Sunday, December 30, 2007

Literary group: more on Island at the Center of the World

Hi Everyone,
For those of you who read Island at the Center of the World, there is an interesting article on the Op-Ed page A29 in the Thurs. 12-27-07 issue by Kenneth Jackson. The article mentions how NYC, when it was still New Amsterdam developed religious tolerance.
From, Marjorie

Editor's note: I recommend this brief article to anyone interested in the issue of religion and its place in politics today. Jackson, in A Colony with a Conscience, offers up the story of early settlers in Flushing, Queens who, in 1657, stood up for a principle they believed in. They still stand tall as role models for us today.

Monday, December 17, 2007

12/18/07: Branch meeting & holiday party -- Simple Gifts

Branch Meeting and Holiday Party

Tuesday, December 18
3 PM, Kingston Library

This year's theme was Simple Gifts. We, ourselves, were the program. People brought and shared readings, poems, songs, and memories that evoked the holidays for them.

In addition, we shared "simple gifts" with the women living in the Homeless Shelter and Domestic Violence Shelter run by Family of Woodstock -- books, board games, puzzles, bath & beauty sets, art supplies, winter hats & gloves, writing supplies

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Introducing Unofficial Passions

We are growing into Web 2.0 and sorting things out as we go. We've concluded that we'll post only our "official" AAUW branch items here.

But, we want a place to share the things that interest us as individuals. A place to post about our passions, events we want to share, , issues we support and want others to support, too. A place to brag about our successes and introduce you to our businesses, books, products, and services.

So, take a look at
Unofficial Passions - Issues and Activities that KAAUW Members Care About

Book mark it; make it a favorite; subscribe for updates.
Contribute, too!

11/27/07: branch meeting on non-violent communication

Update: here's what you missed

Roberta Wall presented some salient features of Non-Violent Communication at a Branch Meeting of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) that took place on November 27th in the Woodstock Library. This system of observing and analyzing human behavior was developed by Marshall Rosenberg who was a protégé of Carl Rogers and utilizes a similar type of empathic listening that was made famous by Rogers.

Behavior is not judged as right or wrong but is viewed as fulfilling needs. When these needs are verbalized and understood, Roberta Wall feels most conflicts do not escalate to violence.

She shared that Marshall Rosenberg witnessed race riots in Detroit as well as experienced virulent anti-Semitism as a child. These experiences prompted him to develop a method of intervention that would reduce conflict. His method has been used in over 60 countries and applied to situations of both social and personal conflict.

Roberta Wall told the group that Non-Violent Communications practitioners learn a set of skills that enable them to listen with empathy and identify the needs of both parties as well as the strategies used by each party to fulfill these needs. She feels that this system allows people to speak and act from awareness of the interconnectedness of all life.

She told the audience of several opportunities in the mid-Hudson Valley for training and further discussion of Non-Violent Communication.


Join us for the Kingston AAUW Branch Meeting.

Date: November 27th
Time: 7pm
Place: Woodstock Library

Topic: Roberta Wall
will present a program on non-violent communications.

About Roberta: Roberta Wall is a lawyer, mediator, teacher and coach. She lives in the beautiful Hudson River Vally of Upstate New York and travels the world coaching couples, individuals and organizations and facilitating workshops and retreats in Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as developed by Marshall Rosenberg.

Roberta uses her 20 years of experience as a lawyer, mediator, coach, teacher, parent and activist in service of peaceful resolution of conflict, individual and organizational growth, and community and spiritual development. Among her students and clients are families in the Hudson Valley, businesses in India, centers in New York City, Mexico, France, California and India, peace activists, court advocates, spiritual communities, teachers, students and healing professionals.

You can read more about Roberta on her website.

Reminder: This meeting is at the Woodstock Library.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Take Action to Correct Elimination of Low Cost Birth Control

Since 1990, drug companies have offered low cost birth control to college health clinics and safety-net providers, making it affordable for the college students and low-income women who rely on it. However, deficit reduction legislation passed by Congress in 2005 which took effect this year inadvertently excluded over 400 clinics from this program.

This means that many women, especially college students, were suddenly and unintentionally excluded from receiving low cost birth control from their local safety-net healthcare provider or university health clinic. Over 3 million undergraduate students have seen their monthly birth control prices skyrocket, from $10 up to $40 or $50.

This sharp rise in the cost of birth control dispensed by college campus health centers and clinics serving low-income women has forced many women to choose between reliable birth control and other necessities. It has also caused many college health clinics to stop providing birth control because they can no longer afford to do so.

Efforts are underway in both the House and the Senate to correct this error. But, the Prevention Through Affordable Access proposal needs public support. You can lend your support by clicking on this link to the Two Minute Activist. (You don't have to be an AAUW member to use this service.)
Photo by Amber Bradley

American Association of University Women - Two Minute Activist:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

LEGAL ADVOCACY FUND: Highlights of our 25 Year History

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Board of Directors votes at the June Convention in Boston, MA for the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund as a two-year pilot program to provide moral and financial support to female plaintiffs in higher education sex discrimination cases. LAF national office staff is an extension of the Public Policy department at AAUW.


