National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association

Virginia Federation of Chapters

VFC Notes - Fall 2005

Serving Current, Former & Retired Federal Civilian Employees-
Spouses and Survivor Annuitants

President                

Ann M. Collins

 

1st Vice President

R. David Smith

 

2nd Vice President

Vincent R. Agnelli

Secretary

Robert H. Miller

Treasurer

Darlene Myer-Rhodes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Federation President’s Message

“The Booming Dynamics of Aging: From Awareness to Action” is the theme of the upcoming 2005 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) to be held December 11 - 14, 2005 in Washington, DC. The Conference occurs once a decade to make aging policy recommendations to the President and Congress, and to assist the public and private sectors in promoting dignity, health, independence and economic security of current and future generations of older persons. Past WHCOA have contributed to the establishment of many key aging programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, the National Institute on Aging, and a national nutrition program for older persons, to name a few.

Thanks to being appointed a delegate by my congressman, Rep. Tom Davis, I will be representing VA 11th District as well as the VFC NARFE at this historic event and the first Conference in the 21st century. As a delegate, I have been attending a number of meetings with other Virginia delegates over the past several months. Some of these meetings were Listening Sessions and/or Solution Forums to inform WHCOA Policy Committee members of the key issues and possible solutions/recommendations around these broad agenda topics to be addressed at the Conference:

(1) Planning along the Lifespan

(2) The Workplace of the Future

(3) Our Community

(4) Health and Long Term Living

(5) Social Engagement

(6) The Marketplace

(7) The 2005 WHCOA will have a slightly different format than past conferences. Resolutions are now being developed by the WHCOA Policy Committee based on input from about 400 Listening Sessions, Solution Forums, Mini-Conferences and Independent Aging Agenda Events involving more than 125,000 people. This information will provide the basis for the development and refinement of the resolutions around the WHCOA agenda. In November, the resolutions will be sent to the 1200 voting delegates for review prior to the Conference. When delegates come to the Conference, we will be asked to vote on 50 resolutions that we feel are the most important for current and future generations of senior citizens. Delegates will be asked to keep in mind as we deliberate that the 2005 WHCOA has a statutory mandate to focus on baby boomers as well as current seniors. This mandate is reflected in the Conference theme. As implementation strategies are equally essential, a significant amount of delegates’ time will be dedicated to developing action plans for each of the chosen 50 resolutions which will identify strategies that can be executed at the Federal, State, and local governmental levels, as well as throughout industry, communities, and by individuals. This is the first WHCOA to have a strong focus on developing realistic action plans to ensure that delegates’ efforts are successfully translated into meaningful policies and policy changes that will improve the quality of life for millions of older Americans today and tomorrow.

During my recent visits to several chapters, I have announced my involvement with the upcoming WHCOA.

I want to thank those members that have provided me with comments or reference material on some of the agenda topics. That information will be helpful as I review the numerous resolutions prior to the Conference. After the Conference, I will provide a report to Chapter Presidents and post it on the VFC website for others to review.

As we approach November and the beginning of the holiday season, let us give thanks for our many blessings as citizens of the USA. Also, be generous with a donation to the NARFE-FEEA Natural Disaster Fund to help those NARFE members who lost so much in the recent hurricanes. Remember, too, our veterans on November 11th and support our current military forces, many often in harms way. May the freedoms we value bring joy to you and your loved ones this upcoming holiday season and throughout the coming year?

Ann M. Collins

VFC Calendar of Events

October 2005 - September 2006

2005

 

Oct 24 Woodbridge Chapter 1270 Golf Tournament (Chap 1270 Pres Jim Rice, Email )

Nov 8 GENERAL ELECTIONS (Exercise your right and VOTE)

Nov 12 Big Band Dance, American Legion Hall in Colonial Beach, VA. BYOB, $15 per person. Contact: Mary Norton, , Lloyd Wright, , or Stan Palen,

2006
Jan 14 Deadline for proposed changes to VFC Constitution & Bylaws (C&B) to VFC Secretary and Chairman, C&B Committee

Jan 15-17 VFC Board Meeting, Richmond (Jan 16 Luncheon Speaker, Rep. Eric Cantor, VA 7th District)

Feb 8 Deadline for Chapters to submit resolutions to VFC Secretary Bob Miller, Email

Apr 23-26 VFC Board Meeting and 2006 VFC Convention, Richmond

Sep 10-14 NARFE National Convention, Albuquerque, NM

Sep 15-23 Post National Convention Trip - Santa Fe/Durango adventure, sponsored by the VFC (Contact VFC Travel Coordinator Jann Masterson, (Email Jann) and see details in the Travel Notes in this newsletter)

1ST VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT

This has been an interesting and challenging quarter in the Virginia Federation. One of the highlights for me has been working with the seven Area III chapters in planning the 2006 VFC Convention to be held in Richmond on April 23-26, 2006. All committee positions have been filled and Bulletin # 1 was mailed to the Virginia chapter presidents on October 8th. A copy of Bulletin # 1 and the Registration form can also be found at www.vanarfe.org

. Current plans are to have a reception on Sunday evening with the general session beginning at 9:00 AM on Monday. Caucus meetings and committee meetings will be held on Monday afternoon, with Representative Tom Davis sponsoring a reception for all attendees on Monday evening. We are planning two to three breakout training sessions on Tuesday morning and are looking for ideas from the chapters on what special training they may be interested in. Provide your training suggestions to Ann Collins, Dave Smith or Vince Agnelli so that we may consider your interests. The banquet will be held on Tuesday evening and the convention will be wrapped up on Wednesday morning. We do anticipate a number of resolutions and bylaw changes to consider during this convention, especially since the National Convention will be held in 2006 in Albuquerque. At that convention, a resolution will be presented to change mandatory chapter membership requirements. We anticipate more information on this resolution in the January NARFE magazine.

In September a number of Virginia NARFE members attended the Model Chapter Symposium in Harrisburg, PA. We are all saddened that Ernie Kerekes, AVP II had a heart attack while in Harrisburg and we need to keep him in our thoughts and prayers. While he is recuperating, the VFC President has appointed Joan Marvel to act as AVP II to provide coverage in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area.

