Saturday, August 27, 2022

 The Old to the New:  May 2022 and August 2022


May marks the "end" of the 2021-2022 year and sets the transition to the new school year 2022-2023.  BFSRA makes a similar transition, usually not having a July Luncheon over the summer.  This year, however, we wanted to recognize our Active members by inviting them to a lunch in their honor on July 18.  While participation was a bit sparse, it was great to get together with them, and let them know how glad we are that they are members.  The May 2022 Luncheon was well attended and included the installation of officers for 2022-2023.

New Officers


On to August and the start of the new (school!) year.  The first BFSRA luncheon of the (new) school year was held on August 22nd at the Red Lion in Pasco.  

<< Details and Pictures to be posted when available >>


Coming up quickly are the Pasco School District Benefits Fair (August 29, 2022) at the Patio of the Edgar Brown Stadium from 7 a.m. - 9 a.m., and the Richland School District Benefits Fair (September 29, 2022) at the new Richland School District Building on Keene Road from 2 - 6 p.m.  BFSRA will be hosting an informational booth at each of these events.

The next BFSRA Luncheon will be held September 26, 2022 at the Pasco Red Lion.  Peter Diedrick, WSSRA Legislative Director, and Alan Burke, WSSRA Executive Director will share the latest on legislation and insurance changes

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

A New Year Begins - Time for Lunch(eons)!

 With the start of the new year came the re-start of hopes for a more "normal" BFSRA schedule.  

Our first BFSRA Luncheon in almost two years took place on January 10, 2022, with approximately 60 BFSRA members and guests in attendance at the Pasco Red Lion, which will serve as the location of BFSRA Luncheons through May 2022.   This luncheon featured our Superintendents' Panel (Dr. Traci Pierce - Kennewick SD; Dr. Michelle Whitney - Pasco SD; Dr. Shelley Redinger -  Richland SD), and was also available to all members via Zoom.

The February 28th BFSRA Luncheon featured a visit with Meriwether Lewis (disguised as member Glen Allison!) who shared his experiences and travels with Captain William Clark.  E-8 Representative Sharon Hosely gave an update on current work at the local and state levels.

  

Member Glen Allison starring as reenactor of Meriwether Lewis.


Our third Luncheon of 2022 took place on March 28.  Our special guest was Elizabeth McLoughlin, Executive Director of the Tri-Cities Cancer Center, who described the amazing work being done there, and answered numerous questions. WSSRA President Bruce Boyer and Executive Director Alan Burke literally flew in with updates on state work, and President-Elect Brad Beal joined on the big screen via Zoom.

Our April 25, 2022 Luncheon featured a fascinating talk and presentation by member Rosann Ferris, who discussed her experiences in "Life in Iran, 1970."

Our final luncheon of the 2021-2022 school year will take place on May 23.  It will feature our customary Celebration of Life, recognizing those members who have passed on.  In addition, unit officers will be installed at this meeting.



Wednesday, January 12, 2022

BFSRA Meeting November 22, 2021

 November 22, 2021, the first effort to meet in person for our monthly luncheon was a success due to the fact members were wanting to eat out, see friends and hear the beautiful voice of Mary Lou Gnoza and the keyboard magic by Steve Haberman" Peter Diedrick was our guest and shared the latest news regarding  legislation. He is the Legislative Director of WSSRA.

Monday, October 18, 2021

October and November Events

 While there will be no general meeting/luncheon in October, there are still events coming up in the next few weeks that will provide opportunities to stay updated on retirement programs and plans. Check your October newsletter for exciting news about our November 21, 2021 Luncheon and Meeting, and the plans for the January 2022 Luncheon and Meeting

First, WSSRA is sponsoring (and will be recording) a Zoom webinar for WSSRA retirees who use PEBB for Medicare Supplemental Insurance on Tuesday, October 26th at 9:00 a.m.  The Webinar is free and does not require pre-registration.  Ellen Wolfhagen of the Health Care Authority (HCA) will present the latest information on the impending fee changes for the UMP (Uniform Medical Plan) and the PEBB UHC (United HealthCare).  "Switching plans must take place by November 30. With cost differences now significant, those contemplating making a Medicare supplement change for 2022 will be interested in the information provided."  A flyer describing the seminar and access procedures is available HERE.


