Reitred teachers hear ORTA update

POMEROY — The Meigs County Retired Teachers met May 17 at the Trinity Congregational Church for a noon luncheon. Charlene Rutherford, president, welcomed the group and all recited the pledge to the flag. For devotions Duane Wolfe told the story of “The King and the Young Man.” The moral of the story was people want things in life, but many do not want the responsibility of getting and having them. He sang the song “Handful of Weeds” and had prayer before the meal served by the women of Trinity Church.

Karen Butts of Johnston, Ohio, was the speaker for the group. The Ohio Retired Teachers Association (ORTA) is now divided into five regions and each region has three liaisons. Butts is the third Southeast liaison along with Don Ullmann and Brenda Davis.

She spoke on several issues including:

  • ORTA can offer support to any local RTA attempting to increase membership. They have developed an incentive program that if each local chapter increases membership by 10 percent to ORTA they will receive $100 to the local RTA.

  • ORTA is now able to provide a membership list of ORTA members from each county. This membership list from ORTA includes lifetime ORTA members from that county and ORTA members that pay their annual dues.

  • ORTA can provide a list of STRS beneficiaries for each county in Ohio. This is a valuable tool for inviting retirees to join ORTA.

  • The STRS system is currently funded at 75 percent. This is up from 65 percent the previous year. The increase was due to the changes implemented by STRS. With the loss of COLA and the modifications to eligibility for retirement, it is easy to see why the funding tation is increasing.

  • When will COLA or some alternative form of benefit enhancement return? This is what ORTA is focusing its efforts on.

  • ORTA is also lobbying STRS to not remove a subsidy currently in place for STRS recipients on Medicare. There is a plan in place to eliminate the subsidy of $29 per month on people on Medicare next year. ORTA will oppose this action as it seems crazy to reduce health care benefits when the health care fund is currently at 153 percent funding level. Health care is not a guarantee but it is funded through 2047.

The Meigs Middle School Choir under the direction of Metra Peterson presented several songs which was much appreciated by the group.

The secretary and treasurer’s reports were given and approved.

Becky Zurcher reported that she will be putting an item in the newspaper for applications for the Meigs County Retired Teachers Scholarship. A person must live in Meigs County and be a junior or senior in the teacher education program. They must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, a resume and transcript of grades, three references, a photo and name and address of the college attending. Applications must be back by Aug. 9.

A card of thanks was read from the Meigs High School Career Based Intervention Class for the donation of supplies for the Care By The Stairs project. Donna Jenkins said the group should continue to support the project.

Door prizes were given to Lori Morrison, Connie Gilkey and Carolyn Snowden.

The next meeting will be Sept. 20 at the Wild Horse Cafe. Members are to bring in school supplies and classroom cleaning products and tissues.

Submitted by Janice Weber.