AAUW directs the Board of Directors to establish a permanent Legal Advocacy Fund. By 1983, LAF contributed $8,500 to the Cornell 11 (Zahorik, et al. v. Cornell University) and granted support status to two additional cases: Penk, et al. v. Oregon State Board of Higher Education and Haffer v. Temple University.


The LAF Board of Directors initiated Plaintiff Travel Grants with a generous contribution from LAF-supported plaintiff Colleen Roberts (Roberts v. College of the Desert ). These grants fund travel for LAF plaintiffs to speak at state and regional AAUW meetings. Based on the enthusiastic response, LAF continues to make a limited number of Plaintiff Travel Grants each year.


LAF supported its first case to go to the Supreme Court - Lever v. Northwestern University, et al. - a case of denial of tenure based on sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964.


LAF Update begins as a single page article in the winter issue of AAUW Outlook.


LAF recognizes Lani Guinier as its first Speaking Out for Justice honoree at the AAUW June Convention in Los Angeles, CA.

Lani Guinier's 1993 nomination as assistant attorney general for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Justice was withdrawn in a climate of intense controversy. Guinier argued that the existing legal education program in our country serves neither the needs of current students nor the legal profession.

LAF continues to present this award biennially during the AAUW Convention to those who have made a significant contribution to the betterment and well-being of women and whose focus of achievement agrees with the AAUW mission and that of LAF.


LAF makes headlines with Brzonkala v. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, et al. , a landmark rape case that went to the Supreme Court. Brzonkala sued for sexual harassment under Title IX and also for disparate treatment.


LAF releases A License for Bias: Sex Discrimination, Schools and Title IX , a publication issued to dispel the belief that Title IX is a sports equity law and to determine the effectiveness of the current legislation.


AAUW launches Network News, an online publication where LAF network attorneys and experts provide case updates.


LAF and the AAUW Educational Foundation release a joint research report: Tenure Denied: Cases of Sex Discrimination in Academia


LAF supports its 100th case, having provided over $1.3 million in funding for its plaintiffs.

LAF supports its first male case to go to the Supreme Court - Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education. This case is based on sex discrimination and retaliation under Title IX.


LAF supported plaintiff, Dr. Janet Conney is awarded $4 million from her sex discrimination suit against the Regents of the University of California. Conney had sued the university, along with three former male colleagues, for sexual harassment, retaliation, and pay inequity.

For additional information see

Thursday, November 15, 2007

11/15/07: Rembrandt lecture

On 11/15, Bernard Greenwald, art professor at Bard College, gave an informal lecture to a good-sized, receptive audience on how to view Rembrandt's work. The talk, held upstairs at the Kingston Library at 55 Franklin Street, was sort of a "sneak preview" for those who went on the 12/13 trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Greenwald gave a brief history of Rembrandt's life, showed us many examples of Rembrandt's artwork, and also some of his own.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

11/13/07: literary group discussed Stones From the River

On 11/13/07, the literary group met upstairs at the Kingston Library at 55 Franklin Street to discuss Ursula Hegi's book Stones From the River.
Virginia Kohli gave us some background history and information about the author.

Two Minute Activist - Support the Higher Ed Reauthorization Bill

"Thanks to the hard work of AAUW members and coalition partners, we are pleased to announce that the House version of the bill addresses many of the priorities that AAUW has been working on for years to make the dream of a higher education a reality for more women." -- LAF

Take a minute to urge our representatives to support the College Opportunity and Affordability Act.

The House version of the bill incorporates several of our AAUW priorities:
  • Graduate fellowships that will help diversify university faculty
  • Studies of both the gender and other biases in standardized testing and gender and racial equity among senior faculty
  • Campaign to expand the qualified pool of individuals in STEM fields
  • Financial aid for non-traditional students
  • Expand the definition of hate crimes on campus to parallel that used by the FBI
  • Increased support for campus child care programs

Clicking this link will take you to the AAUW Two-Minute Activist page that makes it really easy to send elected officials a message. (You don't have to be an AAUW member.) So, do it now!

American Association of University Women - Two Minute Activist:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bernadette Carpino -- Dedicated AAUW Historian

Bernie joined AAUW in 1972 when she was teaching first grade. AAUW gave her an opportunity to interact with big people from other fields. She has always found the programs and projects to be stimulating.

Now retired, she loves reading and gardening. She's passionate about nature and the environment. She has twin grand-daughters, now thirteen, who live in Virginia. Bernie looks forward to the time they spend with her each year.

As branch historian, Bernie has written some wonderful articles for our newsletter that we hope to publish here on the blog. She keeps up our scrap books and continues to work on our oral history. She notes that she finds the social aspect of AAUW as important as AAUW's commitment to education.

Monday, October 29, 2007

In the Halloween Spirit - a free lecture

I thought I'd pass this link on to all of you. I've bought a lot of their courses over the years -- from the Teaching Company
...Halloween approaches, we are sending you a free online lecture on "The World of Witches" by UCLA Professor Teofilo F. Ruiz. We offer free lectures to our customers at various times throughout the year as part of our goal to provide a lifelong learning experience.

Professor Ruiz (Ph.D., Princeton University) is a medieval history specialist, selected by the Carnegie Foundation in 1994-1995 as one of four Outstanding U.S. Teachers of the Year. He has crafted three courses for The Teaching Company. This lecture is from his course The Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition and is a fascinating exploration of a 16th-century description of how to become a witch.

