Poughkeepsie Branch of the

American Association of University Women, Inc.


P.O. Box 1908, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601



Volume 29, Number 3                 

60th year of publication        

Follow us at


November 2015






December 10 – Mark your calendar

Fun & Friends, Part II


Coming up on December 10th at the Unitarian Fellowship we will have our second annual hands on arts and crafts, games and trivia tables and good company and conversation.  There will be jewelry and macramé key chain making, guess the book from the protagonist, games and other exciting pursuits.  Put the date on your calendar to help repeat this successful evening.


Again this year members attending the December meeting are encouraged to bring along a donated gift for a mother at Grace Smith.  The gifts will be given at the residence by the staff.  A list of gift suggestions will appear in the December newsletter.


April 15 - 17, 2016 – Mark your calendar

AAUW-NYS Convention, Saratoga


May 15, 2016 – Mark your calendar

Writers' Tea and Auction

See the article below.


"WHAT A WOMAN CAN DO WITH AN AUTO: American Women in the Early Automotive Era

Sponsored by Poughkeepsie AAUW and the Dutchess County Historical Society


Carla Lesh PhD, Historian and Archivist is a researcher in the experiences of Black, Native and White women in the early automotive era.

Thursday, November 12

7:00 PM

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall

67 South Randolph Avenue



Women used automobiles as soon as they had access to them.  Black, Native and White women utilized the automobile as they worked to improve their quality of life.  They incorporated the automobile into their lives as they navigated the restrictions of early twentieth-century mainstream society.  Continued below...


Questions: Sandy Goldberg 297-7670

Betsy Kopstein-Stuts 485-7044


Directions: 67 South Randolph Ave. can be accessed from Hooker Ave. or take Route 9 to Sharon Dr (near Holiday Inn).  At the end of Sharon turn left onto Beechwood then the first right onto Ferris Lane, next an immediate left to S. Randolph.  The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Poughkeepsie is on the right. ■



 Online Calendar at

Contact: Kathy Friedman


2       Word Games: 2:00 pm

         Hostess: Sue Doyle (474-1232)

         Coordinator: Betsy Vivas (485-2379)

3       World Travelers: 7:00 pm

         Alsace - a unique region

         Presenter: Klaus and Linda Beyer

         Hostess: Susie Blecker

         Reservations: Jeanette Cantwell (452-4188)


4       The Ediss Book Group: 7:00 pm

         Book: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

         Hostess: Gabriella Drasny (471-5406)

         Coordinator: Celia Serotsky (473-8426)

5       Board Meeting: 7:00 pm

         St. John’s Lutheran Church, Wilbur Blvd., Poughkeepsie

7       Trekkers: 9:00 am

  Meet Lime Kiln Road/I/84 Park & Ride

         Rockefeller State Park Preserve Hike

         Leader: Karen Haynes (297-5700)

         Coordinator: Karen Haynes (297-5700)

9       All those books...: 2:30 pm

         Book: The Wapshop Chronicle by John Cheever

         Hostess: Ruth Kava,

         Coordinator: Carol Loizides

10     “The Branch” deadline for December.

10     Movie Night: Time TBD by show

         Movie: Group members will be notified the

         Thursday before - sign up with Sue.

         Discussion: Eveready Diner, Rt. 9, Hyde Park

         Director: Susan Osterhoudt (889-4469)


         Producer: Diana Gleeson

11     Gourmet: Out & About: 6:30 pm

  Joseph’s Steakhouse, Route 9G, Hyde Park

  Contact: Mary Ann Boylan (462-2504)

           Kay Saderholm (229-8545)

11     Mah Jongg: Noon - 4:00 pm  

         Uno Chicago Grill – Lunch

         Contact Blanche (462-3955) by Nov 9

         Coordinator: Blanche Bergman (462-3955)

12     General Membership Program: 7:00 pm

         All members are invited and encouraged to attend – see

         details on page 1& 4.

13     Daytime Literature: 10:00 am

         Book: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

         The Manor at Woodside, 168 Academy, Pok.

         Coordinators: Leona Miller (471-0777) &

                  Vicki Greenberg (462-6763)

14     Bridge 3: 10:00 am

  Hostess: Raina Maissel (297-8466)

         Coordinator: Donna Reichner

16     Manderley Literary Society: 7:30 pm

         Book: Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

         Hostess: Linda Lurie (229-7828)

         Coordinator: Rochelle Friedman (462-4996)

17     Cuisine: 6:30 pm


         Recipes: Barbara Lemberger

         Hostess: Barbara Van Itallie (462-3924) &

                  Betty Olson (889-4836)

         Coordinator: Barbara Lemberger


18     Bridge I: 1:00 - 4:00 pm

         Hostess: Jeanette Cantwell (452-4188)

         Coordinators: Linda Ronayne (897-9745) &

                  Mary Ann Ryan (897-9679)

19     Aventures en Soleil: 11:30 pm

  Lower East Side Tenement Museum (103 Orchard Street)

  Contact: Liz Graham,

  Send check for $26 made out to Liz Graham at

  15 Thornwood Drive, Poughkeepsie NY 12603

  by October 21

         Coordinator: Ruth Sheets (473-6202)

20     Diversity, Broaden Our Borders: 5:00 pm

         International Thanksgiving Dinner

         DCC, Bowne Hall, Room 122

         Coordinator: Jacqueline Goffe-McNish


Note: Diversity: October 23rd at DCC in

                  Taconic Lecture Theatre.

