Tuesday, November 12, 2019


Welcome to BFSRA!  The Benton/Franklin School Retirees' Association (BFSRA) is the local affiliate of the Washington State School Retirees' Association (WSSRA) -- whose sole purpose to enhance the security and vitality of your retirement years.  If you belong to either the TRS, PERS, or SERS retiree plans, we are your primary advocate in the state of Washington for your retirement pension benefits.

We welcome all present members of, as well as any and all future TRS, PERS and SERS retirees to join us, for it is through our strength in numbers that we will have the greatest positive impact on what happens in Olympia with our pension funds and retirement benefits.

We provide pro-retiree, pro-education advocacy and leadership to the Washington State Legislature. We have representatives who work with legislators who impact retirement and pension plans and issues, and we collaborate and advocate with other groups that share our vision, values, and aims.

We sponsor pre-retirement seminars, and award substantial scholarships to college students enrolled in their school's college of education. We also provide education support grants to active teachers and education support staff in local schools, and encourage volunteer activities in support of Washington's school children.

We also provide access to many members-only benefits through the Association Member Benefits Advisors (AMBA). Special insurance rates, travel discounts, and product savings are available to our members.

We consider ourselves educators for life. If you are or have been a certificated or classified school district employee in the state of Washington—from superintendents to school nurses,  bus drivers to behavioral psychologists —you are welcome here.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Installation of Officers for 2019 - 2020

BFSRA's newly elected officers were installed by WSSRA President, Linda Averill, at our May luncheon.

Pictured, L to R, are Linda Averill, Victoria Russell, President; Elizabeth Friedrich, President-Elect; Lew Edming, Secretary; and Marlys Mayer, Treasurer. 

Dr. Alan Burke, Executive Director of WSSRA, also attended the May luncheon. He spoke regarding the recent legislative action in Olympia where, once again, we came away with NO COLA, but a $15/month increase in our Medicare subsidies.  Dr. Burke shared that for those of us in Plan I who retired in and around the year 2000, our pensions have decreased by 15% in value in the last 19 years. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Celebration of Life

In honor of those of whom we lost this last year, 
a rose for each of them was placed in a vase and their names read. 
Vickie Evans provided the music. 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Free Jazz from the Dave Clark Saxtette Group

Three Rivers Saxtette

Thanks to Don Parks for inviting Dave Clark (not the Dave Clark Five Dave Clark), but Dave Clark of the Three Rivers Saxtette Quartet to present a true Concert Event at our April luncheon.  If you missed it, you missed out.

Crank up your speakers and catch a small bit of their performance by clicking the picture.

The following, borrowed from the Joe Lane Real Estate team page:      

"The Three Rivers Saxtette is a Saxophone Quartet comprised of Dave Clark on Soprano/Alto Saxophone, Bill Murray on Alto Saxophone, Wayne Land on Tenor Saxophone and Doug Edwards on Baritone Saxophone. Playing on the rhythm section for the band are Kelin Kreider on Electric Bass and Jerry Larson on Drums.

The saxophone is a woodwind instrument commonly used to produce Jazz music. The mind and body get to benefit a lot from listening to this type music. Studies show that the sound of Saxophone can actually raise the heartbeat and makes one motivated. Indulging in Jazz also relieves stress and reduces anxiety. Enjoy these benefits as you delight in the performance of the Three Rivers Saxtette at the Emerald of Siam."

Monday, March 25, 2019

March Luncheon

Marisol Rodriguez-Price and Sarah Duran 
The program today was Heritage University, with Marisol Rodriguez-Price and Sarah Duran.

Heritage, 40 years young, is based in Toppenish, but they have opened a thriving satellite campus on the larger campus of Columbia Basin College in Pasco.

Heritage offers programs where Associate Degrees or Bachelor's Degrees can be turned into a master's. While they offer an extensive degree program, our interests lie mainly with those focused on a future career as a professional educator.

The Masters In Teaching Program (MIT), is designed for students wanting to obtain Washington State Certification for a career in education. They may be undergraduates to begin, or they may have earned Bachelor's degrees years before, but have decided they want to teach.

We wish them all great success!!     