At the symposium, I served as a “jump start” speaker in the Chapter Meetings and Activities sessions. I want to share with you some of the interesting points that came up in my sessions that may be useful to the Virginia chapters: arrange to have flu shots given at a meeting; have the YMCA conduct a health clinic; bring a person to appraise member’s antiques; conduct an Alzheimer’s breakfast; two or more small chapters may want to sponsor a joint meeting occasionally to attract a more noteworthy speaker; have a “bakeless bake sale” - members donate cash to Alzheimer’s for the amount it would cost to bake a pie or cake; couples married over 50 years get a free dinner; telephone calls “missing you at the meetings” usually bring a response; have name drawing for cash or prize at each meeting and the winner has to be there to receive it; have Santa Claus at the December meeting; at Christmas time adopt a needy family; programs should never be over 30 minutes; start and stop meetings on time. There were many other suggestions, but space does not permit providing them all.

During September and October in addition to active involvement in my own chapter, I was program speaker at three chapters, Gloucester, Lynchburg and Roanoke. I attended the Tuckahoe Chapter meeting when Senator Walter Stosch was speaker concerning General Assembly activities. I attended the State Legislation Committee meeting and did a tour at the Virginia State Fair Senior Navigator/NARFE exhibit table talking to persons about NARFE. My daughter and I played golf in Midlothian Chapter’s golf tournament to raise funds for Alzheimer’s I met with Mary Ann Garth, Bob Drake, Dick Murphy, Bill Martin and Madeline Blare in Winchester to discuss transfer of the VFC Database to Mag. Bob and Dick did an outstanding job in rebuilding the crashed database and Mag has agreed to maintain it for the VFC. Thanks to all.

R. David Smith, VP

2nd Vice President’s Report

For the past decade, federal employee and retiree benefits have been fairly well protected from the ever present budget cutters. We can thank Congressman Tom Davis and his “Band of Brothers and Sisters” from both parties for that protection. However, it appears that we have a large number of Congressional members who firmly believe that “if at first you don’t succeed”, etc., etc. A group called the Republican Study Committee (more than 100 House members) recently proposed a number of budget options (cuts) that, if enacted, would have very serious consequences for federal employee and retiree benefits. Some of the proposals are aimed at reducing benefits that are part of the promised total compensation package for current employees. NARFE National President Charles Fallis has condemned the committee’s action and has promised to oppose it.

Many of these options are repeat offenders and have been defeated in past years. However, they continue to surface in various forms in almost every budget cycle ~ A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF WHY NARFE IS SO IMPORTANT TO US.

There are several reasons why we are a budget cutting target for many members of Congress. One reason is the Congressional staff and researchers, whose average age is probably somewhere in the low-to-mid 20's, have little or no understanding or empathy for the elderly. Another reason is that our benefits are among the best in the country, which makes us the envy of many private industry workers.

For example, the General Motors Corporation (GM), which recently suffered its largest quarterly loss in more than ten years, has blamed those losses on its growing health care obligation. GM provides health care for more than one million employees, retirees and their dependents. The company estimates that this burden adds $1,400 to the sticker price of every vehicle they build in the U.S. The situation at GM and at other private industry companies is compounded by the fact that most of their health programs are woefully under funded, as are most of their pension plans.

As this situation continues to worsen, and it will, the federal health benefits and pension plans look more and more like the “greener grass.” This is not helping our cause. If we accept the fact that Senators and Congressmen from hard-hit areas like Detroit and other big company towns are always running for office, we can understand why they turn on us. Federal and Postal employees are an easy popular target, whether we like it or not.

Forget the fact that we have always paid dearly for our health benefits and retirement plan while many private industry workers paid little or nothing. Forget the fact that we were paying 7% on total income into our annuity when private industry employees were paying anywhere from 1% to 5.4% on a limited amount of income (1937-1982) into Social Security. Even today they only pay 6.2"% up to $90,000 ~ and beyond that amount they pay nothing.

No one ever said life was fair. We are under fire because private industry is suffering from years of dishonest leadership, greed, and poor planning, and their employees and retirees are now beginning to pay the price. When you add to this mix the impending financial problems with Social Security and the incredible cost of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we have super financial crises in the making.

Trust me. Lawmakers will be looking for ways to level the playing field and spread the “Pain” which begins with “P” and rhymes with “T” which stands for TROUBLE ~ and that is where you and I are heading. If we are going to survive, my job and yours is to recruit, retain and activate our NARFE membership ~ “sooner” because there may not be a “later”.

Vince Agnelli 2nd VP

PROPOSED BYLAW AMENDMENT/CONVENTION RESOLUTION Chapters are urged to discuss issues about NARFE/VFC Organization, Membership, Legislative Program or other pertinent matters for consideration at the 2006 VFC Convention and the 2006 NARFE Convention. Use the NARFE interactive form by going to the NARFE web site, www.narfe.org

, click on "FORMS", then "Proposed Bylaw Amendment/Convention Resolution (F-3A).For "Secretary" scroll down to VA so after you have completed the form an e-mail will come to the VFC Secretary

Robert H. Miller.

New Appointments by VFC President Ann M. Collins:

VFC Treasurer. Effective September 27, 2005, Darlene Myer Rhodes, LIFE member of Springfield Chapter 893, has been appointed as VFC Treasurer to serve the remaining term through April 2006 as a result of the resignation of Bob Basford on September 26. Darlene holds a degree in Mathematics. She retired in 1995 as an Operations Research Analyst, Internal Revenue Service, with 29 years of service. She currently holds a part-time position as Operations Manager for a large church in NOVA. Also, she has been the Treasurer of Springfield Chapter 893 for about the past 6 years.

Area II Vice President: Joan F. Marvel (Seaside Chapter 1827) accepted a temporary appointment as Area II VP. Effective October 22, Joan is now on a permanent appointment as Area II VP for the remaining term through April 2006. See Area II report for details

Service

As recently appointed Co-Service Officers, Sue and Jim Righter have used the summer to consider how to broaden the concept of “service” in the NARFE organization in Virginia. We have completed an initial survey of NARFE Service Centers in Virginia, as requested by Ann Collins. It seems that due to homeland security concerns, most of the centers once providing walk-in service on military bases and at secure facilities are forced to re-locate to the homes of service providers. This has reduced the number of walk-in and other requests for service. We plan to continue Orville Overboe’s excellent “Survivor Kit” program, making many of the necessary forms available on our web page soon, when it is completed and running.