Next up, WSSRA is sponsoring two Zoom-based pre-retirement seminars in October and November 2021 (Thursday, October 28th and Thursday, November 4 at 4:30 p.m).  A flyer describing the seminars and registration procedures is available HERE.  

Dates and Topics:

Thursday, October 28th, 2021 @ 4:30PM: Department of Retirement Systems and Health Care Authority/PEBB

Thursday, November 4th, 2021 @ 4:30 PM: Social Security/Medicare and VEBA

Please promote this to all of your friends/relatives who are within 1-5 years of retirement as a certificated or classified employee.  

Contact information:

Tara Teitzel

Phone: 360-413-5496 ext 111

Website: www.wssra.org

Email: Tara@wssra.org


 Last but not least, please reach out to any new classified or certificated employees you may know about the WSSRA New Educator Zoom Webinar on November 9, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.  Webinar participants must register, but the webinar is completely free, and will provide valuable information on choices available to new employees.

This webinar will feature presentations from the following:

• WA State Department of Retirement Systems (Plan 2 vs. Plan 3 analysis)

• A certified financial specialist will explain the benefits of early planning

A copy of the flyer is available HERE.

Contact information:

To Register visit www.wssra.org and fill out the WSSRA Webinar Pre-registration form under “Events Tab” or you can email Tara@wssra.org with your name, email address and we will contact you before the seminar with Zoom instructions.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

September 27th Meeting will be via Zoom

 The Monday, September 27, 2021 Zoom meeting hosted by WSSRA and featuring information about the news from our legislators, has always been our luncheon meeting with both Peter Diedrick, Legislative Chair and Alan Burke, Executive Director sharing with us.  However, we will be Zooming due to the rise in our present health situation.  The meeting will begin at 11:00 a.m.  Meeting information has been emailed, and has been provided by callers.


Monday, June 7, 2021

BFSRA MEMBER DIRECTORY & HANDBOOK DISTRIBUTION: JUNE 19, 2021!

 

MEMBER DIRECTORIES ARE HERE!!!  

DISTRIBUTION DAY:  Saturday, June 19, 2021

LOCATION:  Kennewick First United Methodist Church (address is 421 W. Kennewick Avenue, Kennewick -- but please read the special note below)

DISTRIBUTION TIMES:  10 A.M. - 1 P.M. (Note:  End time changed to 1 p.m.!!!)

SPECIAL NOTE:  Please enter the church rear parking lot from S. Dayton Street heading west toward S. Everett Street.  Drive through the portico overhang to receive your Directory. Vaccinated and masked BFSRA volunteers will hand it to you.  If you’re picking up a copy for someone else, please let them know who that person is.  Feel free to bring in your 2019-2020 Directory for shredding!  See map below.


If you can't make it to this Distribution event, the directories will also be available at the August 2021 meeting.  We may try to set up a second Distribution event as well.  Stay tuned here and on the Facebook page for more details!








Spring Meeting Update

 Due to issues beyond our control, we were unable to meet together as a unit on May 24th, 2021.  The BFSRA Executive Board met via Zoom, in a meeting dedicated to a Celebration of Life and the Installation of the 2021 Officers.  First, we recognized three significant events and accomplishments:

 1.  Our oldest member, Lola Van Campen, turned 104 years old this past January. Victoria recounted her conversation and correspondence with Lola and her daughter and described their joy at receiving flowers.

2. Elaine Banks has been awarded honorary membership due to her relentless leadership and work at the state and local levels for 20 plus years as she has reached her 90th year. We, Unit 29, are indeed the recipient of leadership, knowledge, and a special bond and friendship.

3. BFSRA Unit 29 received the Unit of Highest Distinction Award in recognition of Achievement of our goals for 2020 -2021.


Sharon Hosely, the E-8 District Representative, then completed the installation of the 2020-2021 Officers:

Victoria Russell - President

Liz Friedrich - President Elect/Program Chair

Lew Edming - Secretary

Ardith Eakin - Treasurer

Dottie Stevens - Immediate Past President


Finally, and with great respect and feeling, the Celebration of Life was led by Victoria in remembrance of those of our members who passed during 2020 and the first part of 2021.  Victoria Russell, Liz Friedrich and Dottie Stevens read the names of those who passed.  Victoria then shared a reading in memory of our deceased members.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

January 25th BFSRA Zoom Meeting recording now online!

