting you. However, my mom DID use it back in the ‘60’s on the rare(?) occasion when I wasn’t behaving myself. Please feel free to contact me; check the Board of Directors roster on the members-only section of the MEA-Retired website, mea-retired.org.

LISTEN TO GOVERNOR WHITMER:

Visit MEA’s website, mea.org, and listen to both Governor Whitmer’s address regarding the “Stay at Home” order and her Tele Town Hall with State Superintendent Rice to members of MEA, AFT and AFSCME yesterday. Check out other wonderful articles on the site, too.

Take good care of yourself and loved ones.

Later…

Kay Walker-Telma

STAY HOME.             STAY SAFE.        STAY HEALTHY.

 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO 2020-21)

Mar 23, 2020

LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Gretchen Witmer signed the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Executive Order (EO 2020-21), directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. The order also directs Michiganders to stay in their homes unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.

Effective at 12:01 am on March 24, 2020, for at least the next three weeks, individuals may only leave their home or place of residence under very limited circumstances, and they must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they do so, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household to the extent feasible under the circumstances.

“In just 13 days, we’ve gone from 0 to over 1,000 COVID-19 cases,” said Governor Whitmer. “This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities. The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.”

“Taking aggressive action to protect our communities is the most important thing we can do to mitigate further spread of COVID-19,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “If we do this now, we can make sure our hospitals and healthcare workers are prepared to take care of the sickest people. It is crucial that people do the right thing by staying home and staying safe.”

Executive Order 2020-21 prohibits all businesses and operations from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations. Businesses and operations are to designate the workers that meet those criteria, and must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons in the performance of that necessary in-person work.  

 

 

Despite bipartisan support, legislation stalled on school employee pay and forgiveness for closure days

Mar 18, 2020

MEA Capitol Comments
Michigan lawmakers adjourned last night without taking action to ensure all school employees get paid during this statewide school closure caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, despite bipartisan support and joint appeals from varied education organizations and educators across the state. 
Leaders from both the labor and management sides of the education community had worked together to find a legislative solution to ensure all school employees continue to be paid during the crisis. 
After Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) adjourned late last night without acting on a solution, a joint statement was issued by MEA, AFT Michigan, Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators (MASA) and Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB). 


“We had significant, bipartisan support for our approach developed over days of conversations with lawmakers — something we greatly appreciate,” the joint statement said. “We believe the majority of legislators want to deliver whatever level of certainty they can to students, parents, school employees and district leaders.”


The joint statement called for Shirkey to reconvene as soon as possible to enact a solution. Contact your state legislators to press for the bipartisan solution supported by school leaders. After you’ve sent the letter, follow up with a phone call to your representative and senator


“Leaving a bipartisan solution to an immediate problem on the table during a time of crisis is not in anyone’s best interests,” the statement said. “We call on Sen. Shirkey to reconvene the Senate and address these issues for school employees and districts. They deserve nothing less, given the immense efforts overtaken since last Friday to continue engaging students in learning where possible and to ensure meals and other critical supports continue to flow to our students with the greatest need.”
The goal of any legislative action would be to provide certainty for school leaders and employees around days and hours requirements for the current statewide closure ordered by the governor and requiring all staff to be paid during the closure. “These issues are interlinked and must be tackled together to address the needs of employees and districts, knowing that we will need to address the long-term needs of students when we know how long this crisis will last,” the statement said.

Continue reading . . .


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