Announcements 2011

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2011 Officers and Laura Ekler of STRS

2011 Officers and Laura Ekler of STRS


Are you using the benefits available to you through AMBA as an ORTA member? Besides dental and vision insurance, you can also get discounts on hotels and vacation plans, car rentals, and funeral expenses. There are discounts on buying Apple and Dell Computers and buying books online at Barnes and Noble. Look online at or call them at 800-258-7041.



Karen Butt

Karen Butt

ORTA President Karen Butt will bring greetings to PCRTA members at our March 17 luncheon. Karen is a retired health and physical education teacher who also coached volleyball,basketball, softball, tennis, and track.

She has demonstrated her spirit and enthusiasm as she served ORTA on several committees, as District Director, Eastern Area Vice President, and President-Elect. As president she is challenging every member to do a part in growing our organization.

Leaning on her coaching experience, she often quotes John Wooden, who is remembered for saying:  “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”  President Butts’ theme for the year is “Let’s get it done–in Two-Zero-One-One.”


Safer Futures Needs Our Help!

Our May community service project is to provide items for Safer Futures. Safer Futures is a source center shelter for women and children seeking freedom from domestic violence. They provide shelter, advocacy, moral support, education concerning domestic violence, and help clients have access to relevant community resources.

They are in need of things you might need if you had to leave home in a hurry: Full-size toiletries and personal items like shampoo, deodorant, soap, combs and brushes, socks, underwear. They also need things to set up a new life in a new household: towels and washcloths, silverware, dishes, glasses, home wares, day planners. Name it…they need it!


FREEDOM HOUSE:  OUR MARCH 2011 SERVICE PROJECT: Gene Easter and Ken Granville pick up Freedom House Donations


Freedom House is a transitional shelter in Kent for 14 single adult males who are veterans and homeless. Opened in 2008, Freedom House provides these veterans with assistance in finding jobs and permanent housing, mental health and substance abuse counseling, involvement in community activities, and an aftercare program of follow-up and support.

It is estimated that there are 154,000 homeless veterans on any given night. This represents about a fourth of the adult homeless population.  Nearly half of these homeless veterans served during the Vietnam War.  Most had an honorable discharge but found themselves alone and homeless though poor choices and unlucky breaks.

Bring to the luncheon some of the things that are currently needed by Freedom House to help our veterans, such as: canned fruit, pancake or waffle mix, pillow cases, plastic containers with lids (shoe box size and smaller), and money donations to buy meat.


Attend Kent State’s production of Hamlet April 19th!

Join PCRTA members for dinner at the Pufferbelly on Tuesday, April 19th.  Each person will pay his or her own check with an 18% gratuity. We will then go to Curtis Theater for the 8:00 P.M. production of Hamlet.

The cost is $7.00 per person, with no reserve seats.  It’s first come, first choice. Reservations must be made by Monday, April 4th, to John or Sandra Kerstetter.  Call 330-673-0129.  Mail checks made out to John Kerstetter at 2012 Rosewood Dr, Kent, OH 44240.



03-17-2011 Luncheon Meeting:  Welcome, Mr. President!

Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States 150 years ago on March 4, 1861.  Shortly after starting his second term of office he was assassinated while attending the theater with his wife.

President Lincoln will be brought back to life at our March meeting by Gerald Payn.  He began to portray Mr. Lincoln in 1999, and in the last two years he has portrayed him over 160 times.  He most recently was in our area at Reed Memorial Library for their display on Lincoln.

Mr. Payn is a most avid student of President Lincoln.  He has visited every place that Mr. Lincoln lived in his lifetime plus a number of Civil War battle sites.  He can deliver any of Lincoln’s speeches. Mr. Payn is a life member of the National Association of Lincoln Presenters, one of  almost 200 members.

He can speak on a large variety of topics-any chapter in Lincoln’s life, politics, religion, the law,  slavery, and the trials and tribulations of   the presidency. Payn performs in costume  and whiskers as a full-height Lincoln standing 6’4″ and  presents in the first person.

Besides presenting Lincoln, Jerry Payn likes to travel, be with his grandchildren, sing, and play the tuba.  He is proud to say that he was a member of the OSU Marching Band as a tuba player and got to be the “dotter of the i.” A retired science teacher, he is a member of the Wayne County Retired Teachers and ORTA.  Come prepared to be in the presence of Abraham Lincoln.


5-19-2011 Luncheon Meeting: Introductions of Scholarship Winners

Best of the Best Receive PCRTA Future Teacher Scholarships! Seven future teachers, recent high school graduates from Portage County, will be introduced at our July 21 luncheon. It is exciting to see the best and the brightest students enter the field of education.

