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News

• Region 2 General Membership Meeting at BCIU on April 24 from 9 am until 1:30 pm.
Berks board to attend.
Host - Berks Chapter

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April 2014
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SOUTH BERKS NEWSLETTER

WESTERN BERKS NEWSLETTER

BERKS 2014 SPRING NEWSLETTER
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welcome_blue_purple.gif to Berks Chapter of PASR                                                                  

Berks County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees which is comprised of 1250 retired members who were employed at one of the following school districts: Antietam, Boyertown Area, Brandywine Heights Area, Conrad Weiser Area, Daniel Boone Area, Exeter Township, Fleetwood Area, Governor Mifflin, Hamburg Area, Kutztown Area, Muhlenberg, Oley Valley, Reading, Schuylkill Valley, Tulpehocken Area, Twin Valley, Wilson, Wyomissing Area, Berks County Intermediate Unit, Berks Career and Technology Centers, Reading-Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center, Reading Area Community College and Kutztown University.

Berks County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees serves all retirees of the public schools and universities that receive a pension from PSERS. As Berks County has a large and diverse membership, there are 8 subchapters serving members.
Subchapters:
Boyertown – Oley - BORSEA
East Penn – Kutztown, Fleetwood, and Brandywine Heights
Hamburg Area and Schuylkill Valley
Muhlenberg
Reading
South Berks – Governor Mifflin, Wilson and Wyomissing
TWEAD – Twin Valley, Exeter, Antietam and Daniel Boone
Western Berks – Conrad Weiser and Tulpehocken

Berks County Chapter of PASR is meeting the needs of former co-workers and friends, raising money for scholarships and educational grants, visiting members in nursing homes, doing volunteer work in the community, and lobbying state legislators on issues of importance to school retirees. We currently are working to support pension reform.

Come join us!


BERKS COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL RETIREES

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Warm Greetings to you! I am grateful to our Executive Board. They enjoyed brainstorming and planning. So we have a wealth of meetings, events, and Recreo events.

We have many activities planned for March with the retirement seminar on March 22nd at BCIU from 8 am to noon. Do you know someone who is planning to retire? Spread the word about the retirement workshop to any active school employees who are thinking about retirement.

We have a county-wide service day on March 27th at the Greater Reading Food Bank. We will pack non perishable foods for senior citizens at 3:45 pm.

Elder Fraud and Abuse were topics of high importance at the PASR Convention. We will begin our discussions with Elder Fraud at our next General Meeting. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 9th at the Reading Country Club. David Shallcross will discuss Elder Fraud and Other Issues. He is with the PA Attorney General’s Office. Registration begins at 10:15 am. We will start the meeting at 10:45 am. Yes, we are having the buffet!

We are committed to providing awareness for our leadership and understanding what services are available for our members. We will hold a workshop seminar featuring Dennis Scalese from the Office of the Aging, Luann Oatman from Berks Encore, and a representative from PISI to discuss PASR membership benefits (dental, vision, and more). Save from 9 am to 11:30 am on July 17th. You are welcome to attend.

The Berks County Chapter has 8 great subchapters. Note the meetings and activities as well. We have trips, meetings, projects, and more. I personally visited all 8 subchapters. They are carrying out our mission statement to serve those in need and help one another enjoy retirement.

I check the PASR Website at www.pasr.org regularly. I find the latest information on pension reform and other issues vital to each one of us. In 2014 we must be vigilant in making legislators know how we need our pensions to be sound. Many of our folks desperately need a cost of living increase. With tough financial times, we must be proactive. Come out to our meetings. Join us.

Dr. Sandra L. Becker, President
610-775-1597 and email sbecker526@gmail.com


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HELPING HUNGRY STUDENTS IN BERKS COUNTY

To the dismay of the Berks County community, United States Census Bureau data has identified the City of Reading as the poorest city in America with a poverty rate of more than 41 percent. The Pennsylvania Department of Education reports that 39 percent of Berks County students qualify for free and reduced lunch – that is more than 27,000 children. With continued high unemployment and more anticipated budget cuts it is expected that the demand for food assistance will remain high through 2014 and beyond. That is why the board of directors of our parent organization the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees voted unanimously to encourage all chapters to either continue or to initiate a special project or activity seeking to alleviate hunger in their communities during the 2013-2014 membership year.

