The Branch

Poughkeepsie Branch of the

American Association of University Women, Inc.

P.O. Box 1908, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601


Volume 24, Number 8                           Our 56th year of publication.               April 2011



  Online Calendar at

4     Word Games: 2:00 pm

       Hostess: Ginny Marcus (223-5246)

       Coordinator: Eleanor Aronstein (462-6452)

6     Board Meeting: 7:00 pm

Hostess: Geeta Desai (297-7589)

8    Daytime Literature: 10:00 am

       Book: Mudbound

       by Hillary Jordan

Hostess: Tiz Hanson (229-9394)

Coordinators: Diana Gleeson (229-8458)

              & Tiz Hanson (229-9394)

9     Bridge For Beginners: 10:00 am

       Hostess: Peggy Hansen (473-8453)

       Please response to coordinators (y/n).

       Coordinators: Donna Reichner Mintz &

               Betsy Vivas (485-2370)

9     Trekkers: 9:00 am

Ferncliff Forest/Southlands Hike, meet left of Stop & Shop, Route 9, Poughkeepsie

       Organizer: Irene Keyes (227-6686)

       Coordinator: Karen Haynes (297-5700)

10   Membership Meeting - Writers’ Tea  

10   “The Branch” deadline for May

13   What Every Woman Needs to Know

About Social Security: 7:00 pm

       DCC, Bowne Hall Rom 122, see page 3.

14   Gourmet: Out & About: 6:30 pm

       Bonefish Grill, Rt 9, Poughkeepsie

Contact: Jeanette Cantwell (452-4188)

18   Manderley Literary Society: 7:30 pm

       Book: The Family Markowitz

       by Allegra Goodman

       Hostess: Kathleen Brown (486-4605)

       Coordinator: Ellie Burch (297-7828)

20   Bridge I: 1:00 - 4:00 pm

       Hostess: Joan Fay (633-8856)

Coordinators: Linda Ronayne (897-9745)

              & Mary Ann Ryan (897-9679)

21   All those books...: 7:00 pm

          Book: Miss Lonelyhearts

       by Nathanael West

Hostess: Sue Osterhoudt (889-4469)

       Coordinator: Carol Loizides (452-3208)



Calendar continued below.



   Poughkeepsie Branch of the American Association of University Women, Inc.


Writers’ Tea

Invite your spouse, significant other, friends, all welcome!


April 10, 2011

3:00 – 7:00 pm


Dutchess Golf and Country Club

(Route 9, Poughkeepsie – more details at


Our Writers

Meet three Hudson Valley authors who will share stories from their books, scripts and their lives.

Harvey Keyes Flad

Main Street to Main Frame:

Landscape and Social Change

In Poughkeepsie

Mia Mask

Divas on Screen: Black

Women in American Film

John Pielmeier

Agnes of God,

Screen Play


Our Tea

We will be welcomed with champagne and chilled hors d' oeuvres as we arrive and browse the silent auction items. Accompanying the authors’ presentations will be tableside service of assorted tea sandwiches, mini pastries and a selection of teas.


Silent Auction of handcrafts and services


Reservation form on Page 2.


All those interested in asking questions of our three authors, Harvey Flad, Mia Mask and John Pielmeier, will have ample time both before and after their presentations. The books by Harvey Flad and Mia Mask will be available for purchase and signing, as well.


Additional information and Reservation form also available at:


Calendar Continued...                                                                                         

Online Calendar at


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

       Merrill Lynch Conference Room

       The Dynamics of Personal Power, Geeta Desai

       Coordinators: Kim Butwell &

           Jacqueline Goffe-McNish

27   Art on the Go: 11:00 am - at the museum

       Katonah Art Museum. $6/$4, limit of 20

       Reservations required: Carol Mastropietro (221-8862)

       Coordinator: Mary Coiteux (226-8275)

27   Contemporary Literature: 7:30 pm

       Book: Cutting For Stone

       by Abraham Verghese

Hostess: Betty Harrel (462-2141)

       Coordinator: Ann Wade (229-5267)

27   Mah Jongg: 1:00 - 4:00 pm

       Hostess: Margaret Nijhuis (635-8612)

       Coordinator: Amy Schwed (462-2269)

January - March: Gerry DiPompei (635-2050)

28   Bridge II: 1:00 - 3:30 pm

       Uno, Brunch, Lesson and Bridge ($15)

       Coordinators: Cathy Kinn &

              Janet White (462-6675)

28   Pins & Needles: 6:00 pm  

       Making a necklace at I Dream of Beading, $25

       Reservations required - attendance is limited.