We plan to add other articles of interest to NARFE members, as well. One initial area of research has been the area of preventing identity theft. We have already presented this to the Piedmont Chapter in Farmville, where interest was very high. We define seven practical ways to lower the risk of fraud and identity theft. We also have identified the publication How to Avoid Identity Theft: A Guide for Victims -- available free from the Office of the Attorney General.

We are currently contacting Area Vice-Presidents to ask to attend their chapter presidents’ meetings. The purpose would be to make a brief presentation to test possible subjects of future interest.

Sue and Jim Righter, Co-Service Officers

STATE LEGISLATION

The message is “Get out to vote” on Tuesday, November 8th for your candidate of choice for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Delegate. We need to show our support for those officials who represent us in State Government.

The Virginia Federation has adopted its State Legislation Action Plan for the 2006 General Assembly. The issues include: Real Estate Tax Relief - Seek legislation to cap real estate assessments for persons 65+ as long as they own their home. Age Deduction - Seek legislation to increase the means testing amount for the age deduction to $75,000 for single taxpayers and to $100,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. Senior Voting by Absentee Ballot - Seek legislation to authorize absentee voting for those 65+. Nursing Homes and Assisted Living - Determine staffing and inspection requirements for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Seek legislation for identified deficiencies. Medicaid Reimbursements - Push for legislation to increase coverage/dollars for nursing homes to more accurately reflect the true cost for residents. Stay at Home Care - Seek legislation to make it easier for seniors to stay at home when medical circumstances dictate assistance. Medicaid needs to be more flexible to allow choice.

State Political Fund - We need to build up the VFC State Political Fund since it has been almost depleted with payouts to Delegates/Candidates running for office in the November 8th election. Make your contributions using the form below. To get just the page with the coupon, click on print, put in page 6 where it says print page.

VFC STATE POLITICAL ACCOUNT CONTRIBUTION

Area________Chapter__________Date____________

Amount: $5____$10____$25____$50____Other_____

Name________________________________________

Email Address _____________________________________

Address______________________________________

City,State,Zip_________________________________

Retired (yes/no)_______If working show employer

                        (Required by State Board of Elections)

 

Employer Name_______________________________

Employer Address_____________________________

 

Make checks payable to

VFC STATE POLITICAL ACCOUNT and mail to

Carroll Graham, VFC State Legislation Chairman, 1307 Forest Ave., Richmond, VA 23229

 

VFC President Ann Collins and Mr. David L. Sadowski, President of the Virginia Coalition on Aging. Mr. Sadowski addressed topics on aging issues on Virginia at the VFC Board meeting, September 26, 2005.

NATIONAL LEGISLATION

The four bills to accomplish NARFE’s two top priorities - Premium Conversion and repeal of the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision - continue to pick up Congressional co-sponsorship support. But it seems unlikely those bills will go anywhere in 2005; we can only hope for 2006. Before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, there was a plan for NARFE President Charles Fallis to meet on our issues with our own Rep. Tom Davis (R-11th) and California Rep. Bill Thomas, who chairs the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee; since the hurricanes that meeting seems to be in limbo.

Meanwhile, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) has created a stir by releasing a 23-page report entitled “Operation Offset,” and proposing budget reductions to offset the reconstruction costs on the Gulf. The proposal consists of six “Titles,” each addressing a different collection of proposed reductions, 123 in all, estimated to save $102 billion in 2006, $370 billion over 5 years, and $950 billion over 10 years. Proposed cuts aim at poverty programs, foreign aid, NASA, Agriculture, “corporate welfare,” subsidies to Amtrak, and many, many others.

Several proposals would affect seniors in general and federal employee/retiree benefits in particular (apart from targeted agency cuts). They include: -

Delaying the Medicare prescription drug program for one year; -

Reducing Medicaid administrative spending, increasing required Medicaid co-pays, and converting the federal share of Medicaid acute care (vs. long term care) to block grants; -

Increasing Medicare B premiums from 25 to 30 percent of program costs; -

Imposing a 10 percent co-pay for home health care under Medicare; -

Restructuring Medicare A and B to impose a single combined deductible, plus a uniform 20 percent co-pay for all services (subject to an unspecified cap on catastrophic costs); -

Requiring that new federal retirees with short service pay a higher proportion of their FEHBP premiums; and-retreating to the high-5 (from high-3) basis for calculating federal annuities.

Currently the majority party seems in disarray on how to pay for post-hurricane rebuilding. Tax increases are anathema, pork-loving members of Congress won’t stand for cutting their pet projects, and everyone has turf to protect. House leadership at first seemed negative on the RSC’s proposal, but in his column published in the Washington Post October 10, Robert D. Novak asserted that Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Budget Committee Chair Jim Nussle (R-IA) were reversing course and would seek cuts in mandatory spending of at least $50 billion (over a period of time not specified in Novak’s column). “Operation Offset” suggested nothing about COLA benefits, but we all know that aspect of retirement always comes to mind when Congress is in a budget-cutting mood. It will be interesting to watch, which we must do, carefully.

Meanwhile, here we are in early October and just two of twelve FY ’06 appropriations bills have been enacted - Interior and Environment, and the Legislative Branch. Most of the Government is back to operating on a Continuing Resolution, through November 18.

Finally, NARFE-PAC news: Since June 30, NARFE-PAC has sent the following contributions to Virginia Congressional campaigns: $1,000 to Rep. Thelma Drake (R-2nd); $1,000 to Rep. Randy Forbes (R-4th); $1,000 to Rep. Rick Boucher (D-9th); and $3,000 to Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th). So far in the first three quarters of this 2-year, 8-quarter cycle of the 109th Congress, Virginia’s NARFE members have contributed $8,127 to NARFE-PAC, fourth in the nation behind California ($18,293), Texas, ($9,261), and Florida ($8,430). Total contributions nationally to NARFE-PAC as of September 30 were $142,473. Neither the national total nor Virginia’s total is that impressive; I hope we do better over the next nine months.

