The Branch

Poughkeepsie Branch of the

American Association of University Women, Inc.

P.O. Box 1908, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601


Volume 24, Number 5                           Our 56th year of publication.               January 2011



  Online Calendar at

3     Word Games: 2:00 pm

       Hostess: Barbara Van Itallie (462-3924)

       Coordinator: Eleanor Aronstein (462-6452)

4     Fun at Five: 5:00 pm

       Kwanzaa Celebration

       Hostess: Gwen Higgins (452-5931)

RSVP to Event of the Diversity Initiative

Chairs: Wendy Maragh Taylor (473-7484) & Sherre Wesley (462-4945)

6     Gourmet: Out & About: 6:30 pm

       Bull and Buddha, Main St., Poughkeepsie

Contact: Jeanette Cantwell (452-4188)

8     Board Meeting: 9:00 am (note changes)

Perkins Restaurant, 1576 Rte. 9, Wappingers

8     Bridge For Beginners: 10:00 am-12:30 pm

       Hostess: Donna Reichner Mintz (298-7732)

       Please response to coordinators (y/n).

       Coordinators: Donna Reichner Mintz &

               Betsy Vivas (485-2370)

10   “The Branch” deadline for February

11   My Sister’s Keeper Planning, see page 7

12   General Membership Meeting, see page 1

14  Daytime Literature: 10:00 am

       Book: Still Alice

       by Lisa Genova

Hostess: Jackie Prusak (226-6049)

Coordinators: Diana Gleeson (229-8458)

              & Tiz Hanson (229-9394)

15   Trekkers: 9:00 am (snow date 1/22)

Vassar College, use Raymond Ave parking, meet just outside main entrance.

       Organizer: Karen Haynes (297-5700)

       Coordinator: Karen Haynes (297-5700)

17   Manderley Literary Society: 7:30 pm

       Book: Greeks and Romans Bearing Gifts

       by Carl J. Richard

       Hostess: Helen Buhler (473-0665)

       Coordinator: Ellie Burch (297-7828)

19   Bridge I: 1:00 - 4:00 pm

       Hostess: Mary Ann Ryan (897-9679)

Coordinators: Linda Ronayne (897-9745)

              & Mary Ann Ryan (897-9679)


Calendar continued on page 2.


       Madame Butterfly 


Come thrill to the music and words of Giacomo Puccini!


7:00 pm

                January 12, 2011


       St John’s Lutheran Church



Performed by members of the Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra under the direction of their conductor Kathy Beckmann

This presentation is designed to give AAUW members a taste of the wonderful music the Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra (NDSO) brings to our area and to encourage them to attend a full length concert. The singers are professionals and the music is glorious. For our

January 12 program, Kathy Beckmann and one or two singers will perform excerpts from Madame Butterfly followed by a Q & A session.


On January 22, 2011, NDSO will present the full opera, Madame Butterfly, at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in Hyde Park


The Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra owes its existence to the vision and energy of Kathleen Beckmann, its founder and artistic director. Kathleen recently retired from the position of orchestra and string teacher at FDR High School in Hyde Park. She founded the Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra in 2005 and has been presenting concerts in this area since then. In addition to her duties as artistic director of the NDSO, Kathleen has conducted orchestras in Eastern Europe, specifically in Bucharest, Rumania and Kharkiv, Ukraine.


Kathleen graduated from Crane School of Music and holds a Masters Degree in Music Performance from SUNY Fredonia. She has studied conducting with several well known conductors, including John Farrer and Neil Thomson at the Royal College of Music in London.


See page 3 for more about the opera.


Questions: Eleanor Aronstein 462-6452 or


Calendar Continued... 

Online Calendar at

20   All those books...: 7:00 pm

          Book: A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

Hostess: Naoko Ojio (452-8078)

       Coordinator: Carol Loizides (452-3208)

21   Art on the Go: 10:30 am See page 9

       Dia in Beacon, Fee $8/$6, Limit of 20

       Optional lunch at Beacon Falls

       Reservations: Carol Loizides

       Coordinator: Mary Coiteux (226-8275)

24    “Tips and Tricks”

Calling all Interest Group Coordinator and members who would like to start an Interest Group

       See page 6.

