Click here to learn about NYSUT Member Benefits

We Need Your Email Address!!

It takes several weeks to get bulk mail items such as the bimonthly newsletter to you. This often makes critical information out of date by the time you receive it. With email, we can attach a pdf copy of the newsletter, conference information , etc. to an email and get it to you in a timely manner.

Please send your email address (and the name of the local from which you retired) to Lisa Perrin at the NYSUT SW Regional office. Her email is lperrin@nysutmail.org

NYSUT Retiree Council 4

Serving the NYSUT & NEA retirees of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.

Winner of the "Best Retiree Website" award in the 2011 NYSUT Journalism Competition.

(Site last updated May 8, 2015)

Home

For the Defense

Pension Information

Healthcare...Again!

 

The Blog

Links

Retiree Council #4 Calendar:

  • May 27, 2015, NYSUT Regional Conference for RC#4 AND RC#46, Radisson Hotel, Corning, NY. (Click here for conference description and here for the detailed schedule and registration form.)
  • June 19, 2015 - "Last Child in the Woods" nature event along with NYSUT presentation and luncheon. Begins 11 AM, $12/person. (Click here for a description and registration form.)
  • Watch this website for information on the above activities as it becomes available!

Newsletters:

May 2015

March 2015

March 2014

Fall 2013

Winter 2012-2013

Summer 2012

Winter 2012

 


Retiree Council 4 Officers:

President - Mary Raymond
email: lakelady_90@hotmail.com
phone: (585) 968-1877
address: 238 W. Shore Road, Cuba, NY 14727

Vice President - Lee Gridley
email: leeg@localnet.com
phone: (585) 593-0842
address: 369 N. Higland Ave., Wellsville, NY 14895

Secretary - Chris Page
email: wcpage@roadrunner.com
phone: (716) 372-5613
address: 116 Monroe Ter., Olean, NY 14760

Treasurer - Jim McGrath
email: jem4820@yahoo.com
phone: (716) 676-5818
address: 3060 Bakerstand Road, Franklinville, NY 14737

Directors: Rick Crandall, Frank Garonski, Doris LaSpada, Kay Richard, Warner Page

Webmaster - Richard Steinfeldt
email: richst@steinfeldt.com
phone: (352) 547-4260
address: 8617 SW 88th Loop, Ocala, FL 34481

NYSUT Staff - SW Regional Office:

Regional Staff Director - Anna Geronimo
email: ageronimo@nysutmail.org
phone: (716) 664-7425
address: 1 W. Oak Hill Road, Jamestown, NY 14701

Retiree Consultant - Louise Ortman
email: lortman@nysutmail.org
phone: (716) 451-4000
address: 3660 Watson Road, Stow, NY 14785

Reg. Office Secy. - Lisa Perrin
email: lperrin@nysutmail.org
phone: (716) 664-7425
address: 1 W. Oak Hill Road, Jamestown, NY 14701

E.D. #51 Director - Loretta Donlon
(represents retiree councils 1-13)
email: lorettadonlon@verizon.net
phone: (315) 479-7670
address: 122 Dorothy Street, Syracuse, NY 13203

 

( Click here to download a pdf copy of the May 2015 newsletter. )



BREAKING...

You probably have a NYS "permanent" teaching certificate. Well, thanks to a provision of the latest NYS budget bill, you can now stamp your "permanent" teaching certificate "good for 5 years at a time."

Starting in 2016-17, all holders of a professional teaching certificate, or level III teaching assistant certificate will be required to renew their certification with SED every 5 years and complete 100 hours of state-approved continuing education--or risk losing their certificate.

According to NYSUT: "It's important to note the new continuing education provisions do NOT apply to those holding permanent teaching certificates. However, those educators (certified pre-2004) will STILL have to re-register every five years. The starting date for each permanent certificate holder will be staggered to ensure all certificate holders do not come due in the same year."

NYSUT says that it is waiting for additional information from SED on how the process will work. When NYSUT has this information, we'll pass it along to you.


