Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March Program: "Dr. H. Keith Moo-Young, Chancellor WSU Tri-Cities"

Our speaker at the March luncheon was Dr. H. Keith Moo-Young, Chancellor WSU Tri-Cities.  Dr. Moo-Young joined Washington State University Tri-Cities on June 1, 2013.

A licensed Professional Engineer, Dr. Moo-Yong served as Dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles, prior to coming to the Tri-Cities.  He earned his Ph.D. and an MS in Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an Executive Master's in Technology Management from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Morgan State University.

Dr. Moo-Young spoke of the history of WSU Tri-Cities - surprising most in the room when he told how it started in the 1960's, long before the governor of Washington signed a law in 1989 forming 5 branch canvases: 2 for the University of Washington and 3 for Washington State University. 

He shared his thoughts and plans for creating an educational environment that will help ensure the USA be a strong competitor in the global landscape. With "China producing one-million engineers annually, India producing 700,000 engineers annually and the USA producing only 70,000," he said, "we are no longer globally competitive."  In face of these statistics, Dr. Moo-Young remains positive.  "This creates an opportunity for us," he said.  "With 5,000 scientist and engineers adjacent to WSU Tri-Cities we can achieve at much higher rates than most other places."

"With little to no recruiting, we have students from 28 of the 38 Washington counties, 12 states outside Washington state, and 10 countries."  He said WSU TC has access to two-million dollars earmarked for tuition scholarships.  "We can provide tuition scholarships that will decrease the cost of attending here to less than the in-state tuition California charges its own students."

Student housing will improve as well as the opportunity for students to be involved in athletics.  "This is not an intramural program we are building but a Club-Sports program, one where anyone can play and compete with other such programs throughout the Northwest.  Athletic involvement creates ownership and feelings of belonging in students and that encourages higher graduation rates."

It is indeed encouraging to hear such focused and aggressive leadership coming out of our own higher ed community. 

Thanks to Tom Callahan for another outstanding program for our members this month.

Monday, February 24, 2014

February: "Attendance Matters Update" and "Aging, Dementia, and Alzheimer's"

At today's luncheon two excellent presentations were offered:

Michelle Roth of "United Way", provided us an update on the "Attendance Matters" program which Dr. Bruce Hawkins, Superintendent of ESD #123, first presented to our members last September. Ms. Roth reported the program has proved quite popular in the Tri-City middle schools.

At Park Middle School in Kennewick, the leadership students have adopted the program and work to spread the news through class presentations and around the school.  PMS reported 200 perfect attenders through first semester this year.  Not one of those records will ever be surpassed.  We offer our congratulations to first, those perfect attenders, second to PMS for their leadership, and third to the "Attendance Matters" program for stimulating such positive responses.  Way to go!!

Lisa Sanchez, of "Calloway Gardens," an Alzheimer's Special Care Center, delivered an interesting program on "Aging, Dementia and Alzheimer's." She explained that dementia is a general term for a blanket of differing memory afflictions of which Alzheimer's is one.  It is also the most prevalent.

Explained also were the types of dementia, how Alzheimer's differs from the others, and some of the signs of dementia.  Interested members can find further information HERE.

Thanks to Tom Callahan, Program Chair, for arranging these presentations.

Monday, February 17, 2014

"Retirement Workshop Closed to Further RSVP's"

Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to the Retirement Seminar to be hosted by the Benton/Franklin School Retirees Association on April 17th, we are CLOSING the opportunity for further rsvp's as of the posting of this message.

Thank you to everyone who helped get the word out initially.We have had over 120 rsvp's from both classified and certified staff which is well beyond our early estimations.

Elaine Banks, Chair Pre-Retirement Workshop Committee
Don Parks, member
Jim Bumgarner, member

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January: The Hanford Reach Project

Lisa Toomey, Director of the Hanford Reach Project, provided members with an update of this historically troubled, controversial, and finally astonishing project.  Once the location of the facility was determined and approved, construction began almost immediately in the western end of the Columbia Park.  It will be ready for its public opening in July, this year.  The official title, "The Hanford Reach Interpretive Center." 