         Film and discussion of the docudrama Daughters of Dust.

         See details Page 7.

20     Poetry & Play Readings: 2:00 pm 

         Selected Play Readings

         Hostess: Verna Carr

         Coordinators: Jackie Sweeney &

                  Carol Loizides

21     Friends of Trekkers: Time and Location TBA

         Tousey Winery Tour including Tasting & Grounds Walk

         Leader: Tori Smith (345-0043)

         Coordinator: Karen Haynes (297-5700)


Interest Groups below will not meet in November

  due to holidays.


Art on the Go

         Coordinator: Mary Coiteux (226-8275)

Bridge II

         Coordinator: Cathy Kinn 

Contemporary Literature

         Coordinators: Ann Wade (229-5267) &

                  Linda Freisitzer (266-5427)

Pedal Pushers 

         Watch for our return in April.

         Coordinator: Sheila Zweifler

Pins & Needles

  Coordinators: Arlene Seligman (297-0006) &

                  Mary Ann Williams (868-7465)      



Barbara Van Itallie *462-3924*


What National AAUW Means to You


When you join our Poughkeepsie branch you also become a member of National AAUW.  This national organization is our lobbying, public policy and research arm. National also provides grants to individuals and branches, and assistance to our local branches.  For example, AAUW Vice President of Government Relations, Lisa Maatz, recently testified before the U.S. Congress at a hearing on preventing and responding to sexual assault on college campuses.  The latest research report, “Solving the Equation,” features the latest data on women’s achievement in subjects related to engineering and computing, how few women are working in these fields, and what can be done.


I received an interesting report from National AAUW about their impact and assistance in each individual state.  A few examples of National AAUW activities in the 2014 fiscal year, touching on NY State, follow.


AAUW staff liaised with members of Congress and the AAUW of New York members to hold a Women’s Economic agenda event with Leader Pelosi and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-12).


AAUW’s voice was amplified by mentions in more than 804 national media outlets for Equal Pay Day in 2014, including National Public Radio and the New York Times.


Kimberly Pollard, an AAUW state organizer, spoke at the AAUW of New York lobby day, and also assisted our branch board by helping us focus on goals for 2014-15.


Many colleges and universities in New York State are AAUW College/University Partners, including Vassar, Marist, Dutchess Community College, Mount St. Mary and SUNY New Paltz.


A panel at the 58th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women featured AAUW’s Women in Community Colleges: Access to Success.


AAUW Action Fund Lobby Corps made 43 visits to members of Congress from New York in 2014.


New Yorkers sent 20,744 messages to Congress and the president through the Two-Minute Activist tool in 2014.


During this period AAUW gave 11 fellowships to New York women to support scholars who are completing dissertations or furthering their research, and another five Career Development Grants to provide funding to women preparing to advance or change careers or re-enter the workforce, particularly in nontraditional fields.


AAUW public policy staff provided material for 36 events in New York, including 26 Equal Pay Day events.


And more recently, Ann Hedgepeth, National AAUW’s Government Relations manager, spoke at our branch program on Sexual Assault on campus.


We are pleased to be part of this vital national organization, researching and promoting issues of importance to us.  For more information on National AAUW, please go to . ■



Not your spam box


To be sure to get those very important emails from your Interest Groups and Community Initiatives put the name and email of your leaders in your email contact list.  By doing this, their emails will not go into your spam box.


The same should be done with my email and .  We both send emails from AAUW to the entire membership. ■



Peggy Kelland *297-0507*


The AAUW Poughkeepsie Branch and the Girl Scout New Oaks Service Unit are hosting an event on November 13, 2015 called “Finding Your Own Voice.”  This is the second of our monthly events.  The committee has planned an evening of self exploration through writing, art, and storytelling.  These events are open to girls grades 6-12, cadets, seniors and ambassador Girl Scouts and their friends. November’s event is at R. C. Ketcham HS from 6:30 to 8:30.  The Girl Scouts arrange for the venues, transportation and insurance while we AAUW members plan the programs and provide facilitators.


AAUW members are welcome and needed to suggest topics, serve on the planning committee, and help at programs. Please, come join us. We need additional volunteers to help facilitate.


Our next two programs are Friday, December 11, 2015 - “Finding Common Ground” and “January 8, 2016 - “Caring For Your Community.”  Consider joining us in our effort to inspire, encourage and empower girls. Please call Peggy Kelland at 845/485-7697 or Marcine Humphrey at 845/485-7697.