The scholarship committee reviewed 23 applicants from ten schools:  Aurora,   Crestwood, Field, Garfield, Kent Roosevelt, Ravenna, Rootstown, Southeast, Streetsboro, and Waterloo.  All winners were at the top of their classes.

Four valedictorians have decided to teach!  With high test scores and grades, exceptional teacher recommendations and an amazing array of leadership and service activities, these students are truly the best of the best.

Alex Wolfe

Alex Wolfe

Katelyn Alesci

Katelyn Alesci

Molly McCreary

Molly McCreary









Miranda Titko

Miranda Titko

Kyle Dreger

Kyle Dreger









Bring Books to Trade to our July Meeting!

We will have our annual book exchange at our July luncheon meeting. Bring a few books, CD’s, or puzzles you have recently enjoyed, and take home a few that look good to you. Please leave your old college texts, older books, and your old encyclopedias at home. Leftover books will be donated to the Reed Memorial Library book

Also, at our July Meeting we are having Free Blood Pressure and Osteoporosis Screening at 11:30.


05-19-2011 Luncheon Meeting: Memorial Service Our Annual Memorial Service honoring those members who passed away during the last year will be held at our May luncheon meeting. Special music will be provided by a brass trio of three retired band directors: Ken Granville, Sam Mayes, and Ray Harcar. Jane Bissler to lead Memorial Service


Jane Bissler

Jane Bissler

Jane Bissler is the founder and the clinical director of Counseling for Wellness in Kent. Shespecializes in counseling parents of adolescents who have died suddenly and in helping all bereaved people assimilate their losses by creating a new relationship with their loved one.

Jane writes a weekly question and answer column for the Record Courier. She also maintains a popular website found at She has co-authored two books: Surviving and Thriving: Grief Relief and Continuing Relationships and Loving Connections: The Healing Power of After Death Communications. Jane lives in Kent with her husband, Rick.





September 15, 2011 Luncheon Meeting at Kent United Methodist Church 12:00 Guest: Stacey Schneider from NEOMED with information on shingles at 11:30

Ralph Pfingsten

Ralph Pfingsten

Guest Speaker Ralf Pfingsten: History of the Ravenna Arsenal Located between Ravenna and Newton Falls along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad tracks, the Ravenna Arsenal was created in 1940 to produce munitions for WW II. Can you imagine being a farmer and being given thirty days to vacate your farm? Would you believe that within ten months of the first land purchases, the plant was producing munitions?

Ralph Pfingsten, the author of The History of the Ravenna Arsenal, will be our speaker at the luncheon in September. Ralph is a retired science teacher from the Cleveland Public Schools. He became interested in the arsenal’s past while doing biological surveys for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Mr. Pfingsten will share pictures and the history of this area that has been “shrouded in secrecy.” His talk gives you the “chance to peer inside the arsenals security fences and see what secrets these formerly classified military facilities possessed.” Bring your curiosity about the arsenal then and now and get your questions answered.

Welcome to the Retirement Class of 2011

If you know any recent retirees please call and invite them to join us at one of our luncheons. Most should have received a packet including a ticket for a free luncheon meal. All you have to do is ask them and include them in your reservation or give them the reservation information so they can make their own reservations.



Going Your Way! Everyone knows someone who needs PARTA. PARTA (Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority) offers fixed route and door-to-door services to county residents. PARTA moves the people who need it most. They make sure seniors have rides to the bank and grocery store or for medical appointments (doctor, dentist, dialysis, etc.) They help disabled people meet their full potential and assist working families break the cycle of poverty by getting riders where they need to go.

PARTA buses can be seen at Kent State, traveling between Kent and Ravenna, and throughout Portage County. Many retired teachers have never ridden a PARTA bus and may not be aware of the services. We have invited PARTA to bring a bus to the September luncheon – get on the bus, try it out, and be aware of how PARTA can help you and your family.

The bus will be here at 11:30, before the luncheon. Let PARTA teach you how to ride the bus. Call 330-678-1287 x119 or 330-678-7745 X108 and learn how to plan a trip, read a bus schedule, make transfers, reach a specific destination, and much more.


Bring School supplies to the luncheon meeting on September 15th!

September 1, 2011 Dear David and fellow Retired Educator Leaders,

As you know, many children nationwide are unprepared for school. With far too many families unable to afford school supplies and schools across the country facing budget cuts, children often go to school without the proper materials they need to succeed.