February Snow Storm

Snow in February this year resulted in  BFSRA cancelling both its Executive Board Meeting and its monthly luncheon: schools were closed, roads were closed, record auto collisions and slide-offs into the ditches all around town. Oddly enough, I didn't get any pics this time, but I have this one I took of Badger Mountain February 5th of 2017.  I'm thinking this February was worse. Especially since most of us don't even remember the snow we had two years ago.  

Superintendents' Panel

The big three school districts, Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, shared their superintendents with us at the January luncheon to bring members up to date regarding their individual districts. Unfortunately, yours truly couldn't attend the luncheon, so until I could pick up a copy of the approved minutes, there wasn't much to report. I have no pics from that event, so I'll post up a few links that maybe will help you get caught up.

Dave Bond, Kennewick School District Superintendent, presented current bond projects planned for the district which includes replacing Kennewick High School (my old alma mater . . . it needed major work when I was there as a senior in 1964!), update Southridge and Kamiakin High Schools, replace Amistad Elementary, construct a new elementary, and renovations on Ridgeview Elementary. Update: The bond passed on February 25th with a 69.2% approval rating.

Learn more about the schools in Kennewick, here. 

Michelle Whitney, Pasco School District Superintendent, spoke to the physical and emotional safety of their students. A District Level Crisis response plan has been initiated.  This plan addresses Evacuation, Lock Down procedures, Sheltering in Place and various drill.  The Pasco Police Department, Resource Officers, Outside Third Party Reviews, and Safety Procedures are being instituted for the school district. Lock down buttons in security foyers are in place, or soon will be in all buildings. Update: The bond was a cliffhanger, passing at 60.07 %. 

Learn more about the schools in Pasco, here. 

Rick Schulte

Rick Schulte, who will retire at the end of the year as the Richland School District Superintendent, and his replacement, Nicole Mactavish, reported that the Kindergarten program has been expanded by one semester. Richland did not run a bond this year.
                                            Learn more about the schools in Richland, here.

Nicole Mactavish 


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Holidays Everyone

Our good friends, Marylou and Stevie. 
Our last luncheon of each calendar year is in November, when we traditionally enjoy a turkey and dressing lunch, we are entertained with holiday music and we donate toys to the Salvation Army's collection for children at Christmas. Last year's donation held 189 toys!

It is always a good time, with good food, good music and the joy of sharing with some of the unfortunate children in our community. 
Ana Avila dn Elizabeth Amezcua, Salvation Army,
a small sampling of the toys donated this year. 

We look forward to seeing everyone back at the CG Pub House, January 28th, when we hear from our local school superintendents for their annual presentation of the state of our schools.


Friday, November 9, 2018

Mini Grants

Our Mini-Grants have been distributed, but since the information wasn't sent to this editor for the webpage, you may view the recipients in our newsletter at this link.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Anna King, Journalist with Northwest Public Radio, Presents "The Daughters of Hanford"

Anna King and Victoria Russell
The meeting began with a presentation from the local American Legion with three veterans presenting flags and Vickie Evans leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance, and a medley of hymns from branches of the Armed Services.  
Following a few committee reports, President-Elect, Victoria Russell, introduced Anna King, an award-winning journalist with Northwest Public Radio.  Ms. King's topic on "Daughters of Hanford" was excellent, and current with local involvement with the Hanford site.  Many questions were answered at the end of the presentation, and members stayed after with additional queries. 
Advice from Anna; get out of your rut – listen to different news presentations - change your routine- eat something different for breakfast. Bonsai Audio assisted with this multi-media event.  
During the Business Meeting the Legislative Committee and Pre-Retirement Committee were recognized for their hard work and accomplishment with the September Open Forum for candidates, and the October Pre-Retirement Seminar for 150 attendees.   Jim Foster and Elaine Banks commented further on these events.
90+ were in attendance including five presenters.
Meatloaf and taco salad was served for the luncheon.
Members were reminded about the November 19th meeting and to bring unwrapped toys for the Salvation Army Toy Drive. “Mary Lou and Stevie” will be entertaining, and we will hear from WSSRA Executive Director Alan Burke.

Anna King delivers her program, "Daughters of Hanford." 

text and photographs submitted by Dottie Stevens

Friday, October 19, 2018

Pre-Retirement Seminar #6: Job Well Done

Matt Wiser, of Cornerstone Wealth Strategies, presenting,  "Social Security & Financial Planning." 