Click here to access the free lecture.

You may download this lecture and listen to it at your computer, transfer it to your iPod or MP3 player, or burn it to a CD.

Access your free lecture online between now and December 31, 2007. Please feel free to send the lecture link to friends who might also enjoy it. It is free for them as well.

Have any of you taken any of their courses? My very favorite is 'How to Listen to and Understand Great Music.' What's yours?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Abstinence Only Funding Increase Withdrawn

Update from Advocates for Youth

Yesterday, conservative Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) withdrew his amendment to increase funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and the Senate finally approved its fiscal year 2008 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill. The approved bill calls for a $28 million cut in the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program. Once again common sense has prevailed.

But our work isn't over!!

Senate supporters are working hard to keep the CUT in the final bill. But they need your support!

Three months ago the House of Representatives approved a $28 million INCREASE for the Abstinence Education program, even though a 10-year evaluation revealed that abstinence-only programs don't work. (Click here to read more:

Now, the House and Senate have to agree on a final bill. Negotiations are moving quickly. The final bill could be voted out and on the President's desk by November 1st.

Take action today!

Young people deserve accurate and complete information to help them make responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

Please tell your representative: It's time for a change -- Support the Senate's abstinence-only-until-marriage $28 million cut!

Sonya Clay
Domestic Policy Director
Advocates for Youth

Monday, October 22, 2007

Take Action Against Limiting Increases to Abstinence-Only Programs

Here's a message from the Advocates for Youth Site. Their action messages work much the same way AAUW's Two-Minute Activist Site works.

Urgent Action Needed!

Tell Congress to vote NO on abstinence-only funding increases.

Conservatives in Congress want to continue pumping millions of dollars into harmful abstinence-only-until-marriage programs despite the fact that these programs don't work.

As early as today, conservative Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) plans to introduce an amendment to the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations bill to increase funding for the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program, the largest and worst abstinence-only-until-marriage program.

Please contact your Senators today and tell them to vote NO on the Brownback amendment!!!

Young people's health and lives are at risk. They need the facts!!

  • The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world.
  • Young people in the U.S. are also at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
  • Abstinence-only programs are prohibited, by law, from talking about contraceptives EXCEPT to discuss their failure rates.
  • A 10-year congressionally mandated study of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs proved once and for all that these programs don't work.

Young people deserve the truth. Take Action Today!!

Please contact your Senator today and tell them to oppose the Oppose the Brownback Amendment.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

10/23/07: branch meeting on Ulster Regional Drug Treatment Court

On October 23 the Kingston Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) learned about alternatives to prison for substance abusers. Melissa Ortquist of the Ulster County Drug Treatment Court, an alternative sentencing project, presented to the group.

Melissa Ortquist is the Coordinator of the Ulster Regional Drug Treatment Court since its inception 6 years ago. The program is an alternative to incarceration. Substance abusers are supervised in the community, rather than serving time in jail. The program includes weekly judicial monitoring and drug testing. 99 participants have completed the program and about 45 individuals are currently in the program.

Prior to this, Melissa worked for the Ulster County Public Defenders office for 8 years as their drug based advocate, developing individualized alternatives to incarceration plans for indigent justice clients.She has also worked as an environmental and peace advocate with Greenpeace, Clearwater, and Mobilization for Survival.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Even Cindy Crawford...

If you haven't seen this video, you must take a minute right now. Because even Cindy Crawford doesn't look like Cindy Crawford.

And every young girl needs to know that. From the Dove Self-Esteem Fund series.

Thank you, Dove, for shining a light on what women are really like.

Monday, October 15, 2007

10/16/07: literary group discussed Gilead

On 10/16/07, our monthly branch literary group met upstairs at the Kingston Library at 55 Franklin Street. We discussed Marilynne Robinson's book Gilead. Pat Stedge gave us some information about the author.
Photo by Islandboy

Membership Tea held on Sunday, Oct. 14

Our new Membership VPs, Elaine Hammond and Polly Langer, organized a lovely Membership Tea yesterday afternoon at the Woodstock Fire House. Though it was chilly and overcast outside, inside it felt warm and welcoming.

We had a nice mix of long-time members, newer members, and complete newcomers to AAUW. Five people signed up on Sunday, with a few more "in the works"!

After giving us a little time to sip, munch, and mingle, Garnette gathered us in a circle and welcomed everyone. There were about 20 women and one (brave!) man. We went around the room and each of us introduced ourselves. It was an awe-inspiring ensemble. One of our new members even dashed in for an "intermission" between her two afternoon selections at the Woodstock Film Festival. Newcomer Judith Karpova spoke briefly about her experience in Iraq. Janine Fallon Mower noted that we are a group devoted to "social action and social interaction." And that about sums it up!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Nonprofits Still Compensating Women Less Than Men

This chart is only one of several published in GuideStar's Nonprofit Compensation Study. There's no question in this arena that equity is still an issue.