       Send check payable I Dream of Beading to Jane Toll.

       Coordinators: Arlene Seligman (297-0006) &

              Jane Toll (463-2712)               

30   Trekkers: 10:00 am, Main Gate

       Vassar College Walk/Shakespeare Gardens

       Organizer: Kathy Brown (486-4605)

       Coordinator: Karen Haynes (297-5700)

Aventures en Soleil:

       No meeting in April.

       Coordinators: Peggy Lombardi (635-9091) &

               Ruth Sheets (473-6202)


No meeting in April.

       Coordinator: Barbara Van Itallie  (462-3924)

Tee Off Play will continue in the Spring.

       Coordinators: Dorothy Evangelista (677-9046) &

               Linda Ronayne (897-9745)




Apr 15-17 AAUW-NYS Convention page 4, 7

May 6 Art on the Go Art Show, page 4

May 10 Annual Meeting, Dinner at Christo's, page 7

Jun 8 Program Planning for 2011-12, St. John's

Oct 22 Woman of the Year, 12-3 pm Villa Borghese









[Deadline: April 1, 2011]


A literary benefit for the AAUW Scholarships Funds and Community Initiatives and Events



Phone (____)______________

If you are making reservations for more than one person, please list all other names.


The cost is $45 per person.

Enclosed $ ____________ for _____ attendee(s).


Checks payable to: Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc.

[$20 of each admission fee is tax-deductible]


Mail to: Saranne Ratner, 7 Hamlet Court,

                Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

Questions: 845/297-9360 or

Open seating or reserved tables for 10 persons are available.

Table reservations can be made by contacting

Saranne Ratner.


If you are unable to attend but would like to support our scholarship funds and community projects, please write a check payable to Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc. and mail it to Saranne Ratner at the address above.




    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 Sarah Shouse

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








Geeta Desai *297-7589 *


Our AAUW Branch has always accomplished great things when our members have collectively focused on a goal. We need your laser –like focus now! At this time, we need to be working together with the singular purpose of making this year’s Writers’ Tea an unmitigated success. As you know, proceeds from ticket sales will fund much – needed college scholarships and community programs that are the backbone of our mission.


Here are some things that each of you can do that can exponentially increase event attendance:

     If you have not bought your ticket yet, buy it now

     Prevail on your friends and family members to join us in a quietly elegant setting for an afternoon of delectable eats, aromatic teas and the pleasure of listening to three eminent authors from the Hudson Valley region. What could be more relaxing or intellectually stimulating?

     If you belong to an Interest Group or Initiative, think about reserving tables of ten so that you can enjoy the afternoon with your group and committee members

     If you are a board member, demonstrate your leadership by persuading at least ten people you know to come to the event.

     Beyond your family and friends, brainstorm a comprehensive list of who you think would most be interested in attending a writers’ forum. Do you know any writers or would-be writers? Do you know high school teachers and college faculty members who teach creative writing? Send them invitations to the Tea and additionally ask them to share information with their students


My final suggestion is to really think “outside-the-box” about inviting people who would organically connect with the work of our authors. For instance, Harvey Flad’s book Main Street to Mainframes traces the transformation of Poughkeepsie from an agricultural market town, to a small city with a diversified economy centered on Main Street, to an urban region dependent on the success of one corporation and the demographic shifts that accompanied these transformations. I would think that his book would appeal to many different audiences: history buffs, economists, social and political scientists, history teachers and professors, older and newer immigrant communities. There are lots of ways to reach these audiences; even you don’t know any of them. There are professional societies and colleges with whom historians, economists, scientists are affiliated. Most immigrant communities have social organizations where they can be reached. Contact information for all of these organizations is available on the Internet. Send them invitations to the Tea, briefly outlining why they would enjoy the event.


I urge you to do your best for the Writers’ Tea, for the members who have worked tirelessly on its planning and

 execution and for the cause of women and girls. Vive la revolution!




Marcine Humphrey, Nominating Committee Chair


Poughkeepsie AAUW, Inc. has a rotating system of officers. Half of our officers are elected each year. The Nominating Committee has been working for several months to select a slate of the officers for the coming two years. The other officers will continue to serve the second year of their term. A vote will be held at the May annual meeting, after which the new officers will be installed. Work is continuing on the appointed positions on the board that are due to expire this year.