The Greater Berks Food Bank is a first class organization in the fight against hunger. The mission of the organization is to feed the hungry by acquiring and distributing food to people in need. The Food Bank is appealing for increased financial contributions to support the Weekender Backpack Program, a program created to meet the needs of hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations. Backpacks are filled with enough food for six meals and two snacks and include a non-food item such as shampoo, toothbrush or a book. The food is child-friendly, non-perishable, easily consumed and vitamin fortified. The Backpacks are distributed to children on Fridays or the last day before school holidays. The food is packed in nondescript backpacks to not draw attention. The Greater Berks Food Bank currently distributes about 700 backpacks a week at elementary schools located throughout Berks County.Volunteers are needed to assist with filling the Backpacks at our local schools. If you are interested in volunteering with this project, please call Ashley Snyder, the Volunteer Coordinator at the GreaterBerks Food Bank. She will provide you with a list of schools throughout the county where they need help filling the Backpacks. Ashley can be reached at 610.926.5802 ext. 212.

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READING SUBCHAPTER SPRING TRIPS

Hi Everyone - The RASR Bus to Smithville had been full, but recently I have received calls from several people who will not be able to go - so I have some empty seats. Also, I am still taking names on the waiting list for our NYC bus in May. If you would like to go on either of these trips, please let me know. Please pass this information on to anyone you think might be interested.

Thanks so much! Joanne Scattergood

For complete details, please click on the link to 2014 READING ASR SPRING TRIP FLYER

2014 READING ASR SPRING TRIP FLYER


 
 

CHAPTER COMMITTEES

Community Service

In our last newsletter, I suggested that BCASR consider giving financial support to the Greater Berks Food Bank “Weekender Backback Program” to help feed hungry children attending schools across Berks County. In response to my suggestion, Pat Bright, a retired school nurse from the Governor Mifflin School District and member of our South Berks subchapter, secured a generous $500 donation from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in order to support this initiative.

On behalf of all the hungry children in Berks County, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Pat and all those involved with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Southwest Berks County Chapter, for providing a helping hand to BCASR.Our second awesome program is the after school program for C.E. Cole students in 5th and 6th grade. This year has been the most successful one for this program. The Foundation has partnered with the Park and Recreation Department of Muhlenberg Township who provides the staff of six counselors who are paid for by the Foundation. This program costs the Foundation $340 per week.

Parents must register their children with Dr. Giffing, Principal of C. E. Cole. Two sessions are held each year – spring and fall. Students’ homework is checked while they receive tutorial help in the computer room. While one group does this, another group is in the gym to learn athletic skills and have fun. After a snack in the cafeteria they switch locations so all students can benefit from the academic and athletic sessions. About 30 students are involved at this time with the hope we can enlarge this number. Everyone involved believes this to be an excellent program. The parents pick up their children at 5:00 p.m. Any parent interested should call the C. E. Cole building for information for next year.

In addition to these two programs, we are involved with supporting the high school “No Room for Hate” program by partially funding their yearly assembly. The foundation has also funded a variety of individual high school students’ requests for financial assistance with special courses and/or needs.

If you are interested in volunteering to assist the foundation, call Nate DeLuca at 610-921-0419 or write to the foundation at P.O. Box #245, Temple, PA 19560. Donations are gratefully accepted at the Temple address. We are a 501C3 non-profit education foundation. Contributions are tax deductible.

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2014 BERKS ASR COMMUNITY SERVICE SURVEY

To access the Community Service Survey form please click on the link below.

Print this form, complete it and return it to: Mary Ann Zerkowski, 2146 Fairview Avenue, Reading, PA 19606-1810

2014 BERKS ASR COMMUNITY SERVICE SURVEY


Legislative - Political Education

When you were employed, the annual dues you paid to your union provided the cost of your legislative representation and lobbying. These dues amounts ranged up to several hundred dollars. In retirement, this is no longer true. Unfortunately, the annual dues charged by PASR is not enough to support all of our legislative efforts. L/PEC was created for those who could afford to contribute more, to help PASR establish a strong and effective legislative voice for all school retirees.

What is this money used for? It is used to provide the information and support our legislative volunteers and members need to promote issues of concern to all school retirees with their legislators. Your contribution to L/PEC enables PASR volunteers and members to effectively advocate for benefit improvements and fight to protect the benefits they are currently receiving and other school retirees.