GuideStar - News - Articles - Highlights of the 2007 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report: "Highlights of the 2007 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report The 2007 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report is based on 102,414 observations from 56,228 Forms 990 filed by 501(c) organizations with the IRS for fiscal year 2005. Among the highlights:

  • Median compensation of females continued to lag behind that of males when considering comparable positions at similar organizations.
  • Females held 50 percent of CEO positions at organizations with expenses of $1 million or less but only 34 percent at organizations with expenses of greater than $1 million. Overall, women held 41 percent of the positions reported upon but received only 32 percent of the total compensation.
  • As has been the case in the past few years, female CEOs at larger organizations are making slow but steady progress at closing the gender gap when it comes to compensation. Incumbent female CEOs at organizations with expenses of $25 million or greater had a higher median compensation increase from 2004 to 2005 than males. Results are mixed for smaller organizations."
Read more and review other graphs and charts by clicking the link above.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

CARE :: Defending Dignity. Fighting Poverty.

AAUW is now partnering with Care on several projects. Care invites women to share up to 500 words about the power of education.

CARE :: Defending Dignity. Fighting Poverty.:
"Knowledge is power, and we know one of the best ways to empower women and girls is through education. Inspire others to join the movement by sharing how education has empowered you!"

You can read what others from around the world have submitted here. And, we'd love to publish your submission in our newsletter. You can forward it (and anything else you'd like published) to me, the editor.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Thanks to Peggy Kelland, International Update

At our September branch meeting, Peggy Kelland, NY State AAUW International Affairs Director, announced the new affiliation between AAUW and Care and shared an update on the break between AAUW and the International Federation of University Women. She explained that the IFUW break comes as a result of pure economics. National AAUW, despite our dues, can't afford the IFUW dues and now owes millions.

Peggy also provided an update on the Bina Roy Fund, where most of our branch contributions go.

She discussed AAUW's commitment to primary education for all women, worldwide. I especially liked her explanation why. She said, " When you educate a man, you educate a man; when you educate a woman, you educate a family."

Thanks for joining us, Peggy.

Claire Knickmeyer -- Finding Fellowship

Most important in Claire's life is family. She has ten grandchildren and two great-grandsons that fill her life with meaning.

She joined AAUW in the 1990's "for the fellowship of interesting and vital women -- not for the politics," she says.

Claire is our by-laws chair and also edits the annual membership directory -- that invaluable tool that sits by our phones and computers.

AAUW members are a creative bunch. Claire's no exception. She channels her creativity into a passion for watercolors and pastels.

Doris Goldberg - Inquiring Mind

Doris Goldberg is our most recent bride. Her husband is an AAUW member, too!

Doris is a physician with board certification in pediatrics and public health/preventive medicine. She retired from the NYC Department of Health and now invests much of her time "making art." She's an active member of the Woodstock Artists' Association and specializes in prints and portraits.

That's not where her creative streak ends, though. She loves music and story telling.

Doris is passionate about social justice and literacy. Her commitment to literacy has led her to a position on the Woodstock Library Board.

She joined AAUW for the great intellectual stimulation, the friendship, and the excellent trips.
  • Educational Foundation, 2009-11
  • Interim Co-president, winter 2010
  • Publicity 2007-09

Liz Rosen - Keeping Track of Our Assets

Liz will tell you not all women avoid math. She recently retired from her position as Chief Financial Officer and Systems Officer at the Morgan Library -- a museum and reference library in NYC. Now, we get the benefit. Liz manages our AAUW branch money. She's our treasurer.

Her commitment to equality drew her to AAUW. She has a passion for civil liberties and civil rights. And, peace.

She also quilts and knits as an outlet for her creativity. (Yes, accounting can be creative, too!)

She travels frequently and has two daughters -- and two sons-in-law.

Arlene Bruck -- Exploring the Diversity of the World

Arlene is our AAUW branch Diversity Chair. Her commitment to diversity grows out of her love of foreign travel and her career as an educator. Her on-going fascination with psychology and sociology round out her view of the world.

She's been an AAUW member since 1970 because she values being a part of a community of educated women and she supports post-graduate education for women.

Her passion for foreign travel has taken her on educational tours of Europe for 15 years. And she loves foreign languages -- especially Latin and French.

Arlene was Hudson River Valley Teacher of the Year, 1995, and the International Biography Center's list of Influential Women, 2000. You'll also find her listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in Education.

Andrea Newman-Winston - Stage Manager

Andrea shared the presidency with Garnette for part of 2007-8. She joined AAUW in 2004 because she says she agrees so strongly with AAUW's raison d'etre.

She has a particular passion for education for all.

Professionally she works for the Onteora School District tutoring students who can't attend classes. And, the great love of her life is theater.

Andrea says, " I'm a stage manager who trained in Technical Theater, got an Actors' Equity Card through work at the Falmouth Playhouse back when dinosaurs roamed and electricity was two wires in salt water."

Of course, you can find her managing productions throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley, so she's not so old. She managed Merry Wives of Windsor in Woodstock this past summer.

She notes that she has been widowed for twenty years, raised two children, and got a master's degree in reading while continuing her theater work. And, like most of us at AAUW, she reads, and reads, and reads.