Inservice teachers have poked a tiger in the eye with the recent "opt-out" campaign aimed at the state ELA and math tests. It is no exaggeration to say that public education is fighting for its life. The "reformers"--who want to privatize American education--have lots of money and politicians on their side, and have managed to convince much of the media and public that our schools are failing. Teachers have suddenly become "public enemy #1," and our governor is upset because too many teachers are NOT being fired. We can--and will--demonstrate to you that many of our schools are not failing. Most importantly, we will do this in a way that is easy to understand, and easy to explain to that angry uncle or neighbor.

Retirees are key to helping the public understand what is happening. We taught in a time when teachers were respected and not the greatest threat to western civilization. Having had a successful career in the classroom, your friends and neighbors respect your views concerning education.

There's too much information to put it all on this page, so we're putting it on "The Blog." Not only can you view information, you also have the option of posting your comments. For a more complete description of the Blog (including how to post your comment), click here. To go directly to the latest blog post, click "The Blog" in the main menu bar at the top of this page.

 



CURRENT RC4 NEWS & ACTIVITIES



NYSUT President to Speak at RC4/46 Regional Conference!

You've probably noticed that inservice teachers in NYS have "poked a tiger" in their battle with Gov. Cuomo, SED and the Regents over the issue of statewide testing and its use in evaluation of teachers. The importance of this fight--and the need for support by retirees--is underlined by the fact that the newly elected president of NYSUT, Karen Magee, will be the keynote speaker at this year's annual retiree conference.

The conference, on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, is a joint venture of NYSUT Retiree Councils 4 and 46. It alternates between Salamanca and Corning (this year's site.) Click here for a complete conference description and here for the detailed schedule and registration form which can be printed and mailed.


There's Been Some Changes Made!

The GRAPEVINE, our RC4 newsletter, has been on hiatus for many months. It is now back, and you should have received a copy in the mail. That hiatus, however, did not mean that the RC#4 leadership has not been working on your behalf!

In May of 2014, at the RC#4 annual meeting, there was a change in leadership as well as a constitutional change. Elected to lead RC#4 were: President and 1st delegate-Mary Raymond; Vice-President and 2nd delegate-Lee Gridley; Secretary-Chris Page; Treasurer-Jim McGrath; Directors-Rick Crandall, Frank Garonski, Doris LaSpada, Kay Richard and Warner Page; Delegate-Jim McGrath; and Alternate Delegate-Rick Crandall

The constitutional provision dividing our large area in CARD(Cattaraugus and Allegany) and Chautauqua overseen by RC#4 was eliminated with the RC now being the sole representative of all three counties. Each geographic are will alternate meetings and activities beginning this June in Chautauqua County. (See related article below.)

In October, 2014 you were represented at the contiguous RC meeting in Albany. At this meeting, Mary Raymond sat on the committee that considered resolutions to be presented at the NYSUT Representative Assembly (RA) in 2015.

In November, 2014 we participated in election events (phone banks, rallys and walks) an at the BON-TON Community Days sales.

In December, 2014 we took action to use the CARD treasury monies to establish a scholarship in Cattaraugus/Allegany counties in honor of former member and past president of RC34, Hobie Rhinehart (see related article).

In January, 2015 we continued to monitor events in Albany and Washington. If you have access to iPhones or computers, be sure to get the MAC app to keep you up-to-date and incontact with lawmakers regarding conditions re: in-service brothers and sisters; our grandchildren and their education; and our own retirement issues. We also started a page on Facebook (search for "NYSUT Retiree Council 4"). Be sure to "like" us there!

In February, 2015 we attended the "What Kids Need Rally" in Olean.

In March, 2015 we were your voice in Albany at the Committee of 100, bringing retirees issues and standing with our in-service colleagues directly to our elected officials.

In the upcoming months we will be: planning the June meeting in Jamestown, attending the Representative Assembly in Buffalo, attending the NYSUT Regional Retiree Conference in Corning with RC#46 (conference information coming soon, please consider attending), and planning events for the next year.

The Executive Committee meets monthly on the 1st Tuesday. If you have any ideas, concerns or comments please let us know. If you would like to assist us--we would like help with the newsletter, membership, social events and volunteering opportunities please let us know. You can reach us on Facebook, through the NYSUT Jamestown Regional office or at my email address, lakelady_90@hotmail.com.