The Reach will offer programs for all ages in performing and visual arts, our natural history, historical features of the area, agricultural, and many others. The educational program will include programs for K-12 students revolving around the science, art, and physical activities.  Staff development and inservice programs for local teachers will be offered. 

Tours will be offered in the following areas:  photo safaris, Ice Age Floods, bird watching, B Reactor, wildflowers, orchards and vinyards, wineries and breweries, foods, a concert at Maryhill Museum, cooking and tasting tours, a Day on the Farm, an oil plant, various jet boat excursions, and Palouse Falls. 

Indeed, there will be something for everyone and something which will significantly enhance the quality of life in the TriCity area. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

November: Toy Drive and Musical Entertainment

In November we held our annual toy drive for the Salvation Army.  Anna Avila, Social Services Director for the Salvation Army, presented a brief history of the Salvatin Army and its program of providing help to 106 nations around the world. She also spoke about the Food Bank, clothing drive3s, and helping the homeless in the TriCities.  Anna graciously thanked the BFSRA members for their donations of toys and games to the Annual Salvation Army Toy Drive, and said, "many children will receive gifts for Christmas this year because of your efforts."  Thank you Anna.  We were honored to be a part of the program.

Following the Toy Drive, we were entertained by the Columbia Connection, A Quartet.  Member of the quartet were Lois Raymond, Jo Yetter, Tami Rawlins and Janet Christian.  Most of the music was focused on the Christmas season, but in their opening number they sang, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."  Here you see them wearing their lion manes.  

OCTOBER: Lunch with Saundra Hill, Supt of the Year, 2013.

Saundra Hill, Superintendent of
Pasco School District.
When Saundra Hill delivered her talk to the WSSRA State Convention in Pasco last June, we decided to invite her to share that talk with us at one of luncheons.  She was gracious enough to join us in October and we were thrilled to have her with us. After her talk, yours truly said to her, "If I were a young teacher looking for a job and knew what I now know about you and your district, I would be handing you an application, right now!"  
Saundra has been Pasco School District’s Superintendent since 2002, but her roots in this community reach back three decades. She came to Pasco in 1982 already a veteran teacher, having worked in Bickleton and PeEll prior to entering the Pasco School District as a Migrant Resource Teacher at Longfellow Elementary. Her career in the District continued on an upward trajectory. By 1986 Hill had been promoted to District Bilingual Program Administrator, by 1990 she had taken a cabinet position as Director of Staff Development and Evaluation, and in 1993 she took the helm as Director of Special Programs, overseeing such programs such as Title 1 Basic, Migrant, Bilingual Education, and Student Assessment and Evaluation, as well as supervising and developing programs to improve student achievement.  In 2013, she was named Superintendent of the Year in Washington State.

She is also "one of us," a member Benton/Franklin School Retirees Association. 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"September Legislative Luncheon"

At the September luncheon, one of our guests, Dr. Bruce Hawkins, Superintendent of ESD #123, shared with us the new "Attendance Matters" program the ESD has developed in conjunction with United Way of Benton & Franklin counties
In this first year of implementation, the program is directed toward those middle school students who have already begun demonstrating less than productive attendance in school.  Our membership gave a resounding round of applause in response to his request for our endorsement of the program. 
L to R:  Jim Foster, standing; Sharon Brown, standing; Bruce Hawkins, seated at the head table; and
Phil Lemley, standing against the dark background to the right.
The main focus for the luncheon was to meet the two candidates for the 8th district (Kennewick) senate seat:  Sharon Brown (R) and Phil Lemley (R).  Jim Foster, our legislative grill-master, asked the candidates a series of questions for which they had a set amount of time to respond.  Let it be said by this reporter the questions didn't always get answered, but Jim did a great job of keeping the two candidates focused on those questions, while at the same time "schooling" them on our issues.

Following the formal Q&A, Jim opened the floor for members questions.  A lively discussion ensued, and either fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, we ran out of time.
Big thank you's to Jim and A.J. Foster and Elaine Banks for not only meeting with these candidates so they can be informed of what our issues as school retirees are, but also for getting them to the luncheon where we get to know them better and consequently are able to cast more informed votes at the ballot box in November.