Registration Form 11/28 UN Briefing Effects War on Women

The League of Women Voters of New York State (LWVNYS) and NYS-AAUW
in association with
The United Nations Department of Public Information
Invite You to Attend
on Wednesday, November 28, 2007 from *9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
*LWVNYS AAUW Registration Desk will be open from 9:00 a.m. for tours and luncheon until 12:30 p.m., Briefings will start promptly at 1:00 p.m.* at the United Nations Headquarters in NYC -- First Avenue at 46th Street

City State Zip
Day Phone E-Mail
Members/Students, Please Select Your Organization
O LWV of____________________
O HS/College/University
O Other Co-Sponsoring Organization___________________________________________________
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Optional Tour of the UN $12.00
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Optional Lunch Buffet in the Delegates Dining Room
Includes International Buffet, Dessert Bar and Coffee/Tea only $35.00
UN requires proper attire: jeans, shorts, sneakers will NOT be permitted.
1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Briefings Program in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium
$73 Non-Member $63 Members of Sponsoring Organizations $50 Students $
Discounted fee to members of sponsoring organizations (AAUW) for Tour, Lunch, and Briefing
$ 100
My Check for $____________ is enclosed (make payable to LWVNYS)
Please charge my:________MasterCard ________VISA ________American Express ________Discover
Card Holder’s Name:______________________________________
Signature: ______________________________________
Card Number: ___________________________________________
Expiration Date: _________________________________
United Nations Briefings/LWVNYS**62 Grand Street ** Albany, New York 12207
Fax: 518-465-0812 (Credit Card Registrations ONLY)
E-Mail: with copy to to local Kingston Branch president Garnette Arledge if you want to car pool or share a van directly to UN from Ames Parking Lot leaving at time to be announced.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL: 518-465-4162 or Garnette at 845-679-5246.
For updates on the “Briefings” forum, visit our website: and this AAUW blog.

Louise Flood - Volunteer Extrordinaire!

Sixty-four years a Girl Scout; 33 years in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Historian of the Kingston Rotary, and board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ulster County. AAUW for eight years, 1950-58; rejoined in 2004 to make a contribution in support of women's causes -- the Educational Foundation and the Legal Assistance Foundation.

Louise just compiled a 90 year history of the Kingston Rotary and keeps up the local Girl Scout Council's archives, as well. She reads in every spare moment -- always has.

Always there when needed, Louise has served in many leadership positions. Most recent include --
  • 2008-09 Hospitality Chair
  • Past Regent and current trustee and board member of DAR
  • Secretary of our AAUW branch until this September, 2007
Louise has four children and five grandchildren spread from the Hudson Valley to California. She says "The ultra-sound of my carotids is my only flattering photo."

Because Equity Is Still an Issue

Want to know more about AAUW? Here's a 6-minute video that features several AAUW members discussing why AAUW is important to them.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Just Say Hello

The Kingston AAUW is experimenting with a blog as website. You'll find this site contains lots of information about events, issues, and people that are important to us.

AAUW is all about exploring and learning, so dialog is important. You can use the 'comments' field to share your thoughts on any post. Try it.

To say hello, just click on the word 'comments' below. You'll get a little screen on which to leave your message. You then have to complete a box recognizing the letters so we know you aren't a robot trolling the internet.
Photo by Natascha2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Update: Emergency Contraception

Last week we posted an AAUW Action Network Alert asking for support of the Emergency Contraception Education Act. The act hasn't made it out of Congress. This week, the NYC Public Advocate's Office released a report that reinforces the importance of the act.

NYC teens find access to contraception not so easy, report says -- "The office found more than 60 percent of the clinics failed to have emergency contraception available, 73 percent of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene sites failed to provide birth control by prescription and only seven of the 38 teen health clinics had female condoms readily available."

If this is what women find in NYC, what do you think happens here in Ulster County?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Support the Emergency Contraception Education Act

AAUW Action Network: Support the Emergency Contraception Education Act: "Nearly half of pregnancies of U.S. women are unintended, and four in 10 of those pregnancies end in abortion. Increased access to information about emergency contraception will help reduce unplanned pregnancies, reduce abortions, and improve access to women's health care. In addition, only 12 states currently require hospital emergency rooms to provide emergency contraception-related services to victims of sexual assault, even though it is often the only contraceptive option available to them.

AAUW supports the right of every woman to obtain medically accurate information about and access to safe and comprehensive reproductive health services. AAUW believes that improved pregnancy prevention programs and access to complete reproductive health information and services enhance women's reproductive choices."

Click on the link above to Take Action! by sending a message to your representatives requesting their support of this bill which directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and disseminate information on EC to health care providers-including recommendations on the use of EC in appropriate cases-and to the American people.

In Memory of Dick Hlavsa

Vivi has asked me (Garnette) to let the AAUW membership know the following. Sorry if this duplicates previous emails to you.

"I know all of you would want to know our sad news: Dick Hlavsa died yesterday of injuries sustained during a car crash. He was able to tell the police our phone number, so I got there in time to see and comfort him at the scene of the accident before he was airlifted down to Westchester Trauma Center. When I finally arrived there, I found out that the internal bleeding had been massive, and by the time they had that under control, his heart stopped around 7 PM. David is here now and Lisa and Benjamin are coming later this week.