It is with pleasure that the nominating committee presents the following slate of officers for 2011-2013:


Co VPs Program - Barbara Hugo and Shelby Outwater

Co VPs Education Opportunities Fund (EOF) -

              Trish Prunty and Linda Olsen Roberts

Co VPs Membership - Amy Schwed and Kathy Brown

VP Communications - Joanne Scolaro

Assistant Treasurer - Elizabeth Moesel


Officers continuing the second year of their term:


President - Geeta Desai

Secretary - Ginny Marcus

Treasurer - Barbara Van Itallie



Nominating Committee members: Marcine Humphrey (Chair), Geeta Desai, Gloria Gibbs, Barbara Hespenheide, Irene Keyes, Bergie Lebovitch, and Amy Schwed






What Every Woman Needs to Know about Social Security


A look at benefits for retirement, disability and survivors


Presented by Adrienne L Vavricka

Public Affairs Specialist, Social Security Administration Newburgh Office


Wednesday April 13, 2011, 7:00 pm


Dutchess Community College

Bowne Hall, Room 122


This is an informational presentation for people who are:

     getting ready to retire

     retired and want to know what’s new with Social Security

     Caregivers for someone who is eligible for Social Security






Questions? Contact Kim Butwell or 914/489-6400. All are invited!



LITERARY NOTES                                  

Second Annual Really Really Short Story Contest

Diane Browne-Sterdt


In upcoming issues of the Branch, I will be writing about Barbara Kingsolver and Ann Beattie, two terrific writers...

    ...but now is the time for our Second Annual Really, Really Short Stories Contest.


Contestants are asked to write a memoir, their world view, or a story in exactly six words. An example for the ages is that written by Ernest Hemingway, when he was challenged to tell a tale in only six words. Papa rose to the occasion with "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Memorable.


An example of a world view? " Young, old...Pretty, plain...Just words." How about a memoir? " Defined at 21. Redefined at 50." Another? " Yoga, meditation, workouts. AAUW membership. Complete." (Initials and numbers count as one word.)


If you've got the creativity, the guts, the chutzpah, or are just looking for a fine experience having coffee with the winners from last year (at Starbucks, where else??) please send your entry to me at


The three winning entries will be in June's Branch. The deadline is mid-April.


Hope you'll take the leap!




Mark your calendar and come enjoy the art work of your fellow AAUW members!!


Place: East Fishkill Library

      Rte. 376, Hopewell Jct

Date: May 6, 2011

      Friday Evening at 7:00pm


The artwork will be on display for the month of May



Dear Board Members,

       I am wonderfully surprised and deeply honored to be selected by the Board for an EOF named scholarship designation. Thank you for attaching my name to a mission which I feel represents the very core of all AAUW’s activities. Scholarships for women make the goals of AAUW a concrete reality in the lives of deserving individuals. I am proud to be a part of that endeavor.


Linda Beyer









Margaret Nijhuis for

Mary Coiteux *226-8275*

An expression of admiration for someone's achievement or

contribution and our acknowledgment for it.


“Hats off” to Sue Osterhoudt who recently received a letter beginning...


“On behalf of the planning committee for Psychology Day at the United Nations, we would like to extend a formal invitation for you to participate in an afternoon workshop on Thursday, April 14th. This year we have selected the millennium goal of universal access to education for our theme.


The ... workshop at which you will present is “Innovative Ideas” which will have three speakers, Erin Murphy Graham who will be talking about an elementary school project in Honduras; Sue Osterhoudt who will be talking about a library for a village in Madagascar; and Andrew Simon who will be talking about scaling up successful projects to improve education for women and girls in Uganda.”


For those of you that were not at our December general meeting: Since its founding in 2007 Bibliotheque HITA, the Community Library of Imorona, Madagascar has evolved from a small shelter housing a few books, into a community center that provides training, resource materials in Malagasy, French and English, computer access and (at times) internet, as well as electricity to charge cell phones to help defer costs. This was accomplished with the help of friends, many from AAUW, Peace Corps volunteers and the U.S. Embassy. Before the library Imorona was 19th out of 19 in test scores on the entrance exam for High School - they are now 1st!


Our congratulations and best wished to Sue who has always told her children “when you dream, dream in technicolor!!”  





APRIL 15-17, 2011





What does it REALLY mean?


With the premise of health care as a human right, this will be a day of exploring the impact of health care reform on women, small businesses, seniors, African-Americans, Latinos and Americans with disabilities. As leaders in their fields, featured speakers will illustrate, educate and debunk myths of health care reform.