25   Aventures en Soleil: 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm - see page 4

Planning Meeting with hors d’oeuvres & dessert

       St John’s Lutheran Church, Wilbur Blvd, Poughkeepsie

       Reservations: Peggy Lombardi (635-9091)

       Coordinators: Peggy Lombardi (635-9091) &                   Ruth Sheets (473-6202)

25   Professional Women’s Networking: 5:30-7:30 pm

       Renewing in the New Year, Wendy Maragh Taylor

       Dress comfortably.

       Coordinators: Kim Butwell &

           Jacqueline Goffe-McNish

26   Mah Jongg: 1:00 - 4:00 pm

       Hostess: Emily Moran (345-9876)

       Coordinators: Amy Schwed (462-2269) &

              January - March: Gerri DiPompei (635-2050)

26   Contemporary Literature: 7:30 pm

       Book: The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

Hostess: Nancy Grucza (298-2344)

       Coordinator: Ann Wade (229-5267)

27   Bridge II: 1:00 - 3:30 pm

       Uno, Brunch, Lesson and Bridge ($15)

       Coordinators: Cathy Kinn &

              Janet White (462-6675)

27   Pins & Needles: 7:00 pm

       Card Making, $2, led by Pat Luczai 

       Hostess: Jane Toll (463-2712)

       Coordinators: Jane Toll (463-2712)

       Contact: Joanne Scolaro (223-7267)

Cuisine: 6:30 pm

       Please call Coordinator for information

Coordinator: Betty Olson (889-4836)

Tee Off Play will continue in the Spring.

Coordinators: Dorothy Evangelista (677-9046) &

               Linda Ronayne (897-9745)  



Check your email each day!







Feb 9 Identity Theft & Protecting Your Personal Information, 7 pm, Kim Butwell. See page 6.

Feb 26   Professional Women’s Networking Ball p. 5

Apr 10 Writers’ Tea - See page 3, 4 & 9.

Apr 15-17 AAUW-NYS Convention, Long Island.

May 22 AAUW Sunday afternoon concert at The Howland Cultural Center in Beacon.

June 16-19 AAUW National Convention, Wash., DC









Geeta Desai *297-7589 *


Some people say that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is society’s great equalizer. What they mean, I suppose, is that the Internet in particular provides unprecedented access to education, recreation, entertainment, self-expression, personal, professional, business and social development opportunities to more people around the world than ever before. And it does. But it has far from leveled the playing field for all Americans, particularly American women.


By 2004, the Internet had been available to the American public for ten years and 50.6% of the entire American population was online. Concerns on the part of the US Department of Commerce about a digital divide between men and women were quelled when it was announced that 52% of American women were online. This means that 52% of women are presumably taking advantage of the limitless potential of the world wide web. But what about the remaining 48% of American women, why are they not online? The reasons are achingly familiar: Unemployment and poverty, lack of education, and low income. Where a woman happens to live may also prevent her from going online because broadband penetration in the poorer neighborhoods is sparse. According to the 2008 Digital Economy Fact Book, of the 39 million American homes without Internet access, only 8 million have a computer, and many of these 8 million are unlikely to subscribe to an Internet service even at very low cost.


Regarding the women who are online, social scientists are asking an even more profound question, one that goes beyond owning a computer or even being online. The question that is being asked is, “What is the width and depth of Internet usage by American women?” In other words, are women using the Internet to create physical and spiritual health, wealth, and mental well being? Are they meaningfully participating within the larger online community to further their personal and professional growth? Surprisingly enough, a very large number of women regardless of their ethnicity and color, household income levels and education, confess to limiting their use of the Internet to sending and receiving emails.