We are planning a memorial service for him this coming Saturday, September 22nd, from 3 to 5 PM at the Unitarian Congregation on Sawkill Road in Kingston. If you can't make it, I know you will be there in spirit. Please, no flowers. Contributions may be made to Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Love--ViVi"

We all share ViVi's grief. We have lost a friend.
Freeman article

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Urge Senate Ratification of World-Wide Women's Rights - Two Minute Activist

For more than 26 years, the U.S. Senate has failed not only to ratify the UN Women's Rights Treaty (CEDAW), but it has failed to even bring it to a vote. This lack of action is unacceptable.

185 countries have ratified the treaty.

The U.S. is one of only eight countries that have yet to do so. We stand alongside Sudan, Iran, Qatar, Somalia, Nauru, Palau, and Tonga. This is not the example the United States should be setting as a true leader of democracy and freedom around the world.

American Association of University Women - Two Minute Activist: "Take Action! Urge your senators to advocate for basic rights for all women around the world by ratifying CEDAW. Simply click the link, scroll down to the 'Take Action' section and follow the instructions to send your message to your U.S. Senators."

Friday, August 31, 2007

The World's 100 Most Powerful Women -

Take a look at Forbes new list. What does it tell us about the status of women in the world?

The World's 100 Most Powerful Women -
"The World's 100 Most Powerful Women By Elizabeth MacDonald and Chana R. Schoenberger 08.30.07, 6:00 PM ET -- For the second year in a row Angela Merkel, (photo left) the first woman to become chancellor of Germany, ranks No. 1 on our list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women. She continued to impress the world with her cool leadership at two back-to-back summits, and stuck to her principles, getting G-8 leaders to agree to significant cuts in carbon emissions, among other things."

Four of the top ten are in politics/government (only one, Condoleezza Rice, in the US). The others run mega-corporations.

Support the National Women's History Museum Act

Take Action!

The House has been dragging its feet in approving this bill which would pay fair market value to rent a building near the National Mall that is owned by the government and has been vacant for more than a decade. The Senate now has to pass it, again.

Read the background and Take Action!

Although women constitute a majority of the population, their lives, achievements, and contributions are often underrepresented in museums in the U.S. Recognition of the achievements made by American women will promote a better understanding of our history and culture for all. The National Women's History Museum is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and celebrating the diverse historic contributions of women, and integrating this rich heritage fully into our nation's history. In 1999, the President's Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History called for a women's history museum in Washington, D.C. and cited the efforts of the NWHM toward that goal.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Discoveries - US National Science Foundation (NSF)

The web has done more for lifetime learning than the printing press. Okay, that may be debatable. But, it has certainly expanded my range of interests. Take this website, for example. The National Science Foundation offers fascinating, easy to understand snippits about the cutting edge discoveries our tax money supports. It makes for great browsing. Take a look. - Discoveries - US National Science Foundation (NSF): "Discoveries NSF's public investment in science, engineering, education and technology helps to create knowledge and sustain prosperity. Read here about the Internet, microbursts, Web browsers, extrasolar planets, and more... a panoply of discoveries and innovations that began with NSF support."

The Big Read

The National Endowment for the Arts sponsors The Big Read - similar to One Book, One Community that ViVi organized last spring. The NEA provides a vast array of resources including grant money, discussion guides, and audio resources to support communities. Here's the list of books for 2008.

The Big Read: "Nine new books will be added to the Big Read library for 2008. Four titles will be available for the first grant cycle, from January to June 2008: A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines, The Call of the Wild by Jack London, The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick, and for a cross-cultural Big Read, The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy.

Five additional titles will be added for the second grant cycle of 2008, from September to December 2008: Washington Square by Henry James, The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, and Old School by Tobias Wolff."
It's a nice reading list, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Literary Group

The group is open to all AAUW members who enjoy reading and discussing books. New members are always welcome.

The meetings are usually held year round on the third Tuesday of each month, from 1-3 pm, in the Community Room of the Kingston Library.

Fall 2007 Books

September 18: Paradise Alley by Kevin Baker -- The story of the draft riots in 1863 New York City

October 16: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson -- a Kansas family history of the fight between abolitionists and slave holders.

November 13th: Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi -- the fictional account of a dwarf living in Germany between the World Wars

Summer 2007 Books

June: Nana by Emile Zola, the story of Nana, a prostitute, and how family alcoholism can turn into a propensity for vice.

July: Last Man Out by Melissa Fay Greene, author of Praying for Sheetrock. A true story of a coal mining disaster in Nova Scotia.

August: Slaughterhouse Five the late Kurt Vonnegut's anti-war novel

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pay Equity for Some Young Women

From the AAUW Public Policy & Government Relations Dept.
A recently released analysis of U.S. census data shows that young women in certain major American cities are actually earning as much as 117 percent what their young male counterparts earn. The new data shows that women age 21-30 out-earn men in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, and Dallas, according to the New York Times. However, the trend does not hold past the age of 30, and the study does not compare women and men in similar jobs. Possible explanations for the trend point to the fact that more women are graduating college than men and are often flocking to urban areas. Others claim that women are more likely to be ambitious and career-driven earlier in their career in order to position themselves to have children later on.

The AAUW Educational Foundation’s report, Behind the Pay Gap, examines the wage gap between men and women nationwide and shows that just one year out of college, women working full time already earn less than their male colleagues, even when they work in the same field. Ten years after graduation, the pay gap widens.

