Retired conference canceled, other updates 

By Ginny Bosse, President
WEAC Retired/Region 10


Greetings fellow retired WEAC members! I have written and rewritten many different opening messages over the past several weeks as the COVID-19 virus began to rear its ugly head, creating the Earth’s worst pandemic in over a century. While no one can say for certain how this will play out, we do know that we all can help “flatten” the pandemic’s curve. This means that WEAC planned events that were to take place before that date are either cancelled, postponed or will be held virtually.

WEAC-Retired Conference Canceled
Because we are considered to be a vulnerable population, our WEAC-Retired Annual Meeting and Conference, scheduled for May 7, has been cancelled. Everyone who had already registered received notice of the cancellation and their registration fees will be refunded. The Annual Meeting, which is required by our Constitution and Bylaws, will be held in some way at a later date. Stay tuned!

WEAC RA Status
After much consideration, WEAC will not hold an in-person Rep Assembly on April 25 at the Chula Vista. WEAC leaders believe this is the best decision to protect the health of our members and their families. WEAC is working to determine whether to hold the RA virtually or at a later date.

Pat Schmidt Receives Top Honor        
I am so proud of our very own Pat Schmidt, member of CWUC-Retired, who won the Tenia Jenkins Activist Award. A Wautoma music teacher for 41 years before retiring, Schmidt has spent her retirement advocating for students, public schools and educators. A passionate activist, she helps organize and train members in legislative advocacy across the aisles, noting there is no place for partisanship in our public schools. Congratulations, Pat!

 Ask for Your Mail-In Ballot Today
Currently, registered voters may request a mail-in ballot until April 2, the Thursday before the election. There is less than a week to order yours, so go to myvote.wi.gov/voteabsentee now. As of today, a person may also register online until March 30. This is a very important election, as the Court decides many cases that impact students and public schools. WEAC recommends Jill Karofsky for Wisconsin Supreme Court and Judge Lisa Neubauer for Wisconsin Court of Appeals District II. Find out why at weac.org/elections and see our flier here.

NEA Recommends Joe Biden for President
NEA has announced their recommendation of former Vice President Joe Biden for President. Join Educators for Joe 2020 Now.
 About UsYou are receiving the WEAC Region 10/Retired e-newsletter, Keeping in Touch Online, because you are a member of WEAC Region 10/Retired. Send your feedback to Region10@weac.org.

Executive Committee
President Ginny Bosse, Park Falls; Vice President Tom Zigan, Milwaukee; Secretary/Treasurer Carol Krogmann, New Berlin; Membership Coordinator Mary Jarvis, Wausau; and At-Large Representative Marlene Ott, Greendale. 

Looking for a job? 
The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting to fill thousands of temporary positions across Wisconsin to assist with the 2020 Census count. Jobs with the 2020 Census will help ensure Wisconsin has a complete count and will inform how billions of dollars are distributed for hospitals, schools, roads, and more. Jobs with the 2020 Census offer great pay, flexible hours, paid training, and a chance to help keep moving Wisconsin forward together.

For more information about 2020 Census jobs or help applying, please call 1-855-JOB-2020 or go to http://2020census.gov/jobs.

If you have questions, please contact Joanna Beilman-Dulin, 608-267-7873, joanna.beilmandulin@wisconsin.gov.

Additionally, the U.S. Census Bureau has an interactive map that reflects 2020 Census recruiting goals by county in all states. If you select Wisconsin and hover your mouse over a particular county, you will see a box pop up that provides that county’s percent goal achieved and the current rate for census taker jobs in that county.
 
SARAH SAYS  
 By Sarah Borgman, NEA Retired President 
At last, March and the hope of SPRING and for better things ahead! By now we’re already tired of campaign rhetoric on both sides, BUT I trust we never tire of speaking up for our profession and the educators and students related to public education. Sometimes it might seem that what little difference one person can make is minimal, but one and then another and yet one more can add a strong voice to our education concerns. As Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, never give up!”        

At a recent committee meeting, I heard a staffer say, “We need to ask members to belong, not join.”  I like belonging, being a part of something big, and never forget that we are BIG.  We are NEA-Retired. Our commitment continues, and we are needed now—MORE THAN EVER!                              
Calling all Quilters!                                                      
The staff at NEA TODAY for Retired Members would like to write an article on quilters and our NEA-Retired quilt activity. (Every year at the NEA RA, NEA-Retired members raise money for the Fund for Children and Public Schools (the NEA PAC), through a Quilt Raffle. All NEA members could enter without making a donation, but this has been the NEA-Retired way to raise funds for so long that there is a specific envelope in your Pac packet in which to put your donation (or not) and then turn in at the NEA-Retired booth in exchange for a ticket for the drawing.)                                             

If you know any member who quilts, please tell them to contact Cindy Long at clong@nea.org.  She really wants some firsthand information.                                         
How does this celebrated American art form help tell the story of culture and tradition, family, and community?  Please email Cindy Long and share photos of your work! clong@nea.org    
   
Fair Maps Wisconsin – An Organizing Opportunity
In Wisconsin, the State Legislature has constitutional authority when it comes to apportionment and districting. These legislative districting maps have traditionally been drawn by the party that is in power in the state legislature after the Census every 10 years. In most cases, this has resulted in Congressional district boundaries that favor the party who won the most seats in the state legislature. Both Democrats and Republicans have taken advantage of this situation.