 April showers bring May flowers -- and hopefully an opportunity to get together for our May General Meeting (currently scheduled for May 24).  In the meantime, the January 25th BFSRA Zoom Meeting recording is available by clicking HERE.  This meeting featured the Superintendents of Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland School Districts, and included a question and answer session at the end of the Superintendents' presentations.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

January and February Retrospective

BFSRA had a General Zoom Meeting on Monday, January 25, 2021 from 10-12.  The superintendents (KSD, PSD, RSD)  'zoomed in' at 10:15.  Alan Burke acted as our moderator, and members were able to ask questions after each superintendent's presentations and then again at the end. Statistics on attendance, general notes on the meeting itself, and a link to the recorded meeting will be posted here as soon as they are available.  Members were able to participate either online, or via telephone.  

The Pre-Retirement Zoom Webinar took place on Thursday, February 18th, 2021: 5:00-7:30 PM.  Geared to Certificated and Classified Employees within 1-5 years of retirement, it was sponsored by Washington State School Retirees’ Association.  Click HERE to view the recording of the webinar.  For more information and resources, visit the WSSRA website by clicking on WEBINAR RESOURCES

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

Tier 1, Phase 1B COVID-19 vaccinations started to become available to those 65 and older in January.  The mass vaccination site at the Benton-Franklin Fairgrounds opened January 25. While it may be possible to schedule a vaccination with one's healthcare provider, the two primary ways of doing so are online at https://prepmod.doh.wa.gov/ or by phone (1-800-525-0127). WSSRA is tracking the statewide effort; its summaries can be found on the Current News and Projects tab (https://wssra.org/index.php/newsupdates)

Sunday, December 27, 2020

December Update: Getting Ready for Better Times

 With less than four days of 2020 to go, better times are most assuredly ahead.  Here are some of the events to look forward to:

Wednesday, December 29th: Department of Retirement Systems - live DRS webinar for WSSRA Active Members ("Our Education & Outreach team will present several topics, including: Plan 2 Basics (PERS, TRS, SERS), Plan 3 Basics (PERS, TRS, SERS), Online Resources, Getting Ready for Retirement, Applying for Retirement").  See details by clicking HERE.

Monday, January 25th:  proposed Zoom meeting for all members from 10 a.m. - 12 noon.  We will call and send out the necessary information for those interested in hearing from our three superintendents (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland school districts), regarding the New Year.  See the December newsletter for additional details and contact information.

Thursday, February 18th: Pre-Retirement Zoom Webinar for Certificated and Classified Employees.  For more details, click HERE.  To register, contact Tara Teitzel of WSSRA at Tara@wssra.org.


In addition, the WSSRA website has an update tab (WSSRA - Current News and Projects) with lots of good information about ongoing and future events.  Please make sure you check it periodically.  The most recent update (November/December) can be viewed by clicking HERE.




Thursday, November 5, 2020

Health Care Authority (HCA) Webinar (Monday, November 9; 9:00 a.m.)

 Ellen Wolfhagen of the Health Care Authority (HCA) will present the latest on the new United Healthcare Medicare Advantage plus Prescription Drug (MA-PD) plans in a webinar on Monday, November 9 at 9:00 a.m. Ellen is the manager of the MA-PD plans for HCA/PEBB, and will describe the two new PEBB plans that will be available throughout Washington, and offer out-of-state coverage, beginning January 1, 2021. 

Sign-ups for these plans must take place by November 30. The MA-PD plans are less than half the monthly cost of the current Uniform Medical Plan (UMP), and are price competitive with Kaiser Permanente and Premera Blue Cross Plan F and Plan G offerings. Ellen will present through a series of slides and then take questions from attendees. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the WSSRA website.

For more details, click HERE or visit the WSSRA website at https://www.wssra.org and select the WSSRA Current News and Projects tab.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Toy Drive!! Monday, November 23, 2020 (11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.)

 BFSRA CARES!  Help the Salvation Army help our communities!