I think that we, women, must understand what Information and Communications Technology can represent to us in today’s society. While it represents access to a world of opportunities and knowledge, importantly, it can represent another path towards gender equity. If we can use the tools, applications and services that are used to distribute, process and transform information, more fully, more thoughtfully, we can enhance and proliferate networks for women that support education, personal and professional advancement, social inclusion and social justice.


So, in the coming New Year, let us make three resolutions on this subject: First, let us expand our own knowledge of computers and information technology so that we can better serve ourselves and our branch. Second, let us look for ways to help all women get connected. Third, let us try to understand the role that technology can play in the advancement of gender equity for women.



Gloria Ghedini


The Writer’s Tea on April 10, 2011, will be hosting three very exciting authors. This is an event not to be missed!


Harvey Keyes Flad could be considered a renaissance man. A geographer by profession (professor ex-emeritus of Vassar), he served in the Peace Corps in Nigeria and is also an active environmentalist. Mr. Flad will be speaking about his most recent book, Main Street to Mainframes: Landscape and Social Change in Poughkeepsie.


Mia Mask is currently an Associate Professor of Film at Vassar College and previous was a Visiting Professor of Film Studies at Yale University. She will be speaking about her book, Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film.


John Pielmeier, playwright and screenwriter, began his career as an actor. He received an award for the television movie Choices of the Heart about murdered American missionaries in El Salvador. His Agnes of God, the topic of his speech, was nominated for various Oscars, including Best Supporting Actress.


Thank you, Naoko Ojio


The members of the Diversity Initiative and other AAUW members that joined us for our first “Fun at Five” would like to thank Naoko for a beautiful evening on Dec. 6. The Japanese Tea Ceremony that she presented to us was extremely elegant and peaceful. We felt refreshed and ready for the holidays!










A little history from online at


Madame Butterfly originated in a story by John Luther Long and was adapted for the stage by David Belasco. The play premiered with great success in New York in 1900, then crossed the Atlantic for a London production where it was seen by Giacomo Puccini. Puccini's first version of the opera failed at La Scala in 1904, but a revised version was successful the same year, the version that we hear today, one of the most frequently produced operas in the entire repertory.


Butterfly is different from many operas. It is intimate, devoid of spectacle, taking place completely within a house in Nagasaki. There is one straight plot line, without subplots. Girl wins boy, girl loses boy, girl commits hara kiri. What makes the piece work are the characterizations of Butterfly and her Captain Pinkerton, both in the drama and in the rich and luscious Puccini score.


From when we first meet Pinkerton, a dashing officer in the United States Navy, it is clear that the man is a philandering heel, infatuated with the fifteen year old Butterfly, cognizant of her fragility, but "not content with life unless he makes his treasure the flowers on every shore." He says as he compares her to a butterfly, "I must pursue her even though I damage her wings."


The stage for the tragedy is set. We meet the beauteous Cio-Cio San, not a complete innocent - she has been a geisha, after all - but nonetheless fragile, unworldly, and in love with the handsome sailor. She deceives herself, despite abundant warnings, as to Pinkerton's motives.


The tale unfolds with well written dialogue, sung to music which captures the feelings of love and yearning and pain, raising the entire experience into the realm of great art, transcendently moving. This simple plot provides the vehicle for the arias of love and loss and hope and despair, the stuff of which the very best operatic music is made.


Butterfly is a staple of the standard operatic repertoire for companies around the world and it is the most-performed opera in the United States, where it ranks as Number 1 in Opera America's list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America.


More about NDSO 

The Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra is a professional orchestra which presents three concerts each season. In the fall, there is a symphonic concert with an instrumental soloist; in January there is an opera performance which features singers in costume and some staging; in June there is a Pops concert which focuses on audience participation and dance.















A “Save the Date” will be sent by email in January. Please forward it to all friends and family you think would be interested in attending. I ask that you remove my email before sending it. But please do send it! The success of the Writers’ Tea depends on you! Last year we raised $6000 - let’s top that on April 10th. Those without email - please give your friends a call!