Keynote Address: Geeta Desai, President, AAUW




(Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, New York)


8:30 am TO 2:30 pm


Luncheon Speaker: Jamie Torres, US Health and Human Services Regional Director


Speakers & Workshop Leaders:


Susan Dooha, Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY


Margaret Moree, The Business Council of NY State, Inc.


Michael Olender, Associate State Director, AARP


Jamie Torres, US HHS Regional Director


Lois Uttley, Raising Women's Voices


TO REGISTER please call (845)229-5302 or e-mail $10 Suggested Donation


Complimentary Continental Breakfast

(If desired, order your box lunch for an additional $10 when you register.)



Margaret Nijhuis *635-8612*


We only need $1,878 more to put our Dutchess Community College Endowment Fund over the top! You can help make this a reality by attending the Writers' Tea or sending a contribution. See page 2, second column.


The funds realized from the Tea will go to many of our projects and scholarships. The endowment is one of those scholarships. What an accomplishment this will be!! Our branch will establish this fund so that every year there would be a guaranteed $500 scholarship given to a deserving student at DCC in the name of Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc!


Join us for an enjoyable and worthwhile afternoon at the Writers' Tea, April 10th.



October 22 at the Villa Borghese

Mary Lou Davis *223-5544*


Please let the committee know who you would like to see as the 2011 Woman of the Year!!!!!


Criteria for AAUW Woman of the Year


She has made outstanding contributions to the community in either a voluntary or paid capacity. (Most recipients have served in both ways)


She reflects the AAUW mission: AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.


Branch membership does not disqualify a candidate, but selection should be based on accomplishments outside AAUW.


Woman of the Year Nomination


I would like to nominate: _________________________


Submitted by: __________________________________


Please list the contributions of the nominee to the community on an attached sheet. Return your nomination to Mary Lou Davis by email or mail to 125 Andrews Road, Lagrangeville, NY, 12540.




Cathy Lane, Interest Group Coordinator, *229-1036*

A column that gives us the news of “What’s Happening” in our Interest Groups.


What is a walk? a hike?


Although we've already published an article on Trekkers this year, we seem to be getting questions from people about the type of walks or hikes we do and why we sometimes refer to them as walks or hikes. We will generally describe something as a walk when the terrain is mostly level and flat. A walk is often on pavement, such as a rail trail, but we will refer to wooded areas as walks if they are not too hilly or rocky. A hike can be short or long in mileage, but will generally refer to uneven terrain with hills.


Each outing has a leader who will try to get out on the trail shortly before the date of our trek to let people know if the trail is muddy, if there are any bathrooms close by, the length of the trail, etc. People can then decide if the outing will be something they are interested in attending. We meet in February to plan walks and hikes for the year. We try to incorporate a walk and a hike option for each month, however, during the winter months we tend to have more walks than hikes due to the snow and ice. This year, we are planning some special outings in addition to our hikes and walks which will include a bike ride, kayaking and snow shoeing. If you enjoy the fresh air and the beauty of the outdoors, Trekkers is for you. If you would like more information about Trekkers, contact Karen Haynes at


PUBLIC POLICY            

Doris Kelly


Can you believe this? Could this be happening in America? If this doesn't make you want to become an activist, I don't know what will.


Utah Decides to Tone Down "Miscarriage Bill," But Some Miscarriages Would Still be a Felony


The Miscarriage Bill's sponsor, Utah State Rep. Carl Wimmer, says that he will take out a provision in the bill making a woman's “reckless act” inducing miscarriage eligible for homicide prosecution. This provision could have gotten a woman a life sentence for staying in an abusive relationship, falling down stairs, drinking alcohol, or other undefined “reckless acts.” The bill which passed through the Utah legislature does not affect legally obtained abortions. It does criminalize actions taken by a woman to induce a miscarriage or abortion outside of a doctor's care. The penalties still include up to life in prison. An important fact noted in the article about the change of this bill is, “the upcoming revision has been attributed to the backlash by the pro-choice community.”


I know, I know, that's Utah, we're in New York. But are we or are we not “Our Sisters' Keepers?” We, as AAUW members, have had the privilege to be party to a wonderful movement of women who are working to improve the lives of women throughout the world. This is happening in our country and Utah is not the only state where a woman's choice is in jeopardy.


     Georgia legislator proposes a "prenatal murder" bill that calls for investigation of "unsupervised" miscarriages.


     Virginia legislature approved a bill regulating clinics where first trimester abortions are performed. Regulations would have clinics meet hospital like conditions.


     Texas legislature may soon vote on a bill mandating sonograms for women seeking an abortion.


