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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

Apr 03, 2020

Letters from Kay Walker-Telma, MEA-Retired President

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.


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.”


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.


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


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!


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


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, 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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
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.


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.


Thank you to the witty, warm, optimistic former MEA-Retired President Harvey Miller for sending the words below to me this morning. According to, 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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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?


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.


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.


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,


Visit MEA’s website,, 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.


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 . . .


Mar 12, 2020



Your MEA-Retired leadership team, along with the Executive Committee and Board of Directors, has decided that it would be in everyone's best interest to cancel the 2020 Annual Meeting, which had been scheduled for Monday, March 30, 2020, due to the coronavirus situation. While our gathering is always an important and enjoyable opportunity to conduct the business of our organization, our members are in the age group that has the highest risk for serious coronavirus-related conditions.  The health, safety and overall well-being of our members is our primary concern.

Registered delegates will receive two mailings in the near future regarding the cancellation of the event.

Michigan voters have the option to spoil their absentee ballots, get new ones, and vote again!

Mar 05, 2020

Voters who want to change their votes in this presidential primary can request to spoil their ballots and request new ones by mail before 2 p.m. Saturday or in person before 4 p.m. Monday. If a voter's ballot has already been received by the clerk, there is no option to spoil the ballot on the day of the election

Requests to spoil a ballot ahead of election day must be made in writing and in-person at the clerk's office or voting center, by regular mail, by fax or through a signed letter emailed to the clerk. 

All voters in Michigan can now vote early through absentee without a reason. You can get an application at your county, township and city clerk's office or at, and mailed-in applications must be received by Friday, March 6. You can also drop off the application in person at the township or city clerk's office by 4 p.m. on Monday, March 9 to get your ballot.

You then complete your ballot, sign it and submit it by dropping it off in person at the township or city clerk office or return it through the mail. Ballots must be signed and received by 8 p.m. on election day, March 10, 2020.

These are the withdrawn presidential candidates on Michigan's March 10 primary ballot who have suspended their campaigns as of 6:30 pm, March 4, 2020: 

Democrats who have withdrawn from race:

Michael Bennett
Cory Booker
Mike Bloomberg
Pete Buttigieg
Julian Castro
John Delaney
Amy Klobuchar
Joe Sestak
Tom Steyer
Marianne Williamson
Andrew Yang

Republicans who have withdrawn from race:

Mark Sanford
Joe Walsh

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