              Thank you, Margaret Nijhuis                                       







Peggy Lombardi *635-9091*


Our “Soleil” Interest Group plans a trip for each month of the year - members travel together, tour together and often lunch together. The planning for 2011 will take place:


Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 1:00 PM

St. John’s Lutheran Church

Wilbur Blvd, Poughkeepsie


Everyone is welcome at the annual planning meeting. Bring an hors d’oeuvre or dessert and great ideas for day trips you would like to take. Further information will be available in January. Any questions call Peggy Lombardi at 635-9091.




Harvey Flad and “Main Street to Mainframes…” 

Bonnie Kieffer *297-4245*


This is the first in a series of three articles highlighting the authors who will be featured at our Writers’ Tea, April 10, 2010 at Dutchess Golf and Country Club.


At our second annual Writers’ Tea, AAUW will present Harvey Keyes Flad, one of the two co-authors of “Main Street to Mainframes: Landscape and Social Change in Poughkeepsie” (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2009). As co-author along with Clyde Griffen of this rich, fascinating view of the small/moderate-sized urban area we know as Poughkeepsie, these two Vassar College colleagues worked for five intensive years in research and writing about the 1900’s to the present time. Having spent 30 years of teaching at Vassar in the urban studies program, Dr. Flad, who is Emeritus Professor of Geography at Vassar College, used his teaching time with students viewing, researching, and studying the cultural and historic landscape, as well as the environmental and urban planning, of Poughkeepsie. Dr. Griffen then suggested that along with his own interest in and teaching of the American studies program, they join forces and put it all together in a book, since there was not much written of twentieth century urban history.


When asked what his favorite part of Poughkeepsie history was, Dr. Flad responded, “as a geographer and (one) concerned about changing landscape, the history of urban renewal…speaks to me… (especially) 1955-1975… with one part of that the growing role of the suburbs….” He stated, “all had left the center of the city (housing, retail, etc.)” and this “special mobility” interested him.


Dr. Flad received his PhD from Syracuse University and taught courses in Geography and American, Environmental, and Urban Studies at Vassar College from 1972 to 2004. He has focused on cultural and historic landscapes and environmental and urban planning in America. He has published extensively, with one of the most recent articles dealing with the Hudson River School of Art.


The attendees will have an opportunity to not only ask Dr. Flad questions, but to also purchase his book at the Writers’ Tea.


Writers’ Tea

April 10, 2011

Mark your calendar!



AAUW Professional Women’s Networking Group


Cordially invites all of our fellow AAUW members and guests to

our first


Formal Winter Ball


Saturday, February 26th

6:00 – 10:00 p.m.


The Rhinecliff Hotel

4 Grinnell Street, Rhinecliff, NY


An exquisite dinner buffet

(Full cash bar available)


 Dancing to the varied sounds of DJ Rene


Early reservation - $45 per person if post marked by

January 3rd , 2011

$50 per person after January 3rd


Please make check payable to Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, (put “Ball” in memo section)

Send checks to: AAUW, P.O. Box 1908, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603


Due to the size of the room, allowing for dancing, this event is limited to the first 100 paid reservations.


Questions? Please call Kim Butwell 845-431-2272 or e-mail:



This is a series of columns that will give us the news of “What’s Happening” in our Interest Groups.


Pins and Needles

Jane Toll *463-2712*


Sue Osterhoudt and I started the Pins and Needles Interest Group several years ago. I know it's a sickness, but I have to have something to keep my hands occupied while I sit, and it's a lot more fun to have company while you work! Sue and I wanted to share our love of knitting, crocheting, sewing, beading etc. with other people and have them share their talents with us. As an interest group we are very cognizant of the overall mission of AAUW and dedicate a lot of our time and money to support women, girls and families through our many charitable activities. There have been Warm up America blankets, hats, scarves, socks and mittens to Grace Smith House and other recipients, prayer shawls, walker bags for nursing homes, yarn donated to groups who want to make things also but can't always afford the yarn, and we gave library tote bags to instill the love of reading in young children. This year we are concentrating on quilting, dedicating most of the year to that, as well as trying our hands at making greeting cards which we will donate to the Poughkeepsie Branch Sunshine Fund. A wonderful side effect of all this handiwork has been the friendships formed, bonding experiences shared, stories and successes, fun, laughter and tears. Sue, you're so right, we are absolutely more than chicks with sticks, and we've been known to run with scissors! Join us and become a knitting fiend - or at least have a good time.