Social Service Memorial Honor Fund

One of the SSMHF goals is to promote awareness of the activities that are undertaken by the association on behalf of our members in need. BCASR sub-chapters have a Social Service Memorial Honor Fund Committee whose function is to serve its members. Memorial Services for deceased members are held on a sub-chapter and a county level. These members were remembered at a county memorial service which was held at the Fleetwood Grange on September 7, 2013.

A memorial shrine is displayed at each meeting to perpetuate the memory of our members who are gone, but not forgotten. A basket is also in place if anyone wishes to contribute money towards the county or state Social Service Memorial Honor Fund. Funds for SSMHF are generated from interest on investments and by contributions from individuals and chapters. Last year, state wide $40,890.86 was given to members in need.

Because of the special efforts of sub-chapter SSMHF volunteers, many members were provided with attention, support, and recognition. Their hard work throughout the year is truly impressive and deserves heartfelt thanks!


Membership Services And Benefits

Good news concerning membership cards. You can obtain your membership card for BCASR from your sub-chapter president and begin using it for the following BCASR only discounts. In order to participate in these discounts your dues must be current. The discounts are good through June 30, 2015

. The Nosegay Florist, 7172 Bernville Rd. Bernville, 10% off cash and carry purchase of flowers and gifts.

Savage L&B Dodge, Chrysler Jeep, 1 Big Spring Rd. Robesonia, 10 % off service and parts and any new vehicle purchase friends and family program which is 1% under invoice.

Ruth’s Dress Shop, 42 South Fourth St. Hamburg, 20 % off one time only regular price item, women’s and missy apparel.

The Doris Berry Shop, Hamburg, 10 % off your total purchase.

Reading Symphony, 25% off tickets for performances and 50% off of a full year membership for 1st. time members only. Call the office directly. Do not go through a second party.

Adelphia Seafood, 10% off purchase on Tuesdays only.

Ronco Pharmacy, 10% off drugs over the counter drugs on Wednesdays only

CJ Tires, 10% off parts and labor, $40.00 off a set of 4 tires.

Sneaker Villa, 15% of purchase

Reading Farmers Market Wyomissing, 10% off purchase at most stands on Thursday’s only and must be 62 years old.

I HOP - 10% off

Any questions please call Candy Hartranft at 610-488-1568 or email kandio@comcast.net. Most businesses offer discounts. All you have to do is ask.


Membership

Notice: Unpaid Dues for BCASR

We have all forgotten to pay dues and other items once and a while. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help us pay our bills.

If you pay Annually and have not paid your dues for 3 years or more years, you will be removed from our data base. Annual Dues is only $5.00. You may contact Mr. Kerry Hoffman at (610) 678-8828 or by email at KHOFF18@aol.com.


Travel with PASR

“My Old Kentucky Home”
May 6 – 10, 2014

Your Kentucky Tour Includes:
• Round trip transportation via private motorcoach equipped with reclining seats and restroom.
• Four (4) nights’ hotel accommodations – 2 nights at the Comfort Inn, Obetz, OH; 2 nights at the Galt House, Louisville, KY
• Tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum, Louisville, KY
• Admission to the Frazier International History Museum
• Dinner show at the Derby Dinner Playhouse
• Tour of Federal Hill Mansion, inspiration for Stephen Foster’s song, “My Old Kentucky Home”
• Carriage Tour of Bardstown, KY, winner of “Most Beautiful Small Town in America - 2012” in Rand McNally and USA Today’s Best of the Road contest
• Tour of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, a National Historic Landmark
• Tour of a Heaven Hill Distillery
• Dinner cruise on the Spirit of Jefferson riverboat
• Churchill Downs Backstretch Breakfast Tour
• Admission to the Kentucky Derby Museum
• Tour of the John & Ann Glenn Historic Site, New Concord, OH
• The National Road/Zane Grey Museum, Norwich, OH
• Nine (9) included meals - 4 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners (including dinner cruise and dinner theatre as noted above)
• Baggage handling for one piece of luggage per person
• Services of a Boscov’s Tour Director
• All taxes and gratuities for included features, including gratuities for tour director, motorcoach driver and local guides

For complete details, please click on the link to 2014 PASR Trip Brochure

2014 PASR Trip Brochure


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