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2016 EM Retired Fall Conference

Go to the News tab, click on photos, and see more pictures of the 2016 Fall Conference!

 By Bobbie Margo

The 2016 Education Minnesota Retired Fall Conference was held September 12-14, 2016 at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge in Deerwood, MN.  The conference opened on Monday night with a reception and a dinner.  The evening’s entertainment was provided by Barry ZeVan, the TV Weatherman on ABC/KSTP.  ZeVan most recently has written, “My Life Among the Giants:  A Memoir.”

Tuesday morning opened with an ESI (Economic Services Incorporated) presentation by ED MN staff person Christine Thornborrow.  The passage of Continuous Membership has brought challenges.  Money is allocated differently, and new retirees actually have to apply for membership in the ED MN retiree group-one must “register.”  This process has been a bit of a problem because email/snail mail addresses are not always up-to-date. 

Christine’s session was followed by a Financial World Update presented by Kent Schutte.  The remainder of the morning was spent in a session entitled, “Chair Yoga, Balancing and Flexibility.”  It was a great session!  However there was nothing at all “flexible” about my participation! 

Afternoon sessions included a legislative update by Jodee Buhr.  Buhr explained that this was a record year for members participating in Lobby Day!!  ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) has replaced “No Child Left Behind.”  However the actual ESSA bill is over 1,000 pages long!!!  Seriously?  Deciphering ESSA will take time and determination.

The next session was retired teacher Diane Dettman.  Dettman has written “Courageous Footsteps:  A World War II Novel.”  The day ended with a social hour, dinner and music provided by Brainerd Guitarist Jim Olsen.


Wednesday’s sessions included the “State of the State” presented by ED MN Treasurer Rodney Rowe. 

Statistics show that 49% of ED MN active members have been members for 5 years or less!  These numbers are staggering; the uppermost thought is to continue to discuss the value of belonging to ED MN and to a union.  The TRA update was presented by Jay Stoffel. 
Our retirement fund is over 100 years old!  This fund pays benefits to 60,000+ retirees.  Bottom line:  we are extremely fortunate to have a defined benefit plan; our enemies continue to attack this benefit plan and continue to push for a contribution plan.  We must always remain vigilant, we must never become complacent.
A HUGE “thank-you” to the Education Minnesota Retired Program Committee for planning this year’s conference; special thanks to Lois Wendt, Myrna Doran, Matt Blewett, Christine Thornborrow, and Betty/Boy Toy!  Thank you for the memories.  See you next year!!


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