Charles Delaplane National Legislation Chair

 

TRAVEL NOTES

Report on Canadian Rockies By Rail Trip. 18 intrepid travelers from Springfield Chapter 893 and Alexandria Chapter 232 toured the Canadian Rockies from August 25-September 3, by train, bus and boat. We spent 2 days on the Rocky Mountaineer train, eating and drinking as if we were on a cruise and occasionally taking photos of mountains, gorges, osprey and eagles. Saw wolves and grizzly bears. We stayed in 2 incredible hotels - the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which is located on a beautiful turquoise lake fed by a glacier, and the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, which is surrounded by mountains. The highlight of our trip was taking the Sno-Coach Explorer for a ride onto the Athabasca Glacier. Once there, we walked around on the glacier and drank water straight from the glacier. Look for our picture in a future NARFE magazine. In addition to having a great trip - the only complaint that I heard was “I ate too much!” - the VFC received a rebate of $3100 from Collette Vacations, and at the September Board meeting the Board voted to contribute $2600 of the rebate to the NARFE-FEEA Disaster Fund for relief to NARFE members who suffered from the recent hurricanes. Ann Collins worked a captive audience on the train and found 3 prospective NARFE members from our group of travelers. She also found some prospective NARFE members from Kentucky in the larger group of Collette travelers. So the lesson learned, is take a couple of NARFE magazines with the membership applications when you are traveling. Another side benefit was that one of the travelers from Alexandria showed up at the September chapter meeting.

Post National Convention Trip - Santa Fe/Durango Adventure - September 15- 23, 2006. Make your plans now! The national NARFE convention will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from September 10-14, 2006. The VFC is sponsoring a post-convention trip through New Mexico and southwestern Colorado. We will journey through scenic mountain landscapes, deserts and Indian reservations. We would like to fill a whole bus with fellow NARFE travelers, friends and family. We will be based in Santa Fe (3 nights), Durango (2 nights) and Albuquerque (2 nights), so you won’t have to pack up and move out every day. Highlights include: a private class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking; a leisurely raft float on the Rio Grande with a Native American guide followed by a traditional feast prepared and served by Pueblo Indian families and a demonstration of the traditional art of pottery making; visit to the Four Corners, the traditional homeland of a number of Native American tribes and Farmington - the retail center of the Four Corners with flea markets, antique shops, trading posts and many unique shops; a visit to Mesa Verde National Park, where the Anasazi once lived in amazing cliff dwellings; and a walking tour of Historic Old Town Albuquerque,. Cost per person/double occupancy is $1249 land only, and $1849 with airfare included. Brochures should be available by November 1, 2005 contact Jann Masterson at or E-mail for more information.

Jann Masterson, Travel Coordinator

AREA 1 REPORT

The Area 1 chapters are active and meeting again after a well deserved summer vacation. We hope that all our members are rested, energized and ready to take on the new legislative challenges that may be coming as a result of the economy, increasing budget deficit and the Gulf coast hurricanes. A little about how the chapters are doing.

Peninsula Chapter 682 held a well attended picnic lunch in August at the Newport News Deer Run Pavilion in the comfort of an air-conditioned outdoor setting. Also, in August, a few chapter members and I had a very successful meeting with Congressman Bobby Scott (D) 3rd District and he agreed to sign on again as co-sponsor of the Premium Conversion bill. VFC President Ann Collins attended the September chapter meeting and gave a comprehensive presentation on NARFE. Also, in September, at her chapter’s expense, Sharon Rose - Chapter President, attended the NARFE Symposium in Harrisburg and found it beneficial.

Williamsburg Chapter 685 had a well attended September meeting, its first since May The featured speaker was Wilton Ward, VFC Alzheimer’s Chair. Due to the success of Peninsula Chapter 682, the Williamsburg Chapter began its own “Mile of Pennies” project to get additional money for Alzheimer’s. The October meeting was also well attended and featured local representatives to the General Assembly - Senator Tommy Norment, and Delegates Bill Barlow and Phil Hamilton. A National Press Club format was used with each representative speaking for a short time, followed by questions from the moderator and the audience. Also, VFC Political Account checks were presented to Delegates Barlow and Hamilton in appreciation for their past efforts on behalf of NARFE and senior interests.

Chapter 1757 also held a well attended September meeting with VFC 1st VP Dave Smith as the featured speaker. He emphasized the advantages of being a NARFE member in this challenging time. Paul Componation, 1st VP, has taken over as Chapter President, due to the death of previous President, Joanne Brummel. He personally called 50 members to invite them to attend the meeting and is working hard to energize the chapter and come up with a full slate of officers for 2006.

A matter of concern in Area 1 is the current lack of progress on NARFE sponsored legislation. Also, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) has released a report (HR 2290) proposing budget reductions, impacting on seniors and federal workers/retirees, to offset growing budget deficits and reconstruction costs of the Gulf hurricanes. Unfortunately, the report has been endorsed by two Hampton Roads members of Congress - Jo Ann Davis and Thelma Drake. I encourage chapter members to contact these representatives, inform them of our concern, and ask them why they signed on to the report.

In Area 1 we have been concentrating on membership recruiting. Marie Collins, Chapter 682, held Pre-retirement seminars at Ft Monroe and Ft Eustis in August and in October, signing up 42 employees. Many thanks to Marie and the Chapter 682 members for all your hard work!

Area 1 chapter membership totals 1,310 as of 31 August 2005, showing a slight decrease from the 1,318 at the beginning of the year. Despite intensive recruiting efforts, we are still not gaining enough new members to offset deaths, non-renewals, and transfers out. When the chapters receive the Recruitment Project - Phase 2 prospects and drops lists from Vince Agnelli, we may be able to further increase our membership count.