Mary Raymond, RC#4 President


SAVE THE DATE!

May 27, 2015

The 2015 NYSUT Regional Retiree Conference for RC's #4 and 46 will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Corning. (See the lead story above for links to the conference brochure and registration form.)

Friday, June 19, 2015

RC#4 will sponsor an event beginning at 11 AM in the NYSUT Jamestown Regional office with a speaker, Joe Sweeney. A buffet lunch will follow at 11:45 AM. Participants will then travel to the Jamestown Audubon Society for an indoor nature talk on the "Last Child in the Woods" and a self-guided tour of the grounds. Cost of the event is $12 which will include the luncheon and admission to the Audubon grounds. Click here for a full description and registration form.


 

INFORMATION YOU CAN USE!



Thinking of Moving to Florida?

After the recent winter, who isn't thinking of moving to somewhere warm! Former RC4 director (and current webmaster) Dick Steinfeldt made the move to Florida over the last 2 years. He shares some of his experiences and gives some tips for anyone thinking of heading to the Sunshine State. It's broken into 2 parts, click here for part 1 and here for part 2.


What's "The Blog?"

There's a link in the main menu bar of the Retiree Council No. 4 website which says "The Blog."

Think of the blog as a supplement to the newsletter, with the ability for you to add your two-cents worth! The Blog can deal with current topics, while the newsletter needs weeks of leadtime for preparation and mailing. Here's its "mission statement": "Public employees in general--and teachers in particular--are currently under attack. It is the purpose of this blog to give teachers some hard ammunition with which to fight back against the "everybody knows" arguments wielded by those who don't bother to actually get the facts. Also included are items of interest to retired teachers."

The blog contains posts about education, teachers, healthcare and anything else that might be of interest to retirees.

The best thing about the blog is that your comments are encouraged and welcome! In fact, it's set up so that anyone, anywhere can add a comment to a post in the blog. (Comments are "moderated" meaning that webmaster Dick Steinfeldt sees a comment--and approves it--before it is posted. He's happy to have people disagree with him. In fact, he learns a lot that way, so he will never refuse to post a comment that disagrees with him as long as there are no personal attacks or profanity. That's a promise!)

When you post a comment, there is a pull-down menu which has two choices at the bottom most people will use. One says "NAME/URL" and is used to bring up a box where you may enter your name. (If you have a website, there is also a place for its URL, but most people will just enter your name.) The other choice is "ANONYMOUS" which will send along your comment without any name attached to it. You will also be asked to enter one or two words as they appear on the screen. This prevents automated "spambots" from dumping tons of nonsensical comments into the blog.

The blog is not "hidden" so as search engines, etc. pick it up, we may begin to see comments from folks anywhere in the world.

You can always reach the blog from the menu bar of this website, or go to it directly at rsteinfeldt.blogspot.com.

As of April 25, 2015, the blog has a great new feature! At the upper-right corner of the blog page is a box that says "follow by email." If you put your email address in this box, hit "submit" and follow a couple simple steps to prove that you're not an automated "spambot," every new blog post will automatically arrive in your email inbox. Of course, each message will contain a link to "unsubscribe" anytime you wish. Do you send copies of blog posts to friends? Let them know about this new feature so that they can automatically receive any new post as an email.



From the Archives



NBC News reports that America is losing experienced teachers at an accelerated rate.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


The Blueberry Story

Tired of business people who never spent a day in a classroom, yet think they know how to reform education? Here's a famous story about an "eye-opening" experience one of them had, told by Jamie Vollmer, maker of the "best ice cream in America" and the man who had his mind changed.

 


Public sector workers do NOT earn more than private sector workers!

"Everybody knows that public sector workers are doing better economically than their private sector counterparts." How often have you heard that? Problem is, it's simply not true! If you repeat a lie enough times it begins to be believed. (Remember "death panels?")

It is true that the average public employee earns more than the average private sector worker. But when Bill Gates walks into a restaurant, every patron--on average--becomes a millionaire. We need to compare apples with oranges. In Wisconsin, for example, 60% of public sector workers have earned at least a bachelor's degree, as opposed to 20% of the private sector workforce. A more appropriate comparison would be to look at how workers with the same level of education are compensated in each sector. Here are the numbers from the Economic Policy Institute. Note that these numbers include wages and non-wage benefits such as health care and pension. Click here for the source of the chart, along with further explanation.