BFSRA sponsored its 6th Pre-Retirement Seminar, October 18th, at the ESD in Pasco. These seminars began in 2014 (we held two in 2015), and to date we estimate approximately 750 overall, soon-to-be-retirees, have attended overall. 

We didn't get an accurate head-count on this one, but we estimated approximately 150 in attendance, and with the help of  WSSRA Executive Director, Dr. Alan Burke, and his fresh $10 bills for any new member sign-ups, we collected 29 new members. 

Congratulations and thanks to Elaine Banks, Jim Bumgarner, Dottie Stevens, Victoria Russell, Ardith Eakins, and in absentia, Donald Parks, for their leadership, assistance and help offered.

Thank you's also go to ESD 123, from set-up to take-down, Matt Wiser, CornerstoneWeatlh Strategies; Dr. Alan Burke, WSSRA Executive Director; Larry Cade, Washington State Health Care Authority; Catherine Cadoo, Dept of Retirement Systems Plans II & III; Rohn Rutledge and Jeff Burgess, AMBA Representatives; Kristin Faris, VEBA; and Bob Fox, DRS Plan I. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Meet the Candidates Forum

Kudos to our crack Legislative Commitee members, Jim and AJ Foster and Elaine Banks, for organizing another excellent Meet the Candidate Forum at the September luncheon. 12 of the 14 candidates from each of the three districts in our region were in attendance. When Jim asked if they will support the Plan I COLA and the funding required, everyone of them said, "Yes."

If you're wondering which district is yours, click on these links:  
Eight, Nine and Sixteen.

To see who your candidate are,
go to our Facebook Page here. 

Victoria Russell, VP/Program Chair, opening the meeting.

Elaine Banks awarding Terry Nealy, retiring
District 16 Representative, with a Certificate of Appreciation
for his many years of leadership and support. 

Sam Derosa, Health Committee Chair,
 leading members in a robust round
of challening calisthenics.  

Sunday, September 2, 2018

August Luncheon: "The Picnic"

Elaine Banks presents Rep. Larry Haler
with a certificate of our appreciation. 

The opening BFSRA Luncheon welcomed 90 attendees for the annual Indoor Picnic featuring a Buffet of Pulled Pork and salads, and a Chef’s Salad.  The choices were nearly evenly divided and members commented on their appreciation of food quality even with an increase cost to $17.

Andy Eads took pictures including legislative committee and Representative Larry Haler with certificate from BFSRA recognizing his outstanding public service. In his remarks he commented on Plan 1 COLA saying he had recommended 2% but only could get 1.5% at this time.

Sam and Bill get everyone up on one foot.  

New banners were displayed with some addition to include health. The Health Committee gave an update on new Medicare Cards and lead us in an activity of standing on one foot at a time.  Expected 30 seconds, not many made it.  Advice: pick up the work out.  Thank you Sam and Bill.

Dottie Stevens, Larry Haler, Elaine Banks, Jim and AJ Foster
The Legislative Committee hit hard on VOTING!  Also reminding us of the “Meet the Candidates” BFSRA Luncheon on September 24th with extended time from 11:30 to 1:30 pm.  There is time for presentations and questions.  Candidates for contested positions are anticipating talking with us.  We know that positions in the 16th and 8th will be hotly contested and look forward to hosting this open forum where you can listen, interact, and decide.  Thank you, AJ and Jim Foster, and Elaine.

Membership Committee shared new $10 premium for new members and that our Unit would also cover the in-betweens that are on cash only or WSSRA only with the $10 for those moving to direct payroll deduct. There were takers to the Treasurer’s approval.  Thank you Don.

Kathy Parks wins the basket drawing. 
Drawing for free lunches and a basket were met with enthusiasm.  The basket was chosen first and Dottie admitted to being involved with a friend to offer this prize.  Kathy Parks won!!  It was also revealed that BFSRA Baskets for the June Convention included splits of wine from Nancy and Hank Sauer.  Thank you Sauers; Nancy was a guest at the Luncheon. (see basket picture)

* Thanks to Madam President, Dottie Stevens for the report, and to Andy Eads for the photos.