Ralph Hoyle, Area I VP

Area II Report

VFC Area II Vice President. Chapter Presidents were informed on September 23 that on September 22, while attending the NARFE Chapter Symposium at Harrisburg, Area II VP Ernie Kerekes had a massive heart attack. He was in critical condition at a hospital in Harrisburg for several days. His condition improved and he was transported to a medical rehabilitation center in Virginia Beach on October 6, where he has been since. He passed away on October 17. Initially, due to the uncertainty of time involved for Ernie’s recovery and to continue to provide VFC services to Area II chapters, on September 27, 2005, Joan F. Marvel (Seaside Chapter 1827) accepted a temporary appointment as Area II VP. Effective October 22, Joan is now on a permanent appointment as Area II VP for the remaining term through April 2006. Joan is a past president of Seaside Chapter and a past VFC Board member, serving last as the VFC Membership/PR Chair.

Memorials for Ernie may be sent to the American Heart Association at: Director, AHA, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate, Memorials and Tribute Processing Center, PO Box 5216, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5216. VFC has sent a $50 memorial.

In Memoriam

On October 17, we were deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Ernest Frank Kerekes, Sr., Past President of the Virginia Federation and current VFC Area II VP. Ernie’s dedication and outstanding work in so many NARFE roles over many years serves as a role model for others. He will be greatly missed by the VFC Board and many others. Our condolences to Ernie’s family.  

Area III News

On August 12 Area 3 had a Council of Chapters meeting with all seven (7) Chapter Presidents attending. Also attending were Area Coordinators and other guests. A total of 15 people were in attendance. All Chapter Presidents gave a brief report of their Chapter activities and the following is a synopsis:

Chapter 28 Petersburg ~ They are just coming off summer break. For their October meeting they are planning a “Meeting of Celebration”; it is planned to recognize several Chapter members for their contributions to the Chapter and the community.

Chapter 60 Richmond ~ Meeting attendance is holding at around 27 members. The Chapter did a survey of their members and the results are still being reviewed. Based upon the survey about 50% of the membership rely upon the Chapter’s newsletter for information due to the fact that they cannot attend meetings due to age and health reasons.

Chapter 1138 South of the James ~ They are coming off summer break and did not hold Chapter meetings during July and August. A nominating committee has been formed and the Chapter hopes to elect new officers in November.

Chapter 1472 Colonial Heights ~ This Chapter is getting new members every month. All officer positions are filled and a nominating committee is at work for officers in 2006. The Chapter plans two (2) more trips in 2005. In October they plan on a trip to the DC area and around Christmas they have plans for a trip in the local area.

Chapter 1510 Imperial Plaza ~ The Chapter meetings consist mostly of a business session, lunch and then bingo. It seems that most members come for the bingo games. At a trading post in July the Chapter raised $266.89 for Alzheimer’s research and $104.88 for the Chapter budget.

Chapter 1727 Tuckahoe ~ Meeting attendance has dropped and the Chapter in Sept. sent a survey to each member asking for suggestions. They have the Majority Leader of the State Senate as the speaker for their September meeting.

Chapter 2265 Midlothian ~ They currently have about 357 members with about 40-50 attending the Chapter meetings. A nominating committee has been formed and is currently active in obtaining a full slate of officers for 2006.

On September 6 I attended the South of the James Chapter meeting. Attendance was very small even with a well-known writer, Betty Broker, from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, as the guest speaker. Like I said at the meeting, Chapter leaders, you need to get up and move forward with new leadership.

On September 6 I also attended Tuckahoe Chapter meeting. Their attendance was very good at around 40 members because they had used a telephone tree to call each member to advise them that State Senator Walter Stosch was their guest speaker.

The Area has also had two (2) meetings concerning the 2006 VFC Convention. I think all of the Chapter leadership are excited about sponsoring the Convention and are eager to start-up the process.

Robert H. Boyd Area III VP

 * Advice for the day: If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: "Take two aspirin" and "Keep away from children." Author Unknown

Area IV Report

Greetings and best wishes to all the members of NARFE, VFC Area 4. It appears that the hot days of summer are easing and the presence of fall is upon us. For some of us this may mean yard work, raking, fertilizer, grass seed, etc. I know it means a lot of work ahead but also items affecting our earned benefits will require the same degree of attention, possibly more. Constant vigilance and effective actions must be in our focus in the times ahead.

My wife Norma Lee and I, had the good fortune to attend a Chapter and Federation Management Development Symposium in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania September 21-23 at the Crown Plaza Hotel.. Welcome speeches were made by National President Charlie Fallis and National Secretary David Sullivan. Each addressed Membership, Retention, Chapters Operations, and constant communication with our Senators/Representatives - State and Federal- to support our concerns and topics affecting our positions as members of NARFE.

The attendees were divided into four sections - (Red, Blue, Green, and Orange). And addressed the following subjects:

1. Chapter Meetings/Activities

2. Recruiting and Retention

3. Leadership Development

4. Effective Communication

Each section saw and presented different ways to improve chapter functions.

Two Chapters will be participating in Health Fairs as follows:

Chapter 1697 Brentwood, President Waiter Broadnax - Location: Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, VA. Date: November 16, 2005

Chapter 1293 Churchland, President Joseph D. Lee - Location: Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, VA. Date: November 16, 2005

Also Chapter 1743 Suffolk, President Ferrin S. Wright - This chapter had a booth at the Peanut Festival, Suffolk V A. October 6-9, 2005. Norma and I attended the Festival on October 6 in the afternoon 2:30p.m-6:00p.m. The NARFE set-up was displayed in an excellent manner with information brochures, pamphlets, pencils, and magazines on the decorated table. In the background were the NARFE Lighted Display Board, Chapter Banner, and the American Flag. All were set in proper proportion and position to represent NARFE in the best possible manner. Co-chairs were Susan Semora and Joe Silberholz, with Gary Saunders and Shirley Taylor manning the booth. Other volunteers will be present for the two remaining days. In other areas there were numerous rides, varieties of food, arts and crafts, jewelry, music, wood craft products and vendors for various commercial products. Cost per vehicle was $7.00. If you are able to attend, be sure to wear good and soft walking shoes to have a most enjoyable day.