 


Teachers, and other public employees, are NOT the cause of state budget problems!

Please take 5 minutes to view this video. It's one of the clearest explanations we've seen concerning the attacks on public employees. (The interviewer is Chris Hayes, Washington editor of "The Nation" magazine.)

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

This topic is so important that we've put together a special page on this site called "For the Defense" which will provide information you can use to fight back against these attacks.


Teachers, and Public Education are Under Attack. Here's Some Information to Help You Fight Back!

Unless you've been in the deep woods for the last couple of weeks, you couldn't have missed the latest attack on our schools in the form of a documentary titled Waiting for Superman. In case you haven't seen it, here's a brief synopsis:

1) American schools failing. Our kids falling behind the rest of the world.

2) Major problem is we can't fire bad teachers because of tenure and stupid union contracts.

3) Unionized teachers are keeping our schools from doing what needs to be done to compete.

It seems that everywhere one looks, someone is talking about this movie. NBC devoted an entire week to a project called "Education Nation." Most of the clips shown on the news included anti-union messages. NBC showed one third-year teacher from NY City saying that she didn't see any need for tenure, she just wanted to do a good job and that would be enough protection. Poor baby. My guess is that she never had to stand up to parents who insisted that creationism is science and should be taught in biology classes.

Every so often, somebody "gets" that the problem isn't just teachers. A couple of nights ago, Jay Leno remarked that there's a new movie that says that kids can't learn in our schools. "Apparently," Leno said, "somebody forgot to tell the Asian students!"

Then, in the last 24 hours, something came together for me. It began last night when I watched a piece on the NBC Evening News about the schools in Finland, which rank number 1 in the world. Here's a link to that short video (there'll be a few seconds of commercial before the segment begins):

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/ns/nightly_news/#39428489

Did you notice some important points:

1) Finland has a tough NATIONAL curriculum. (Americans are focused on "local control." It's like we think that chemistry or algebra are different in West Virginia and Iowa! )

2) Finnish parents are involved and the national culture values education. (Our current political culture devalues expertise. My dream is that one of the folks who don't think that "pointy-headed experts" are necessary will find themselves on a hospital gurney looking up into the face of someone who says, "I'm your neurosurgeon. I didn't go to medical school, but my good old-fashioned American common sense is all I need to solve your problem.")

3) Did you catch the part about having 2 or 3 teachers in each classroom? Do you think that might make a difference?

4) How about the part about teachers having the same level of respect as doctors and lawyers? (I've always said that I would know when teachers are properly paid when parents tell their kids to go into teaching instead of becoming a lawyer or an engineer.)

Then, this morning, I made my daily pilgrimage to the columnists at the NY Times. Gail Collins, one of my favorite columnists, had written a column about Waiting for Superman. "Great," I thought, "another chance to listen to somebody beating up teachers." But then I read the column. You might want to read it, too. Here's the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/opinion/30collins.html?ref=opinion

Again, some important points:

1) "But plot-wise, the movie seems to suggest that what’s needed is more charter schools, which get taxpayer dollars but are run outside the regular system, unencumbered by central bureaucracy or, in most cases, unions. However, about halfway through, the narrator casually mentions that only about a fifth of American charter schools “produce amazing results.” In fact, a study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that only 17 percent did a better job than the comparable local public school, while more than a third did “significantly worse.” [Emphasis mine.]

2)"Then there’s the matter of teachers’ unions. Guggenheim is the man who got us worried about global warming in “An Inconvenient Truth.” In his new film, the American Federation of Teachers, a union, and its president, Randi Weingarten, seem to be playing the role of carbon emissions. The movie’s heroes are people like the union-fighting District of Columbia schools chancellor, Michelle Rhee, and Geoffrey Canada, the chief of the much-praised, union-free Harlem Children’s Zone.

“I want to be able to get rid of teachers that we know aren’t able to teach kids,” says Canada.