As part of our continuing efforts to help more students be Equipped to Learn and to celebrate the volunteer spirit of retired educatorsNRTA and AARP’s Create the Good team are conducting a random drawing that will award over 200 individuals with a $20 gift card to a school supply store. The winners can either enjoy the gift card themselves or consider using it to purchase school supplies for a teacher, student or school of their choice.

Anyone over the age of 45 may enter the random drawing and entrants need not have donated supplies or helped with their communities in other ways…..but, if you were involved in activities like that since the first of the year, I hope you will let us know through the optional fields on the entry form. There are two ways to enter the random drawing:

1. Online: Click here to access the easy online entry form. Entries will be accepted at the online site until 11:59 PM (ET) on November 11, 2011. Although you are only allowed one entry person, an individual may input multiple online entries in order to help those who may not have computer access or do not like online entries. You are welcome to forward this email to other retired educator friends who might want to enter the drawing.

2. Paper Entry: You may submit a paper entry by downloading from the NRTA Drawing 2011 folder. (We are also sending a hard copy of the entry form to you in the mail.) Feel free to make copies of the form to share with other retired educators who do not have access to a computer.

As with the online entries, paper entries must be received by NRTA by November 11, 2011. Send paper entries to: NRTA– ETL Random Drawing 601 E Street, NW – Floor B-8 Washington, DC 20049.

If you would like to explore other volunteer opportunities, many with ready-to-use toolkits, I invite you to visit The site is also a pathway to post volunteer activities being coordinated by your retired educator association or community group. I hope you will take a moment to enter our Equipped to Learn random drawing to help us celebrate the work of retired educator volunteers. I also hope that you will help us spread the word!

With best regards, Megan Stevens Hookey Vice President – NRTA: AARP’s Educator Community

01 E Street, NW B-8 Washington, DC 20049 202-434-2380

P.S. Remember…all entries are due by November 11, 2011. Good luck!


Beckwith Apples

Beckwith Apples

Field Trip to Beckwith’s Orchard People enjoyed the trip to Beckwith’s Orchard last year for a trolley ride through the orchard, a behind-the-scenes look at the action, apple tasting, and of course the yummy apple pie and ice cream and coffee so much that…we’re doing it again this year!

Thursday, October 27 2-3:30 pm All for $5, No Reservation Needed-Just Show Up for the Fun!!!


NEOMED Ralph Regula Conference Center

NEOMED Ralph Regula Conference Center

November 17th, 2011   12:00 Luncheon at Ralph Regula Conference Center at NEOMED Gene EasterOur next luncheon meeting on Thursday, November 17, will feature Gene Easter, who has been a science educator for 40 years.  He has been affiliated with Streetsboro Schools, Kent State University, Case Western Reserve University, and has been the instructor for the Summer Science Workshops for Martha Jennings Foundation.

Nationally known as one of the “Flying Bernoulli  Brothers,” Gene presents entertaining, off-the-wall programs that teach scientific process to the public.  Prepare to be amazed as Gene Easter presents his science concepts as an entertainment extravaganza!


We will vote for next year’s officers-Vice-President, Recording Secretary, and Treasurer.  The officers will be installed by ORTA President-Elect Dave Gynn.

Jan Fencl, Nominations Chair has presented the following slate of officers for 2012-2014:  Co Vice-Presidents, Georgia Darrah and Jan Snowberger; Recording Secretary, Ruth Weigand;   Treasurer, Darlene Fetterhoff.  According to our bylaws, these offices are to be elected in the odd-numbered years.  Nominations may be made from the floor with the prior consent of the nominee. The new officers will be installed during the November luncheon.


At the last Board meeting, Ron Snowberger was elected as our new Trustee to ORTA.  He will serve for two years   and will also be installed at the luncheon. Our Community Service project for November is to collect some nonperishable items for the Center of Hope in Ravenna.  You may also donate money to purchase turkeys.  Open your hearts and help another family have something to be thankful for as they celebrate their Thanksgiving dinner together. Without Presiding Judges and Judges, elections cannot be held.


December 8th, 2011 12:00

Brass Trio with Granville, Mayes, and Harcar

Brass Trio with Granville, Mayes, and Harcar

Luncheon at Ralph Regula Conference Center at NEOMED

Our luncheon on December 8 (Note the changed date) will be a Christmas Party.  We will be entertained by a brass trio comprised of three retired band directors: our own Ken Granville, retired from Streetsboro playing a baritone; Sam Mayes from Wadsworth Schools on the bass trombone; and Ray Harcar of Waterloo Schools playing the tenor trombone.