Bergie Lebovitch *298-4045*


R   Reflect on what the “Phabulous” Platinum Poughkeepsie Branch does for you

E    Evaluate what you do for the Branch and the Community

S    Search out information about what programs and initiatives, “float your boat!”

O   Optimize your membership

L    Let others know who we are

U   Unify with your sisters-both new and “long-standing”

T    Talk-up your enthusiasm for the Branch and our mission

I     Invite others to join you, both new members and potential members, at meetings

O   Open your hearts to all our sisters, both here and afar

N   Network with our community coalition partners to find commonality with our initiatives

S    Stand up and be counted as a forward thinking member of the Poughkeepsie Branch







DCC ENDOWMENT –                    


Pat Luczai Education Foundation VP, *463-4662*


Last year, and for many years, Poughkeepsie AAUW Inc. has given two $500 scholarships to a non-traditional graduates of DCC who plan to continue their education at a four year institution. $500 can mean a great deal to one of these students. In the words of two of our recent recipients:


“It is through the generosity of organizations such as yours that people like me know that we are not alone in our struggle to achieve loftier educational goals that may not always be possible without help.”


“Thank you for your financial support. The scholarship is a blessing that I do not take for granted. I am also thankful for the work that the AAUW does promoting equity for women!”


In 2009, we announced our intention to establish an endowed scholarship at Dutchess Community College. The purpose of this $10,000 endowment is to ensure in perpetuity, one of the two $500 scholarships. Once inaugurated, DCC will guarantee that the Poughkeepsie AAUW scholarship will be awarded annually even if the interest from the $10,000 falls short of $500 in any given year. If this occurs, DCC will fund the difference out of unrestricted funds that they have raised. Until we reach this $10,000 goal, our branch will continue to award both of the scholarships from current funds.


This year, the DCC Endowment Fund was one of the initiatives that received proceeds from the Writer’s Tea in the amount of $1500. This brings our total to $5979 towards our goal of $10,000.


There are two ways to help achieve our goal, either by a direct contribution, or with your support of the Writer’s Tea this spring. If every member contributed only $20, we’d reach our goal!


To contribute directly, mail your check, made out to Poughkeepsie Branch of the AAUW, Inc. to our treasurer:


Barbara Van Itallie

17 Croft Road

Poughkeepsie, NY 12603


Indicate in the memo line of your check ‘DCC Endowment.’ Contributions to this fund are fully tax deductible. If you would like to donate in someone’s name, send their name, address, and preferred greeting, along with your check. A card will be sent to the designee.


See a related story on page 9.






Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. In 2008 alone, Americans lost $48 billion to identity theft and fraud, and every year, nine million Americans are victims.

              --according to the Federal Trade Commission


On February 9, 2010, AAUW member Kim Butwell will present an informational seminar that will explain identity theft, what we can do to protect ourselves, and steps to take if our personal information is stolen.


Kim, Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch, has a varied professional background that makes her exceptionally qualified to share this information with us.


“Tips and Tricks”: A Guide to Starting and Maintaining an Interest Group

Cathy Lane *229-1036*


Have you ever thought you would like to start an Interest Group?

As an Interest Group Coordinator, have you ever wondered how to deal with questions from interest group members?


Pat Luczai and I are planning a meeting at Panera’s (across from the Galleria) on


Monday, January 24, 2011

7:00 pm.