Joseph Lee Area IV VP

AREA V NEWS

September arrived with a call to order for all Area V Chapters. Vacations are over, it is now time to saddle up and hit the trail. Hit the trail is exactly what happened, starting September 1 with Chapter 110, Lynchburg. The program for this meeting was presented by NARFE National President, Charles Fallis, and by VFC 1st VP Dave Smith. They both stressed the need for new members and the need to stay informed about Congressional actions that affect our annuities.

On September 15 it was off to meet with Chapter 2080, Farmville where the program was being presented by the VFC Service Officers, and the VFC President Ann Collins. Both of them made excellent presentations, and I encourage all Area V Chapters to consider inviting the Service Officers and Ann to visit one of your Chapter meetings.

The next day, September 16 it was on to Bedford to attend a meeting to determine if Chapter 1068 was going to continue to be active. VFC President Ann Collins planned for the meeting by writing a letter and sending it to every voting member of the Chapter and six attended. Ann explained the need for the Chapter to remain active and asked for a volunteer to agree to serve as President. Mr. Samuel Hardy agreed to serve for at least two months, and hopefully longer. With our membership going down we do not need to be closing Chapters, and we are working to keep Bedford active.

We were just getting cranked up. September 21-23 I attended a very informative symposium in Harrisburg, Pa. Then it was on to the VFC Board meeting in Richmond on September 25-27. We were not finished yet the South Hill Chapter 2079 was having a picnic on September 28th at which Ann Collins, Oscar Honeycutt, State Senator Frank Ruff, and Delegate Tommy Wright were attending. Ann emphasized the membership problem and our State Legislative along with a number of other items of interest. She also, gave a copy of the State Legislative plan to Senator Ruff and Delegate Tommy Wright and asked them for their support.

As you can see September was a busy month, but I believe a profitable one. I encourage the Area V Chapters to take advantage of every opportunity you have to tell someone about NARFE and give them an application for membership. Also, we are faced with what I believe is a very critical time for the NARFE Organization, in that the Congress is faced with some huge money problems and they are already talking about legislation that will adversely affect our benefits. We need to stay abreast of what is happening in the Congress contact our Senators and Congressmen and let them know that we cannot support anything thing reduces our earned benefits. We cannot sit back and do nothing, if we do our benefits will surely be reduced.

James C. Nobles Area V VP

Area VI Report

The weather man is reporting an even greater storm/hurricane on the way than the two we just witnessed in Louisiana (KATRINA & RITA). The storm on the HILL in Washington D.C. is also raging as we struggle to protect all we have worked so hard to earn or legislate for our futures. And daily we are hearing about the POLITICAL storm brewing over the upcoming election. For those of us in Southwest Virginia, we have traditionally been ready to face whatever adversities came our way from the earliest pioneer days to all the battles of war and survival in between. On October 20, Area VI Legislative Coordinator John Shone and I traveled to southwest Virginia to meet with two of the four delegates we provided checks from the VFC State Political Account. We enjoyed a delightful exchange with Delegate Benny Keister in Pulaski, VA. and requested he review the letter accompanied by the VFC Legislative Plan identifying our specific interests as both active and retired federal employees. Unfortunately, due to unexpected events, we could not meet directly with Jim Schuler in the Christiansburg office, however, we hand-delivered our letter, State Legislative Plan, and check to his assistant, Erica Perdue. We look forward to this opportunity to share our concerns and to educate our state legislators about issues important to Virginia NARFE members. Please write your own legislators (or call). They look at numbers of contacts from an organization and the votes that they could bring them!

Elaine Hill Caudill Area VI VP

Area VIII Report

In October, seven of the eight chapters actively participated in an area meeting held in Fredericksburg. We were very fortunate to have Dennis Martin, VFC Membership Committee Chair and Carolyn Wilson, VFC Public Relations Committee chair attending. Both presented very valuable information and strategies to help us improve our performance in membership recruitment and retention. A review of the latest membership data does show that we are having some success. The area shows an increase of 11 members over those we had at the start of this year. Falls Run Chapter 2343 has 70 members now which is a 49% increase over the membership in January 2005. Fredericksburg Chapter 90 also shows an increase, having 17 more members now than in January. While this may not sound like very much, Area 8 is the only VFC area showing any increase this year.

During the area meeting, Stan Palen, VFC Co-Webmaster made a presentation on vanarfe.org, the VRC web page. Stan gave us ideas to update the chapter web pages. He also gave us guidance on the procedure to follow to be sure chapter newsletters will be posted on the web.

Three area members, including me, attended the NARFE Symposium in Harrisburg, PA. It was a very good meeting and we picked up many ideas that should help us in our chapter and area activities. During the quarter, I was able to attend seven chapter meetings. The chapters seem to be doing well and most have their slate of officers identified for elections in November. I plan to make the eighth chapter meeting in November.

Bill Martin, Area VIII VP

AREA IX Report

Report Area IX and X participated in the planning of the Northern Virginia Aging Network (NVAN) Legislative Breakfast Forum on September 26, 2005. Shirley Martin and Joe Smucker of Area X also helped on the day of the Forum make it a success.

Following are some of the comments made by NVAN officials regarding the Legislative Breakfast Forum held on September 26, 2005.

THANK YOU ALL for your help, hard work, etc.! In many respects, yesterday's forum may have been the "smoothest" legislative breakfast forum we have had on the day of the event. I know from some first-hand accounts that seeds were planted 'mongst our legislators yesterday.

CONGRATULATIONS!! Here are some of the numbers.

28 Northern VA officials represented: 19 elected and 9 hopefuls:

5 Senators

12 Delegates

1 aide to Delegate

1 aide to Fairfax Co. BOS

9 candidates for Delegate

127 attendees (paid registrants, speakers, and other guests) Total (breakfasts)!....155

Area IX members will set up a table with NARFE information at the Northern Virginia TRIAD Conference on October 20, 2005. This conference is for seniors and those interested in issues involving senior citizens. The conference features programs on *Home Security, *Personal Safety, *ID Theft, *Financial Crimes, *Telemarketing Fraud, and MORE.