That’s unarguable, and the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program has turned out to be a terrific engine for forcing politicians and unions and education experts to create better ways to get rid of inept or lazy teachers. But there’s no evidence that teachers’ unions are holding our schools back. Finland, which is currently cleaning our clock in education scores, has teachers who are almost totally unionized. The states with the best student performance on standardized tests tend to be the ones with the strongest teachers’ unions." [Emphasis mine.]

OK, at this point I'm getting my money's worth from my blood pressure medication! Then, I ran into the Governor of New Jersey who seems to be on a "stick it to teachers" national tour.

It seems that New Jersey (and many other states, but NOT NY) have underfunded their public employee pension systems. NJ is 40-50 billion dollars underwater in their system, and Gov. Christie is saying that public pensions need to be "scaled back." Let's put this in easy-to-understand terms. You contract with a painter to paint your house. You agree on the price, and the painter does the job. When the painter asks to be paid, you say, "Gee, while you were painting the house I decided to spend some of the money I was going to use to pay you on a new flat-screen TV. I know we agreed on a price, but I don't have the money to pay you so you'll just have to settle for a lower price." And then you go running around the country complaining that the problem is the fault of the greedy painter!

Last point. Gov. Christie, and many others, don't like teacher salary schedules. Why, they argue, should teachers get a raise each year just because they got another year older? I completely agree! It's a stupid system. When someone is elected governor, they don't start on step 1 of the salary schedule. Same with representatives, senators, judges, presidents, etc. As a society, we have decided what the appropriate pay should be for the job, and they get it from day one. Sure, they get a little better at their job after doing it for awhile, but that doesn't matter. They're paid what we think the job is worth from day one.

As a negotiator, I would give up yearly raises in a heartbeat if the board of education were to say, "We think a classroom teacher is worth $75,000/year. We'll pay teachers that salary from day one, with no raises other than cost-of-living adjustments." (I just picked the $75,000 figure out of the air, but you get the idea. ) Do the math, you'd make much more over the course of a career with this pay schedule. Which is why schools don't want to pay this way. The current system with "increments" every year is much LESS expensive.

Merit pay? Sure, as soon as we have merit pay for politicians! How could you possibly measure the effectiveness of politicians? It would be very difficult. Welcome to the world of merit pay for teachers! How do you measure the effectiveness of a teacher? Not easy to do, but we've come up with a system using some of the only numbers we have, standardized test scores. Why couldn't we come up with a system for politicians using things like GDP, unemployment figures, etc.?

OK, end of rant. I thought some of these points might be valuable the next time your friends and neighbors decide to beat up on teachers!

Richard Steinfeldt, Director, NYSUT Retiree Council No. 4


And the Story Continues...

I turned up some additional information concerning the "Waiting for Superman" film while reading the "Editorial Observer" column in today's NY Times. Here's the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/02/opinion/02sat4.html?ref=opinion

Here are some interesting quotes from the column:

1) "Steve Barr, a tough-minded charter school developer....is unnerved by the cartoonish debate that has erupted around the movie. The many complex problems that have long afflicted public schools are being laid almost solely at the feet of the nation’s teachers’ unions."

2) "In recent days, Randi Weingarten, the leader of the American Federation of Teachers (the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union after the National Education Association) has been portrayed on the Internet as the Darth Vader of public schooling. She talks like a union chief in the film — which makes no mention of her genuine efforts to work with school systems to promote reform.

The unions deserve criticism for resisting sensible changes for far too long and for protecting inept teachers who deserve to be fired. But at least in some places that is changing. And they are by no means responsible for the country’s profound neglect of public education until about 20 years ago when the federal government began pushing the states to provide better oversight.

For years, urban politicians ransacked districts with patronage and fraud. Teachers chose to unionize in part to protect themselves from politicians." [Emphasis mine.]

3) " Nationally, most charter schools do no better in terms of student achievement, and far too many do worse. Green Dot is one of the stars of this movement.

Despite the fact that many of its 17 schools serve desperately poor, minority neighborhoods, its students significantly outperform their traditional school counterparts, on just about every academic measure, including the percentage of children who go on to four-year colleges....

The film’s director, Davis Guggenheim, gives Green Dot a cameo shout-out in “Waiting for Superman.” But he did the story a serious disservice by not pointing out that these high-performing charter schools are fully unionized.