We would like to meet with people who might be interested in starting a new interest group, but would like some assistance in doing that. We also invite to this meeting experienced coordinators, past or present, who would be interested in helping to develop a small guide with tips for starting and maintaining an interest group. If you have some ideas, but cannot attend the meeting, we would welcome an email from you.


Some people have expressed an interest in starting up a group that would duplicate ones that already exist, such as book or cuisine, while others may want to develop a totally new interest topic. As our branch is growing, we have seen the development of some new and exciting interest groups. We’re very interested in hearing from new members and supporting your ideas.


Please contact Cathy Lane at or 229-1036 if you would like to join us.




Supporters of The Branch!!


Annual contributions from members help defray the expense of publishing The Branch. All patrons and sponsors are listed in each monthly newsletter unless anonymity is requested.      

Patrons ($25 or more)

  Catherine Albanese Lula Allen Mary G. Bagley Joan Cordani Joan Fay Betty Harrel Irene Keyes

Leola Mason Jean Miller Lila Mitchell Ellenora Oberhofer Jacqueline Prusak Esther Reisman Margaret Ruggeri Phyllis Teasdale

 Mary Louise Van Winkle

Sponsors ($10 or more)

 Marion Effron Ruth Gau Gloria Gibbs

Sandra Goldberg Vicki Greenburg Mildred Jones Peggy Lombardi Catherine Pété Terry Schneider

To add your name to the list, mail a check payable: “Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc.” to Margaret Nijhuis, 9 McAllister Drive, Pleasant Valley, NY 12569






























LITERARY NOTES                   

Diane Browne-Sterdt


Louise Erdricha vital presence among literary women…a stunning writer of novels, poetry and short stories…a mixed-blood member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Anishinaabe Nation (as worded by the National Tribal Council)…


In her publications, Louise Erdrich has been a preserver of longstanding oral tradition and a consummate storyteller, as were her parents and those of the many generations before them. In “Love Medicine,” “Tracks,” and “The Plague of Doves,” Erdrich’s most memorable novels (as this columnist sees it), the reader is drawn into the layered and passionate relationships among families…their histories, their dangerous secrets, their protective - and lustful - gods, and the dreams in which they communicate with the spiritual nature of Earth.


Louise Erdrich is a “postmodern” writer who emerged in what is known as the 1960’s and 70’s Native American Renaissance in literature and the arts. Colleges were establishing departments in Native American studies. America was showing interest in the history and culture of Erdrich’s people. From a Native American perspective, the dead were able to speak to the living through novels, poems and written stories.


The victimization, revenge, lust, tenderness and breathtaking means of survival on the part of Louise Erdrich’s women (such as Fleur, the subject and title of Erdrich’s finest short story) are all portrayed in a stunning, powerful way. There are magical, mythical elements in otherwise realistic settings…much like that of the “magical realism” of Isabel Allende, Toni Morrison (“Song of Solomon”) and Laura Esquivil (“Like Water for Chocolate”). Erdrich has denied that her writing is of this style, and she has defended the context of her most explosive, inexplicable, dazzling chapters as based upon reality, true to the perspective of her heritage.


“Love Medicine” (a National Critic’s Circle Book Award winner), “Tracks” and “The Plague of Doves” (a Pulitzer nominee) were so compelling for me, they hold a place of honor as books I have read twice. I highly recommend Louise Erdrich’s literature.


The best to all in the New Year 2011!



An expression of admiration for someone's achievement or contribution and our acknowledgment of it.

Mary Coiteux *226-8275*


“Hats Off” to Carol Loizides for the beautiful art she has created and her diligence in exhibiting it for the enjoyment of us all. Among her many exhibition was the “Small Works” exhibition at Mill Street Loft. It featured works she had done on many of the AAUW interest group, Art on the Go, outings.       



Become 1 of Us on 1-11-11!

Joan Monk * 914/24-7704*


Bring your ideas and inspiration to the next My Sister's Keeper planning meeting. Join us as we design and develop the next phase of this amazing Poughkeepsie AAUW initiative.