Bill Masterson Area IX VP

 

* I've learned.... That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks. Andy Rooney

Alzheimer’s Report

We're making progress! Our Alzheimer’s research donations this calendar year through September totaled $ 33,792.64 toward our goal of $ 55,000.00. This is a long way from the goal, but I'm sure the special fund raising projects and our generous end-of-the year gifts will carry us to the goal.

In last quarter's notes I gave information about the number of research projects funded by NARFE and some of the research areas. This quarter I will just give some personal observations. The more I learn about Alzheimer’s, the more I hear about Alzheimer’s from individuals every where, the NARFE members I hear as a program speaker at chapter meetings and the more I hear from Alzheimer’s care-givers, the more I am totally convinced that in 1985 the national NARFE leadership made a wise decision when they decided to support Alzheimer’s research through the national Alzheimer's Association. Also, through personal experience in visiting an Alzheimer’s affected individual for more than a year, seeing its affect on fellow church members and others, the more I am certain that the gifts we give and the hours we spend on supporting the NARFE Alzheimer's effort are some of the most important hours of our lives.

Thank you for what you do,

Wilton Ward, Alzheimer's chair

* Everyone is too old for something, but no one is too old for everything

 

Public Relations Report

September was a busy month for the VFC and Public Relations. In early September, the Chesterfest (a local festival in Chester, VA) was held and a NARFE table was set up. Attendance at the booth was good and several retirees expressed interest. An opportunity to place NARFE material in a new 160-apartment senior citizen community was extended by the community manager. The Retirement Life Magazine was placed in the community the following week.

The exchange of information received while attending the Chapter and Federation Management Development Symposium held in Harrisburg, PA, September 21-23 was invaluable. One of the things I was most interested in was the area newsletter prepared by an area in New York. I have since been in touch with the editor and plan to use the information in a Council of Chapter meeting October 14th. Other information gained at the symposium will also be used at that meeting.

I participated in the Virginia State Fair booth in conjunction with Senior Navigator. I spent eight hours at the booth and gave information out to several current and retired Federal employees. It was interesting how many people had never heard of NARFE. One lady asked for several copies of the magazine to take back to her office. I think the benefit from this effort will be some time in coming.

On October 7th, I traveled to Fredericksburg, VA to visit the Area VIII Council of Chapters meeting. I presented a short informational session and an exchange of ideas between attendees followed. Favorable comments were received regarding the program and I was pleased with the results since that was the first session I had given since being appointedPublic Relations Chair for the VFC.

Carolyn Wilson Public Relations Chair

 

And last but not Least

Membership Report

As I mentioned in the last news article, the VFC, at its July Board meeting, addressed the need to increase membership and the retention of current members by adopting a goal of a 5 percent net increase in VFC membership during 2005 calendar year (Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2005) and a 15% increase in members under dues withholding over two years (Jan 1, 2005 - Dec 31, 2006)

At the end of 2004 VFC had 20,076 and by the end of August 2005 we had dropped to 19,897 or a net decrease of 179 members. While we had a good number of new members we continue to be overwhelmed by non-renewals. To meet our goal for this year we need a net increase of 1183 by end of December. The good news is that the dues withholding has already reached a level of 13% increase. As I said in the membership article in the last publication, a membership increase is “doable” with the active participation of Chapter members. Chapters can reach their dues withholding goal easily by advertising this feature and pointing out the dues cost saving through dues withholding. All non-renewals must be personally. Just remember, not only is this personal contact a good way to remind members that their renewal is overdue put the Chapter can identify special needs the member may be experiencing which are causing the non-renewal. When a member indicates they would like to renew send them a Form M - 1 “Reinstatement Card” filled out to include the member’s name and NARFE membership number plus the amount for dues. To add further incentive, include a stamped envelope addresses to NARFE HQ, ATTN: Membership Services. Should there be a member’s death, encourage the spouse to become a member first by using the unused portion of the member’s membership.

Chapters should be receiving a list of lapsed members and those that have indicated an interest in NARFE. Every effort should be made to contact all individuals on the list. While a letter is a good way to contact these people, a personal contact through a telephone call or a visit is better.

 

Final Notes:

SENIOR NAVIGATOR E-QUICKTIP: October 21, 2005

Preparing for Natural Disasters

We have all heard about the record-breaking devastation caused by natural disasters over the last year. Hurricanes, tropical storms and rough winter weather have the ability to take all of us by surprise. Be ready for any emergency and possible evacuation by using a checklist to make sure you are prepared. Click on the link. www.seniornavigator.org/vaprovider/consumer/snArticle.do?contentId=529

Older adults and individuals with mobility problems can be especially vulnerable during emergencies. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, learn how to evaluate whether the facility has an appropriate plan in place and is prepared in the event of a disaster. www.seniornavigator.org/vaprovider/consumer/snArticle.do?contentId=528

[If you experience difficulty opening any of the above links, please copy and paste the URL’s into your Web Browser Address Box]

* The things we sweep under the rug have a disconcerting way of creeping out on the other side.

 

Contact Information – Virginia Members of Congress

As of May 11, 2005

 

Member of Congress

Washington Office*

Local Office 1

Local Office 2

       Honorable John Warner

United  United States Senate

(Plus other offices in Norfolk and Abingdon)

225 Russell Bldg.

Ph. 202-224-2023

Fax 202-224-6295

5309 Commonwealth Centre Pkwy.

Midlothian, VA 23112

Ph. 804-739-0247

Fax  804-739-3478

1003 1st Union Bank Bldg.

213 S. Jefferson St.

Roanoke, VA 24011

Ph. 540-857-2676

Fax  540-857-2800


E-mail at web form:  warner.senate.gov/contact/contactme.cfm


Honorable George Allen

United States Senate

(Plus other offices in Virginia Beach, Roanoke, and Abingdon)

204 Russell Bldg.

Ph. 202-224-4024

Fax 202-224-5432

507 E. Franklin St.

Richmond, VA 23219

Ph. 804-771-2221

Fax 804-771-8313

2214 Rock Hill Rd.

Suite 100

Herndon, VA 20170

Ph. 703-435-0039

Fax 703-435-3446

E-mail at web form: allen.senate.gov/index.cfm?c=email

Honorable Jo Ann Davis

Representative  – 1st District

(Plus another office in Tappahannock)

1123 Longworth House Office Bldg.

Ph. 202-225-4261

Fax 202-225-4382

4904-B George Washington Hwy.