ACTION: AAUW strongly supports legislation that seek to end wage discrimination and close the persistent and sizable wage gaps between men and women, and minorities as well. If you haven’t yet done so, please use AAUW’s Two-Minute Activist online to urge your members of Congress to support the Fair Pay Restoration Act (S. 1843) - the companion to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (H.R. 2831) - as well as the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1338/S. 766) in the House and in the Senate. To learn more about pay equity, read AAUW’s position paper.

Photo by beckytekkie

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Summer Whimsey with Shakespearean Laughs

From Andrea Newman-Winston, Branch Co-President:

Greetings and salutations fellow puddles of summer heat.

Let me offer you entertainment that can only occur in the summer, the outdoor theatre. In the middle of July, a stage comes to life right here in lovely Woodstock on the “front” lawn of the old Comeau property. You’ll find manicured lawn, the shade of one (but only one) rather large tree, and, this year, a whimsical piece of Shakespeare entitled “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

First, pack a picnic for you and your family and friends before leaving the house so there is no doubt that the food will be wonderful and to your taste.

Then, find a lively romp through the streets of Windsor as only Shakespeare can deliver. The characters weave a tale to laugh at – applaud one husband for his level-headed approach to the problem. Enjoy the other, almost the buffoon for the machinations through which he finds himself.

You will find yourself rolling on the grass, or, at least, chuckling, at the entertainment.

Bring chairs, blankets, food, friends and your sense of humor. The admission can’t be beat, it is free. (They do pass a basket around in the style of Elizabethan theatre.)

“The Merry Wives of Windsor plays at the Comeau property every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 5:00 PM, from now until Labor Day. The show lasts about two to two and a half hours, assuming the weather is with us.

Please join us and rediscover your fine sense of the ridiculous with Shakespeare this summer.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Take Action: Support Paid Family Leave

The US is one of only five countries out of 173 that still don't guarantee some form of paid maternity leave. The other four countries? Lesotho, Liberia, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea.

Every day, families across the United States are forced to choose between taking care of a seriously ill child or working for the paycheck that covers that child's medication.

Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Ted Stevens (R-AK) have introduced legislation to provide up to eight weeks of paid leave to workers needing time off due to birth or adoption, or to care for a child, spouse or parent with a serious illness, or for their own serious illness.

The AAUW Action Network Two Minute Activist posted a request this morning that we take action -- urge our senators to co-sponsor and support the Family Leave Insurance Act (S. 1681).

To read more and take action (It only takes two minutes to act!)
Photo by Bob Reck

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

What is RSS?

Jane Riley asked what the RSS and Atom codes in the sidebar to the right are for. I didn't answer because it's complicated to explain in writing. But I just found this video from CommonCraft that explains it quite well.

Take a look. See whether RSS is something you'd like.

Friday, July 27, 2007

International Committee Report - July 2007

Jeanne Townsend reports:

Our Branch has contributed $1,000 to the IFUW Bina Roy Projects. We gave $250 to four countries.

Zimbabwe-A national scholarship program aims to assist girls whose families cannot afford to continue to keep them at school. Many are sponsored to take exams which enable them to go to university.

Sierra Leone- This is a country where many girls do not go to school at all, or are taken out prematurely because of the cost of their education. This is compounded by the devastating civil war. This scholarship supplies one or more of the following, tuition, books, study materials, uniforms, examinations ,lodging and transportation.

Cameroon- Cameroon continues to advocate for the improvement of the status of girls and women, to encourage life-long learning and to encourage female graduates to use their expertise to effect change in society. They give awards to motivate high school students who have excelled both academically and through their sporting successes.

Bangladesh.-Health, education and vocational project for women and children living in a rural community. Emphasis on primary education, literacy courses and tailoring skills.

Sept. '07 Meeting: The Kodi Children of Miyuga, Kenya

Last September our speaker was Christine Dinsmore who spoke to us about the Kodi Kids of Miyuga, Kenya.
The father of these five children died and their mother is ill. An uncle promised his brother on his deathbed that he would make sure the children finish school. Christine Dinsmore has rallied Ulster County to "adopt" them. She will give us an up-to-date picture of this family and their needs. There are two additional projects that are looking for support. One is to bring safe water to the village and the other supplies solar cookers and training to women in the village. It is possible that the uncle can also join us.

David Marrell explained the difficulties families in Miyuga face in ensuring they have wood for cooking and water for sustenance and cleaning.He is working to provide solar cookers and hopes to drill a well in the town.

Peggy Kelland, the NYS AAUW International Officer,
answered many of our questions on AAUW International Projects and the new relationship between AAUW and CARE.

Convention Attendees Affirm Bylaws Changes

Thanks to Jeanne Townsend for sending this on for posting:

In case you both missed this, it looks as if our efforts to bring about one member/one vote have succeeded--that we will not have to attend a national convention to have our voices heard. A big cause for celebration! But regarding the complete separation of IFUW, I'm so glad we have your committee, Jeanne, to find our own links to this important work of helping women abroad.

Best wishes--ViVi

Sweeping changes to AAUW’s organizational structure were approved on Sunday, July 1 at the National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. Passed by a unanimous vote, the dramatic changes will move the organization forward.