Date:     January 11, 2011

Time:    4:30-6:00 PM

Place:    Sugar and Spice Café, Marshall's Plaza, Route 9






Doris Kelly *229-5369*


A cloture vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act took place on the Senate floor on November 17. This was not a vote on the actual legislation, but a vote to cease debate on the legislation. Cloture needed 60 Senators to vote yes to cease debate. The vote in the Senate on cloture for S3772 Paycheck Fairness Act was defeated with 58 yeas and 41 nays. Two votes prevented cloture. Two votes! This means there will not be a vote on this legislation.


From AAUW Action Network: "The fact is that we had a majority of US Senators vote in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act. The White House has been a great partner on this issue, and we look forward to continuing our efforts. Today’s vote was seriously disappointing, but AAUW is nothing if not persistent – 130 years of persistence, in fact."

What happens next?


According to an article in “After the new Congress is sworn in, supporters could reintroduce a softened version of the bill, including a cap on employers’ liability for damages, and Congress could take up the measure again.


What’s more likely, given the new makeup of Congress in 2011: Federal agencies — mainly the Justice Dept. and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — will crank up the numbers of investigations and lawsuits pertaining to alleged equal-pay violations”.


Also: Members of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform met in early December to debate the adoption of recommendations including deep cuts to Social Security even though Social Security does not add to the deficit. The bipartisan commission failed to reach consensus on the proposal to bring down the federal debt but more members voted in favor than expected. The vote fell short by only three votes. AAUW believes it is vital to women’s economic security to provide for the long-term solvency of Social Security and to maintain its current benefits.


More important than ever: We must keep pressing for pay equity and for protection of Social Security. Lobby your representatives in Congress. Make telephone calls, write letters, e-mail until they know your style of writing. If you have the time, make an appointment and take our mission information to your representative’s local office.


No time? Then, remember to join the AAUW Two-Minute Activist at to keep informed on issues and to contact your representatives.



Margaret Prescott 462-5363




There are relatively few opportunities in the Mid-Hudson Valley to hear recitals by outstanding pianists. The Howland Chamber Music Circle will be offering a three performance Piano Festival 2011 on three Sunday afternoons, over a 3 month span, at the beautiful Howland Cultural Center in Beacon. On this, the thirteenth festival, they will be bringing three leading pianists from three different countries to Beacon.


On Sunday, January 30, at 4 PM the young Austrian pianist Till Fellner will be returning. He has been praised for his performances of standard baroque and classical repertoires. He just finished playing the complete Beethoven piano sonata at venues throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


For his return to Beacon on January 30, Till Fellner’s program will include Hayden’s Sonata in C Major, a new work by Kit Armstrong, Schumann’s “Kinderszenen” and Lizt’s “Annes de Pelerinage.”


More information on the February 13 and March 8 concerts will be in our February newsletter. You may subscribe to the entire series or may order individual tickets. Any questions? Call 845/297-9243.




The Cappella Festiva Chamber Choir is an auditioned choral ensemble with a thirty-five year history of performing in the Hudson Valley. Christine Howlett is the current Artistic Director of the choir. Ms. Howlett also founded the Festiva Treble Choir, an auditioned choral ensemble for treble voices of 10 to 16 year old youths.


These combined choirs will offer two programs in January.

On Saturday January 15 at 7:30 PM at Lyall Federated Church in Millbrook and on Sunday January 16 at 2 PM in the Vassar College Chapel. These concerts will include a selection of Renaissance and contemporary choral works by Tarik O’Regan, Bob Chilcott, Palistrina and others. For more information, call 845/853-7765.


Also in January:

Saturday January 22 at7:30 PM Puccini’s opera “Madam Butterfly” by the Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra at Rhinebeck High School, 45 North Park Road, Rhinebeck.


Stay warm and enjoy all our wonderful cultural activities in the Hudson Valley.