For the past six years, BFSRA has been a proud supporter of the Salvation Army in its annual Toy Drive.  Although we won't be able to enjoy each other's company, or the music of Mary Lou and Stevie, or the delicious luncheon celebrating the holiday season, we WILL be able to experience the joy of bringing joy to others.  These pictures show just two of the tables that held the generous BFSRA donations of toys last year.






On Monday, November 23, please bring toy donations to the First United Methodist Church, 2 S. Dayton Street, Kennewick between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m..  The Benton Franklin School Retirees Association (BFSRA) will use the church’s covered drive-through area and the foyer on the south side of the church property for toy collection during the two hour collection.  At 1:00 p.m. the Salvation Army will arrive and take the collected toys. 

Notes from our President:

Now is a great time to shop for school supplies and Christmas items for S.H.A.K.E. and our Salvation Army  collection.  You may drop off your items on Monday, November 23, 2020 from 11-1 at the First United Methodist Church in Kennewick.  We will receive school supplies on the same day for our January date. If you need help, we will be happy to pick-up from your home and see that your items are included with the collection on that Monday by the Salvation Army representatives and school supplies. School supplies will be delivered by me to Maureen Bell for distribution to schools in the new year and could possibly be used sooner with elementary students starting school this month.

Let's make this a happy time for our families and community.  We appreciate whatever you are able to contribute.  Call if you need assistance.  509-627-7364 for Victoria or any of our officers/Executive Board.



Saturday, October 10, 2020

Upcoming BFSRA Legislative Zoom/Webinar (12 October 2020)

[Edited to reflect appropriate ID and Passcode] 

Meeting ID: 983 4630 0074

Passcode: 123


We will be connecting virtually on Monday, October12, 2020. The program is being brought to you by our Legislative Committee, hosted by BFSRA President Victoria Russell, and organized by Peter Dietrick, WSSRA Legislative Coordinator. Starting at 10am will be the District 8 candidates; District 9 candidates start at 11am and District 16 candidates start at 12pm.  This Zoom Webinar will allow you to (virtually) meet the candidates and ask questions as you formulate your choices for the November 3, 2020 election. 

 The use of Zoom is at no cost to you. You may need to download the Zoom application to your computer or tablet or phone; to do this, go to https://zoom.us/.  Select the Join a Meeting link in the top menu; enter the ID shown below, and then select download and run Zoom for an icon to place on your desktop. You can also use a search engine like Google (search for How to Zoom or Zoom for beginners) if you wish more references.  

 In order to participate in the Zoom/Webinar, select/tap your Zoom app/icon and enter this ID 952 4380 8726 when prompted; the Passcode 862602 is for October 12, 2020.  Press/Select Join; at this point you should be able to see the presenters.  Unmute your microphone and camera in the left hand corner of your screen. 

 You will receive a call to remind you about the Zoom Webinar just as we call you for a luncheon. You can use your cell phone, tablet, or computer to join in.  We hope you will try to join us!  


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

WSSRA Zoom Webinar: Interview with Matt Smith, the Washington State Actuary (Tuesday, September 29, 9:00 am.)

 Executive Director Alan Burke and Legislative Director Peter Diedrick will use Zoom to interview Matt Smith, the Washington State Actuary, on Tuesday, September 29 at 9:00 am. "Mr. Smith will field questions regarding the important work of the Office of the State Actuary (OSA) in guiding pension agencies by calculating longevity averages for retirees. These figures, when combined with prospective rate of return for investments in the $130 Billion state investment fund, largely determine the cost of pension policy bills like the Plan 1 COLA and Plan 2/3 early retirement. Clearly, the higher the costs, the more difficult it becomes for the legislature to act on a pension improvement proposal."


As with the Town Hall Meeting and the other Webinars, go to www. wssra.org and select the WSSRA - Current News and Projects tab to get more details.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

WSSRA Interview with Theresa Whitmarsh, State Investment Board (September 9, 2020)

 In case you missed it . . .

WSSRA has made the video recording of the interview with Theresa Whitmarsh (Executive Director) of the State Investment Board available.  Click HERE to view it.  The State Investment Board is responsible for managing the funds that make up 75% of pension check amounts, so as Dr. Alan Burke states, "it's really, really important that we pay attention to what goes on there."


Sometime later this month, WSSRA will present another interview, with the State Actuary.  Stay tuned!