They will entertain us with holiday music, and we will sing some favorite Christmas tunes. Several members have suggested having a small gift exchange.

If you are interested in participating, bring a small wrapped gift in the $5-$10 range.  We will have some fun with the gift exchange, but won’t tell you what until the luncheon.

Following the lunch and meeting, those who want can stay to play BINGO for prizes that President Ron is gathering for us. I wonder what goodies he will find. Remember to bring hats, gloves, or mittens to be donated to the County Clothing Center to keep the little ones warm this winter.  Good luck!


Field Trip to Beckwith’s Orchard People enjoyed the trip to Beckwith OrchardBeckwith’s Orchard last year for a trolley ride through the orchard, a behind-the-scenes look at the action, apple tasting, and of course the yummy apple pie and ice cream and coffee so much that…we’re doing it again this year! Thursday, October 27   2-3:30 pm   All for $5        No Reservation Needed-Just Show Up for the Fun!!!


Nashville Country Christmas at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel

Paskey Tours is trying to get more people to sign up for their “Nashville Country Christmas at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel” tour which is scheduled for Nov. 18-21 (4 days and 3 nights).  The cost is $ 689 per person/double, $ 629 per person/triple, and $ 929 per person/single.  The package includes:

* deluxe motor coach transportation from Kent

* 3 nights lodging at the fabulous Opryland Hotel

* 3 meals (1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner)

* luncheon cruise on the General Jackson showboat

* tickets to Radio City Christmas Spectacular, “ICE”, the Louise Mandrell Dinner and Show, Treasure for the Holidays, and the World-famous Grand Ole Opry

* all taxes, gratuities, and baggage handling.   Ron Paskey can be reached at 330-677-1000 if anyone has any questions.

Poverty SimulationPoverty Simulation will be held on November 4, 2011 at the United Methodist Church of Kent. The purpose of this event is to raise awareness of the struggles of poverty and to hopefully inspire people to volunteer their time to support and encourage those in the program to transition out of poverty.



PCRTA Leaders at ORTA Conference

PCRTA Leaders at ORTA Conference


Strong leaders equal a strong organization.  National Retired  Teachers Association representative, Sharon Smith, conducted a leadership development workshop recently for ORTA at their office in Columbus.

Ron Snowberger, Georgia Darrah, and Dave Gynn participated in small group, activity-oriented projects to strengthen leadership skills. Connie Evans participated in a website workshop session.  All felt the day in Columbus was worthwhile .


How do I become a Poll Worker? The Portage County Board of Elections is looking for individuals who can spare a day, help their community, and get paid for working on Election Day as a Poll Worker. Be one of the nearly 550 individuals hired to staff the 131 precincts on Election Days.

Why am I needed?

  • Presiding Judges and Judges help to make sure that an election is fair and impartial according to the election laws of the State of Ohio.

Am I Eligible? Yes if you are….

  • A registered voter in Portage County.
  • Enjoy working with people.
  • Willing to attend a paid training session.
  • Available for current or future elections.

What do I have to do?

  • Attend a paid, 1 ½ – 2 hour training session.
  • Report to work at 5:45AM on Election Day and serve until duties are completed after the polls close at 7:30 PM.
  • Presiding Judges must pick up and return election supplies to the Board of Elections.
  • Put up election signs.
  • Verify voter eligibility.
  • Process voters.
  • Other miscellaneous duties.

Where will I work?

  • Many buildings such as schools, libraries, churches, and township halls are used as polling locations.
  • Every effort is made to place you at a convenient location whenever possible.

How much will I be paid?

Training: Election Day: Mileage: Return w/PJ
Presiding Judges $20.00 $125.00 $10.00
Judges $20.00 $ 120.00 $5.00

Checks for the entire amount are mailed from the Auditors office approximately 3 weeks after the election. Taxes will not be deducted and no W-2 form will be issued.

How do I sign up?


PCRTA Social Event: RAGTIME at KSU The next social event for association members and guests is the opportunity to attend the Kent State University stage production of the musical RAGTIME. The date for our attendance will be February 17, 2012, starting at 8:00 pm. RAGTIME is a story about life in America at the beginning of the 20th century.

The show illustrates the issues of the day – from immigration, racism and politics to industrialization and social upheaval. Historical figures mingle with fictional characters. Tickets are $7.00 (group rate).

An additional option is to meet for a 5:45 p.m. seating for dinner at the Pufferbelly Restaurant before the show (each person paying for their meal.) Reservations and $7.00 group rate ticket payment will be needed in advance by February 1st. For more information call John or Sandy Kerstetter at 330-673-0129.