     Kansas lawmakers in the House passed one of the two bills that restrict abortion and mandate parental consent.


     Iowa is mulling a bill to protect unborn fetuses by classifying them as separate people.


     Montana legislature passed a bill preventing abortion providers from offering materials to students and forcing school districts to provide parents with an opt-in option for sex education courses.


     Nebraska legislature has recently resurrected a bill--which South Dakota was forced by public opinion to drop--that could offer legal protection for those who attack abortion providers.


...and our US House of Representatives has voted to defund Planned Parenthood cutting money for contraceptives, HIV tests, cancer screenings and reproductive health services as part of an attempt to weaken the abortion provider. Planned Parenthood does not currently spend federal money on abortion services.


Make those telephone calls. Send those e-mails and letters.


It took activism to get us as far as we have come. It will take activism to keep what we have won.


Support the AAUW mission of equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.




Bergie Lebovitch *298-4045*


Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye….


Attention: Fresh-“woman” class of 2011


You do Not have to wear your Beanie, BUT you do have to “grab the hand” of your Big Sister (aka your referring member) and sign-up for the Writers’ Tea, April 10th. When you register before April 1st (no fooling!) please let Saranne Ratner (see

page 2) know that the two of you want to sit together. See you there…


Additionally, attached to your email will be a Directory Update. Please print and add it to your current 2011 Yellow (very bright yellow) Membership Directory. The Update will have changes in member listings and information on the following new members:


       Please join us in welcoming:


Crush, Maureen 

Hinkle, Honorah

Foy, Carol

Friedman, Katherine

Gill, Barbara

Goldman, Mary

LaGoy, Ann

Meade, Joan

Mills, Janet C.

Rabideau, Robin

Rothman, Noreen

Stevens, Carol


Welcome back:

McGill, Carmen





Coming to AmericA A U W


                          May 10, 2011                



Come and listen to the poignant, hilarious, thoughtful, always entertaining stories of your fellow members as they take you on their journeys from the countries of their birth to a magical, mythical place called Poughkeepsie.


Replete with costumes, music, carefully-chosen-words and pageantry, this performance piece defies the imagination and is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seats all evening


Performance is limited to one evening only, before our troupe of merry actresses leave for destinations unknown.


Come for the entertainment and the education in all things international. Come because you want to say you were there at the evening of all evenings!


If that is not enough, we will:

     Elect and install new officers (Vice Presidents and Assistant Treasurer)

     Introduce our new website

     Introduce our named Educational Opportunities Fund scholarship honorees (See The Branch, March 2011)

     Announce Membership Awards!


More details will follow in the May newsletter!!




From the AAUW-NYS Board of Directors 


Please notify your branch members that a proposal to change AAUW bylaws will be presented during the business meeting at the State Convention at Glen Cove Mansion on April 16. The proposal will be to remove the word of $10 from Article IV, Section 2, g and I, to add Article IV, Section 2, j (The state dues amounts for AAUW-NYS members and student affiliates shall be determined by the AAUW-NYS Board of Directors.) and to remove Article IV, Section 2,l of the AAUW-NYS bylaws.


The Board of Director has voted to increase dues to $13. The members were notified of this change in the Spring FOCUS, but were inadvertently not notified that it would require a bylaws change.


Editor's Note: You may view the AAUW-NYS bylaws at








Bergie Lebovitch, NYS VP of Membership


On April 15th, National AAUW is sending out paper ballots to all our 80,000+ members across the Country. I urge you to vote, which will necessitate using your membership number found under your name in the Yellow Membership directory. (I will personally “deliver” the new member’s numbers as quickly as I get them.) For those of you who have not received the Outlook National Magazine, I urge you to go to the National AAUW website and check out the candidates that are running for national offices very specifically two of our very own NYS members. For those of you who have attended the New York Convention, you will know how dynamic and dedicated both Mildred DeWitt and Nancy Mion are, and how great their contributions will be as Directors at Large.


Whilst on the AAUW website, click on the "Facebook" icon where you can post your thoughts about the proposed amendments. Please see what others have written about the adoption of the amendments which would preclude any deliberative assembly for change, discussion or votes if they are so adopted. Special attention to Proposals #6 & #8 (pages E-7 and E-8 of the Outlook Winter Edition) should be made as they give National total authority over the distribution of any assets in the dissolution of any AAUW affiliated groups (such as any local branch or state organizatIon of AAUW).


We fought long and hard for the vote, and in this, YOUR Organization - Your Voice and your Vote count!! Please be a participatory and “Informed” Voter….

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).