The largest alteration is structural in nature—AAUW and the AAUW Educational Foundation will combine most their assets and programs to work effectively around a single mission. There will be one board of directors for this new conglomeration. Between now and 2009, a transitional board of directors will oversee the changeover. AAUW will be better positioned to proceed in a sustainable and successful way.

In other changes, online balloting was approved realizing a “one member, one vote” system for future elections. Maximum terms for elected officials, new procedures for filling vacancies, a new audit committee and restructured nominating committee also comprised the bylaw changes. Finally, all references to the International Federation of University Women have been struck from the bylaws except for the acknowledgement of international reciprocity.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July Board Meeting

Yesterday the branch board met for the July meeting. I filled in as recording secretary for Louise Flood but I forgot to ask whether I could post the minutes here so everyone could stay up-to-date. If it's okay, I'll post a pdf of them when they're finished.

But, as you can see if you scroll down or click on the 'Member Profiles' label, I took lots of pictures to help get the members' profiles underway. (These are my descriptions and I'll gladly change the picture and/or the text when you send me your own profile.)

The board got their first look at this blog and a lesson in how to post events on the calendar and make comments. I'm waiting to see how good my teaching is.

Susan Holland - A bit of everything

Susan Holland has been Kingston AAUW's webmaster. She's joining forces with Ruth Wahtera to develop a communications committee. Would you like to join us?

Our challenge? To integrate the web and written communications, ensuring everyone can stay posted whatever their preferred method of communication.

Susan is a technical writer for IBM. We guess all that training at U Mass and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute paid off!

  •  Public Policy Chair, 2010-11
  • Interim Co-president, Winter 2010
  • Recording Secretary, 2008-09, 2007-08
  • Web master and co-chair, Communications Committee, 2008-09, 2007-08
  • NYS District 5 Coordinator

Kathy Pauker, Corresponding Secretary

Kathy Pauker joined AAUW because she found kindred spirits -- people who share an interest in the world around them and especially the issues confronting women today.

Kathy will serve as our corresponding secretary this year.

Jeanne Townsend, Liaison with the World

Jeanne Townsend keeps the branch up-to-date on AAUW's international work.

Traveling must be in her blood. She has served as the Trip Treasurer for some time.

She hails from upstate New York and attended Cornell University.

Elaine Hammond, Always Ready for a Challenge

Elaine Hammond stepped right up to the plate to help out. She's a new member and a new officer.

Elaine is a retired clinical nurse specialist (RN). She may be retired, but she's busy. In addition to AAUW she volunteers at Meals-on-Wheels, for the ACLU, and SERVE.

Elaine likes a challenge -- she has decided it's time to master the computer. We expect to see her posting to the blog in a month or two.She spends her quiet time painting in oils and reading. She also loves to travel.

AAUW leadership activities:
  • 2008-09; 2007-8 Elaine shares the membership vice presidency with Polly Langer.

Denise Springer -- Ooo-La-La!

Dennis Springer still speaks to us with a bit of a French accent. She grew up in France, attended the Sorbonne, and continues her career teaching French as a foreign language.

She is passionate about music and the great outdoors. She supports the Ulster Chamber Music Society and the John Burroughs Society. She swims, gardens, and walks to be outside.

And, like most AAUW members, she loves to read. You'll find her at our book discussion group each month.

She adds an international perspective to all our discussions.

AAUW leadership activities:
  • 2008-9 - Corresponding Secretary
  • 2007-08 Hospitality Chair

Meet Bette Nitzky

Rumor has it Bette knows everyone in Ulster County. She broke records as our membership VP because she never hesitates to reach out to people. She picks up the phone and makes you feel welcome.

If Bette isn't at a meeting, she's off to some exotic spot around the world. Or maybe in Albany grading Regents Exams. Or having her knees replaced.

  • President, 2009-2011
  • VP for Programs, 2008-09
  • VP for Membership, 2006-07
  • NYS AAUW Hall of Fame for Membership

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Kingston AAUW Newsletter Archive

Help More Women Manage the Cost of College

Update: On Tuesday, July 10, the White House threatened to veto the bill. Despite the 47 Republicans who joined the 226 Democrats who voted for the bill in the House, the bill fell 17 votes short of the amount needed to override a presidential veto.

Higher education has become less of a luxury and more of a necessity in the American economy. The cost of college escalates each year. Women are more likely to borrow for their education than men and will make less on average after graduation. As a result, female graduates are more likely to struggle with their loan debt.

AAUW believes access to higher education is imperative to helping women obtain financial security and economic independence. We ask you to take two minutes to support pending legislation that will make the cost of college more manageable.

Both chambers of Congress will soon be voting on bills that will substantially alter America's financial aid system. The College Cost Reduction Act (H.R. 2669) in the House and the Senate companion bill, the Higher Education Access Act (as yet unnumbered) seek to overhaul the student aid and debt relief system and make college more affordable for students and their parents.

The Senate is also considering the Higher Education Amendments (S. 1642), which would reauthorize the Higher Education Act.

Take Action!
Urge your members of Congress to pass these college affordability reform bills to reduce the barriers many face in attending college. Read more and use AAUW's Two Minute Activist to send a message to our elected officials.

Read AAUW's position paper on the HEA and our recommendations submitted to the House and Senate.
Photo by Lesliebyk