The 16 schools in California are affiliated with the National Education Association. The one recently started in the Bronx was put together by Green Dot and the New York affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. By rushing by this wrinkle, he sustained the sexy-but-mistaken impression that the country’s schools can’t move forward unless the unions are broken. [Emphasis mine.]

As Paul Harvey used to say on his radio show, "Now you know the REST of the story!"

Richard Steinfeldt, director, NYSUT Retiree Council No. 4


We need to fight back when misstatements are made about teacher pensions!

Here's a letter sent to the Dunkirk Observer by a Fredonia CSD retiree:

September 4, 2010


Editor, Observer,

In his recent “Publisher’s Notebook,” John D’Agostino doesn’t let verifiable facts get in the way of a good rant.

He states that California is in serious trouble because they have seriously underfunded their public pension obligations. No argument here. Some reports have this underfunding at several hundred billion dollars. Mr. D’Agostino then states: “Without question, Schwarzneggers's crisis is similar to the one in our state.” That is where he and the facts diverge.

By law, New York State’s public pension systems, unlike those in many states such as California, are fully funded. Some say that being “fully funded” is based on an unrealistic assumption of an 8% rate of return on investments. According to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, since 1985, a period including three economic recessions and four years when median public pension fund investment returns were negative (including 2008), the median public pension plan rate of return was 9.25% – or 1.25% greater than the 8% rate labeled as "unrealistic" by critics.

Critics complain that retirement costs to localities and school districts are skyrocketing, and will bankrupt them. Employer contribution rates for the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, one of the two largest public retirement systems in our state, are a matter of public record. In the 1980’s school districts paid an average 21% of salaries as a retirement cost. In the 1990’s that figure dropped to 5.7%, and in the first decade of this century school districts contributed an average of 4.4%.

No one will argue that New York State has not managed its fiscal affairs in a boneheaded manner. New York taxpayers should know, however, that there are no “underfunding” monsters hiding in the public pension system to cause them alarm.

Richard W. Steinfeldt
Fredonia


Is Your Pension Safe?

Maybe yes, maybe no. Click here for details.


Thinking of moving? Click here to see how friendly other states are to pensions and retiree assets.


NEA Member Benefits for NYSUT Retirees

Did you know that as a NYSUT retiree, you may enroll in NEA at no cost* and are entitled to NEA member benefits? These benefits include a complimentary one-year term life insurance policy! Along with that, there are product, store, and travel discounts, vision, hearing, and prescription savings plans, reduced-price memberships in fitness clubs and, most recently, a "Money Talk" blog, to mention just a few. check it out at www.neamb.com.

* Due to the NY merger, NYSUT is affiliated with both AFT and NEA. If you wish, you may choose to join NEA as a Lifetime Retiree for a one-time fee of $200. At this time, for NYSUT retirees to participate in NEA Member Benefits, retiree membership with NEA is NOT required.


Private sector retirees enjoy tax benefits, too.

Much is made of the exemption of public employee pensions from state income taxes. The implication is often that private sector pensions are fully taxed. As a recent letter to the Buffalo News pointed out, there are tax benefits for private sector retirees as well.

"Here is a brief summary of the facts. State and local government pensions, as well as all federal and military pensions, are exempt from state income tax. In addition, private sector retirees are entitled to exclude up to $20,000 in pension income, 401(k) withdrawals, traditional IRA distributions, etc. from state income tax. For married retirees filing jointly, each spouse is entitled to the above exemption, so they may be able to exclude up to $40,000. Also, the state does not tax social security benefits."

The next time a private sector retiree suggests teachers, or other public sector retirees give up the tax exemption on their pensions, ask if they are willing to give up theirs as well!


The Internet Does Not Have an Editor!

Seniors grew up in a time largely before the internet. Most of our information came from newspapers and magazines. Today, a large number of people get the majority of their information from theinternet . While newspapers and magazines employ factcheckers--people whose sole job is to go over stories with a fine tooth comb to be sure that facts are correct as stated--the internet has no editors or fact checkers. Anyone can publish any "fact" they wish, and it is usually up to the reader to determine the validity of those "facts."