Art on the Go

Mary Coiteux *226-8275*


... Museum Mavens , and Art Lovers in general. The interest group, Art on the Go, would like to invite you to go on our once a month outings. During the winter months or inclement weather we visit museums and area galleries. You do not need to be a maker of art to join us as we enjoy looking and talking about the art that we see.


Upcoming events include:


January 21, Dia in Beacon. Organized by: Carol Loizides

A guided tour through Michael Heizer's North, East, South, West is given at 10:30 am until 11:00 am, before the museum opens. Fee: As a group we get the reduced rates of $ 8.00 dollars and $6.00 for 65+. Lunch at Beacon Falls is optional. It's just across from the Howland Center and a couple galleries are nearby. The tour is limited to the first 20 people who sign up. Please contact Carol Loizides if interested. Please specify “Tour” or “Tour & Lunch.”


February 23, FLLAC at Vassar. Organized by Mary Coiteux

A guided tour of the newly opened Art Center. Limited to the first 15 people to who sign up. Lunch at Beechtree Restaurant is optional. Please contact Mary Coiteux if interested. Please specify “Tour” or “Tour & Lunch.”


Other plans include:

March 23, Samuel Dorsky Museum in New Paltz

April 27, Katonah Art Museum

May 6, Artists Reception for Art on the Go members at the East Fishkill library in Hopewell Junction. All are welcomed.



On May 12, 2009, Dr. Andrew Rieser addressed Poughkeepsie AAUW annual meeting. The text of the address can be found on our website, below is an excerpt.


“The fact that women helped to found DCC has not gone unrecognized. The names of Martha Reifler Myers [President, Poughkeepsie AAUW1951-53]... appear on campus plaques... But while the role of certain individuals has been duly noted, much more remains to be known and said about the organizational “Mothers” of DCC, particularly the PTA and the AAUW. What interest me about the PTA and AAUW activists is the historical context of their activism. We often view the 1950's as a decade marked by conservative attitudes about gender...


But the pro-college women activists of the 1950's were not content to be sequestered in the domestic sphere. Indeed, their intervention in the “public sphere” of politics was quite aggressive, its own way. Their story... helps us puncture the myth of female domesticity that pervades our historical memory of post-war America.”




We drank tea, purchased beautiful items and listened to fascinating writers while managing to raise $6000 for AAUW scholarship and community projects at last year’s Writers’ Tea. Following is the framework for the use of those funds.


$1,000 for Educational Opportunities Fund. All together we will be sending $3,000 to EOF this month...balance is from budgeted amount - this is an increase which with the tea we were able to do. The AAUW Educational Opportunities Fund is the world’s largest source of funding exclusively for graduate women. Approximately $4 million is awarded annually in grants to provide scholarships and research assistantships to women.


$1,500 for DCC Endowment. See “DCC Endowment,” page 6.


$500 for DCC Scholarship. We have already accounted for the other scholarship in our budget - again see page 6.


$1,000 for Girls' Live Your Dream Conference and reunions. This was originally going to be taken out of the General Fund but now we are able to take it from “Tea Money” instead.


$2,000 (in reserve) to be used for Leading to Reading or My Sister's Keeper, Stand Up to Domestic Violence, and Think Globally, Act Locally, as these Initiatives gather momentum.



Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc. Officers 2010-2011


President                               Geeta Desai            297-7589

Program V.P.                        Susan Osterhoudt   889-4469

                                                Diana Gleeson        229-8458 

Membership V.P.                  Bergie Lebovitch    298-4045

Educ. Foundation V.P.         Patricia Luczai        463-4662

                                                Trish Prunty

Secretary                               Virginia Marcus     223-5246

Treasurer                              Barbara Van Itallie 462-3924

Assistant Treasurer              Elizabeth Moesel    896-9426

Association website:  

NY State website:

AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. 

In principle and in practice, AAUW values and seeks a diverse membership. There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or class.

The Branch is published ten times a year, September through June, by the Poughkeepsie Branch of the AAUW, Inc.. Send articles to the editor: Margaret Nijhuis, (635-8612).