In many states, Congressional maps are drawn by a non-partisan commission that creates a map of more equal and fair representation. In Wisconsin, we now have the chance to do the same thing. Governor Tony Evers has signed an Executive Order creating a non-partisan People’s Maps Commission to draw the next set of Congressional maps for the state of Wisconsin. Many communities have been able to get their county boards to pass resolutions in favor of fair maps. Some counties and municipalities have even arranged to have fair maps appear as a non-binding referendum for the April 7th spring election.

Please get involved with a group near you and advocate for a process that will create equal representation for all Wisconsin citizens. Don’t know of such a group near you? Go to https://www.fairelectionsproject.org/fair-maps-wi/ to find the Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition members’ links. You will also find a link to Gerrymandering 101-How United States elected officials have legally rigged elections years before they happen. Another link, Whitford Case, gives the history of the legal battle over Wisconsin’s redistricting following the 2010 US Census. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has a Ban Gerrymandering Toolkit, and the lead story of the Feb/Mar 2020 edition of their Big Money Bulletin is about counties and municipalities that have passed and/or are trying to pass a Fair Maps referendum. Fair Maps WI advocacy groups have been formed in every Congressional District in Wisconsin, with Carlene Bechen of Wisconsin Voices as state coordinator. Contact her at carlene@wisconsinvoices.org or go directly to http://bit.ly/FairMapsSignUp to sign up. Wisconsinites deserve fair and equal representation! 

Ireland’s Aran Island Cliffs
Travel de Glenn

First Time to Europe? Try Ireland

By Glenn Schmidt
   
My friend Jerry and his wife had never been to Europe before. They identified Ireland as the place to celebrate a significant wedding anniversary and asked me to help. A good choice, I thought.         

After a few preliminary questions, I asked how they planned to get around. Jerry thought maybe they would bicycle around the Emerald Isle. I’m sure I turned white. “Only if you have a death wish,” I managed to reply.                                     
                
If you’ve driven on left-handed British roads you know how narrow they can be and how hedgerows and stone fences squeeze the roadway to the bare minimum. Irish roads add one more feature—ninety degree turns every few hundred yards, meaning one blind corner after another. It all adds up to a very scary bike ride.                               
Jerry asked, “Well, what about public transportation, such as trains?” There are some, I replied, but they mainly fan out from Dublin, making travel between places other than Dublin pretty tedious.        

That leaves car rental. It can be a little scary at first, but a car does allow you to get to the places you went to Ireland to see: the Cliffs of Moher, Kylemore Abbey, and the Neolithic burial grounds at Newgrange, for example.     

Seeing Ireland by car also allows you to take advantage of an outstanding system of bed and breakfasts, most of which are reachable no other way. Go on TripAdvisor for advice on some good ones.                                           
     
Driving can be fairly expensive, however, and good insurance coverage is a must. Don’t be surprised if the insurance costs more than the car. Check out insuremyrentalcar.com for car insurance that isn’t so pricey.           
                                     
Ireland has a lot of plusses though, which makes the transportation hassle worth it. It uses the euro, which is currently a relative bargain at $1.08 per euro. They speak English with a lovely accent, are seriously friendly and more interested in your heritage than you are.                         

The best fare I found for peak summer travel on Google Flights was $730 from Chicago to Dublin. Add about $100 to that if you want to check luggage and pick out your seat.

Don’t Let Your Nest Egg Get Poached
Have you been told you need to move your retirement account because you’re no longer working? Tempted to invest in something that may sound a little too good to be true? Before you do anything, stop and get the facts. 

Perhaps you’ve been contacted by an investment broker and have heard something like this:“You can’t stay in your current plan now that you’re retiring, so you’ll have to move it.”“This new account will double in 10 years.”“It’s only a 1% fee to rollover.”“I don’t charge a fee for planning.”While these statements may not be untrue, they may omit some of the facts. Whether this is by choice or through carelessness on their part, it’s critical to know if you’re missing some very important information needed to make the best decision for your circumstances. If you’re considering making a move with your retirement account, we have some guidance for you to follow so you can be aware of some potential consequences of your choices as you navigate this important financial consideration.

Keep your emotions in check
One of the most common emotions driving our money decisions is fear. Emotions can be useful in driving people to take action, but they can also lead to disastrous results if they drive the decision. And educators in particular are natural helpers. It’s common to feel obligated to use the services of someone they know. But you have the right to make your own decisions on who you want to do business with. Don’t let your emotions take over your decision-making process and potentially jeopardize your financial security.