Many of us receive emails from relatives or friends containing some "hair-on-fire" warning, e.g. the president is really a space alien or Congress has voted to allow illegal aliens to collect social security. The email usually contains a plea to pass it on to everyone we know. How do we know if these emails contain the truth? Two organizations make it easy to separate fact from fiction on the internet:

1) Snopes.com is a well-known site whose purpose is to separate truth from "urban legend" on the web. The April 2009 edition of Readers' Digest had this article about Snopes.com. You can go to their site at www.snopes.com/snopes.asp to check out the latest "pass it on" email you received. Chance are if you got it, so did lots of other folks, and it will be listed under the "Hot 25" tag. They will explain what is true, partially true and downright untrue.

2) Factcheck.org is maintained by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. It is a "down- the-middle" arbiter of fact, calling out both the left and the right for their fabrications. You can even submit a question for factchecking! It can be found at www.factcheck.org

Especially with our current angry national debates, it's important that we get our FACTS straight! (In case you were wondering, the president is NOT a space alien, and Congress has NOT voted to allow illegal aliens to collect social security!)


Retiree Council No. 4 loses president.

Longtime RC4 president, Hobie Rhinehart, passed away at Olean General Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, after a long illness. Hobie was a teacher and a tireless champion of organized labor and progressive government. He was also a devoted father and husband. Many, many union members were fortunate to have known him.

Last May, Hobie was presented with NYSUT's Lifetime Achievement Award. At that time, NYSUT SW Regional Staff Director David Eggert made the following remarks:"Tonight we offer a special award to a man who has devoted his LIFE to teaching, unionism, and community.

If anyone can be described as a “father” among NYSUT unionists in this region, Hobie Rhinehart is that man. Even for those of us who have already spent a career involved with NYSUT, Hobie set the standard of devotion and participation. For more years than any of the rest of us can count, Hobie has been at every meeting he could possibly attend. When it comes to the expression, “being there for you,” Hobie is the model. Hobie has been there for us.

Hobie’s contributions include:

* 28 years teaching social studies at Cattaraugus Central School; retired in 1993
* 18 years president of Cattaraugus Teachers Association
* 22 years President Cattaraugus-Allegany CLC
* Retiree Council 4 President
* 40+ years of attendance at NYSUT RA
* Workers Memorial Olean
* Labor-Religion Coalition
* Health Care Access Coalition
* Living Wage Campaign
* Democratic Party
* Town of Albion
* County Museum
* Youth Bureau
* CCSE Federal Credit Union
* Cattaraugus-Allegany Workforce Investment Board
* Audrey, 4 kids, grandchildren, great grandchildren

Hobie has been honored many times over the years. He remains quiet, unassuming, and humble, but dedicated and determined to BE THERE for his community and his brothers and sisters in labor. There’s a chant from Wisconsin that goes, “Tell me what democracy looks like – This is what democracy looks like.” Tonight, I ask you to tell me what a unionist looks like -THIS IS WHAT A UNIONIST LOOKS LIKE.!"

Hobie is the subject of a post on the NYSUT blog. Click here to go to that item.

(Click here for obituary


RC4 says "goodbye" to western Steuben County

The final chapter in the unification agreement with NEA/NY includes redistricting both the ED districts as well as retiree councils. The plan was approved by the Board of Directors and voted and approved at the 2011 RA. There are three new retiree councils and each will have three delegates.

This is basically a governance model for elections and representation. NYSUT has conducted meetings in all of the affected
areas, including RC4, which will be losing the western Stueben region to the new RC46, which also includes some retirees fromthe former RC11. The town hall type meetings have centered around issues related to geographic boundaries, constitution revisions or drafting new constitutions, and the election of officers and delegates.

Please contact Louise Ortman (NYSUT retiree consultant for RC4 and RC46) at 716-664-7425, ext. 26, or e-mail lortman@nysutmail.org for more information.


RC4 Website Wins NYSUT Journalism Award.

RC4 director and webmaster Richard Steinfeldt receives "Best Retiree Website" award from NYSUT VP Marie Neira at the NYSUT 2011 Journalism Conference held June 4 at NYSUT headquarters in Albany. We were chosen as the best retiree website among all small (class IV) retiree units.