Yorktown, VA 23692

Ph. 757-874-6687

Fax 757-874-7164

4500 Plank Rd., Suite 105-A

Fredericksburg, VA 22407

Ph. 540-548-1086

Fax 540-548-1658

E-mail at joanndavis.house.gov, then click on “contact”, then click on “Write Your Representative”

Honorable Thelma Drake

Representative – 2nd District

1208 Longworth  House Office Bldg.

Ph. 202-225-4215

Fax 202-225-4218

4772 Euclid Rd., Suite E , Virginia Beach, VA 23462

Ph. 757-497-6859

Fax 757-497-5474

(P.O. Box 62996,

Va. Beach, VA 23466)

23386 Front St.

Accomac, VA 23301

Ph. 757-787-7836

Fax 757-787-9540

(P.O. Box 447

Accomac, VA 23301)

E-mail at drake.house.gov, then under “Email Congresswoman Drake” click on “Click Here”.

Honorable Robert “Bobby” Scott - Representative – 3rd District

 

(Plus a part-time office at Norfolk State University)

1201 Longworth House Office Bldg.

Ph. 202-225-8351

Fax 202-225-8354

501 N. 2nd St.

Suite 401

Richmond, VA 23219

Ph. 804-644-4845

Fax 804-648-6026

2600 Washington Ave.

Suite 1010

Newport News, VA 23607

Ph. 757-380-1000

Fax 757-928-6694

E-mail at bobby.scott@mail.house.gov

Honorable Randy Forbes

Representative – 4th District

 

(Plus another office in Emporia)

307 Cannon House Office Building

Ph. 202-225-6365

Fax 202-226-1170

505 Independence Pkwy, Lake Center II, Suite 104

Chesapeake, VA 23320

Ph. 757-382-0080

Fax 757-382-0780

2903 Boulevard, Suite B

Colonial Heights, VA 23834

Ph. 804-526-4969

Fax 804-526-7486

E-mail at www.house.gov/forbes/, then click on “Contact Us”, then click on “Email Randy”

Member of Congress

Washington Office*

Local Office 1

Local Office 2

Honorable Virgil Goode

Representative – 5th District

 

(Plus offices in Rocky Mount and Farmville)

1520 Longworth House Office Building

Ph.  202-225-4711

Fax 202-225-5681

104 South First St.

Charlottesville, VA 22902

Ph. 434-295-6372

Fax 434-295-6059

437 Main Street

Danville, VA 24541

Ph. 434-792-1280 OR

800-535-4008

Fax  434-797-5942

E-mail at www.house.gov/goode/, then click on “Contact Us”, then click on “Write your Rep” under “Office Contact Information”

Honorable Robert Goodlatte

Representative – 6th District

 

(Plus offices in Harrisonburg and Staunton)

2240 Rayburn House Office Building

Ph. 202-225-5431

Fax 202-225-9681

10 Franklin Rd., S.E.

Suite 540

Roanoke, VA 24011

Ph. 540-857-2672

Fax 540-857-2675

916 Main St., Suite 300

Lynchburg, VA 24504

Ph. 434-845-8306

Fax 434-845-8245

E-mail at www.house.gov/goodlatte/, then click on “Contact”, then click on “E-Mail Bob”

Honorable Eric Cantor

Representative – 7th District

329 Cannon House Office Building

Ph. 202-225-2815

Fax 202-225-0011

5040 Sadler Place, #110

Glen Allen, VA 23060

Ph. 804-747-4073

Fax 804-747-5308

763 Madison Rd., # 207

Culpeper, VA 22701

Ph. 540-825-8960

Fax 540-825-8964

E-mail at cantor.house.gov, then click on “Send Me an Email”

Honorable James P. Moran

Representative – 8th District

2239 Rayburn House Office Building

Ph. 202-225-4376

Fax 202-225-0017

5115 Franconia Rd., Suite B

Alexandria, VA 22310

Ph. 703-971-4700

Fax 703-922-9436

1760 Reston Pkwy, Suite 312

Reston, VA 20190

Ph. 703-481-4339

Fax 703-481-4338

E-mail at moran.house.gov/, then click on “Let’s Talk”

Honorable Rick Boucher

Representative – 9th District

(Plus another office in Big Stone Gap)

2187 Rayburn House Office Building

Ph. 202-225-3861

Fax 202-225-0442

188 East Main St.

Abingdon, VA 24210

Ph. 276-628-1145

112 N. Washington Ave.

Pulaski, VA 24301

Ph. 540-980-4310

E-mail at Ninthnet@mail.house.gov

Honorable Frank Wolf

Representative – 10th District

241 Cannon House Office Building

Ph. 202-225-5136

Fax 202-225-0437

13873 Park Center Rd.

Suite 130

Herndon, VA 20171

Ph. 703-709-5800 OR

       800-945-9653 in State

Fax 703-709-5802

110 N. Cameron St.

Winchester, VA 22601

Ph. 540-667-0990 OR

       800-850-3463 in State

Fax 540-678-0402

E-mail at www.house.gov/wolf/ , then click on “Click here to e-mail me”

Honorable Tom Davis

Representative – 11th District

2348 Rayburn House Office Building

Ph. 202-225-1492

Fax 202-225-3071

4115 Annandale Rd.

Suite 103

Annandale, VA 22003

Ph. 703-916-9610

Fax 703-916-9617

13546 Minnieville Rd.

Woodbridge, VA 22192

Ph. 703-590-4599

Fax 703-590-4740

E-mail at tomdavis.house.gov, then click on “contact us”, then click on “Email: Click here

*    All Washington Senate offices are at Washington, D.C. 20510.

**   All Washington House offices are at Washington, D.C. 20515.

NARFE/VFC/CTDelaplane, May 11, 2005, 703-461-9663, cdelaplane@verizon.net

Source:  Members’ web sites. NOTE  “www” is shown where needed.  Otherwise, do not use it in the URL line.

Please save this page to have addresses on hand to contact you Congressmen