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


Patrons ($25 or more)


Catherine Albanese,  Marge Barton,  Mary Ann Boylan,

 Joan Cordani, Patricia DeLeo,  Lillian DePasquale, 

Ruth Gau,  Gloria Gibbs,  Sandy Goldberg,

Jacqueline Prusak, Terry Schneider


Sponsors ($10 or more)


Ann Wade


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


WHAT’S HAPPENING, In Our Interest Groups?


Ruth Sheets *473-6202*


The November trip to the Tenement Museum is full and is closed to reservations.  Liz Graham will be emailing any final details to the trip participants, at a later date closer to the actual trip.


Regretfully, the December trip to St. John the Divine Cathedral is cancelled because we were unable to reserve the tours that we wanted.  I've asked Peggy Kelland to offer this trip again at our January Planning Meeting 2016 to be voted on with other suggested trips that other members offer. 


The email list for Soleil has been updated.  If you did not receive an email in October or one of your AAUW Poughkeepsie member friends did not and you want to be on the email list, please contact me, Ruth Sheets at  or phone 473-6202.


The annual planning meeting in January is scheduled for January 21, 2016 at the Galleria Community Room.  Snow date is January 26th.  (But hopefully, we won't need it!)  It is not too soon to start thinking about a trip you might like to offer!


Continued from Above



November brings another exciting month of programming.  Come join us to learn “What Woman Can Do with an Auto” on Thursday, November 12th at 7 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall at 67 South Randolph Avenue, Poughkeepsie. 


Carla Lesh, our presenter, is an archivist and historian with a Ph.D. in American history from the University at Albany.  Her background is in public history, archives and museum work.  She is an archivist at the Dutchess County Historical Society.  “What A Woman Can Do with an Auto” is part of her ongoing research into the experiences of Black, Native and White women in the early automotive era.


Women used automobiles as soon as they had access to them. Black, Native and White women utilized the automobile as they worked to improve their quality of life.  They incorporated the automobile into their lives as they navigated the restrictions of early twentieth-century mainstream society.


With the automobile came a new freedom: freedom from the insult and danger Black women encountered on public transportation in the era of increasing segregation; freedom for Native women to maintain cultural networks, and pursue expanded economic opportunities, despite the restrictions of the policies of the federal government; and freedom from the restrictions of the idealized image of a sheltered, home-centered life for the Victorian-era White woman.  According to the etiquette books, women who behaved in a lady-like manner would be treated with respect when traveling alone on trains or steamships.  But that applied primarily to White women.  Native women were stared at as objects of curiosity.  Black women were in danger of insult and physical attack and required to ride on substandard segregated railroad cars.


In the first decades of the automotive era Black, Native and White American women of varied socioeconomic backgrounds incorporated automobiles into their lives.  They approached the beginning of the twentieth century with unique concerns and common aims as they negotiated their way in mainstream society.  Women used the automobile to achieve their goals and improve their quality of life. ■



Patricia DeLeo *883-5181*  


Season of the Witch


Salem, 1692.  A woman suffers delusions, vomiting, muscle spasms, strange illnesses, fits, unusual speech, hysteria, and the contorting of her body into odd positions.  Determination?  Hang her!  She must be a witch! And they did. 


Poughkeepsie, 2015.  A woman suffers delusions, vomiting, muscle spasms, strange illnesses, fits, unusual speech, hysteria, and the contorting of her body into odd positions.  Determination?  Referred to Planned Parenthood for medical examination and consultation.  Health crisis averted, but there must be a witch!


Where does a woman go when she finds herself pregnant, suffering a miscarriage, suspicious of a lump in her breast, pain in her uterus or ovaries?  Where can she go for anemia, high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetic, thyroid, UTI, STI or STD screening?  What if she needs treatment for a yeast infection or bacterial infection?  A pregnancy or Pap test?  Where can she search for family planning assistance and/or birth control?  Where can her partner go if he or she wants an STD test, infertility screening, vasectomy or birth control?


Women fortunate enough to afford "Cadillac" health plans have access to top doctors, medical practices, services and prescriptions.  Other women pay high deductibles and copays through insurance plans and some pay all out of pocket.  The Affordable Care Act has given some options, but an economically challenged woman remains reliant on safety net services - programs designed to prevent people from falling into extreme poverty, like Planned Parenthood - to receive reproductive and quality health care.


But there is a witch hunt in progress that is attempting to limit women's access to healthcare.  Those who are at odds with the constitutional guarantee for women to make reproductive choices have targeted Planned Parenthood as a scapegoat for their own personal frustrations and resentment of choice.  One political faction threatened a federal government shutdown if funding to Planned Parenthood continued.  When being grilled before Congress, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards proved it was not selling aborted fetal tissue and films suggesting such were edited derivatives designed by anti-abortion groups.  They affirmed no federal dollars were spent funding abortions.  When those issues were rendered non debatable, some members of Congress tried an ad hominem attack at Richards.  Further attacks on budget, financing and statistics on cancer screenings proved unsubstantiated.  Determination?  Keep going, there must be a witch. 


AAUW has long believed that politicians should not insert themselves into the decision-making process when it comes to reproductive health care, which is a basic element of women’s health care overall."  We stand with those advocating for the continued federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

AAUW advocates for increased access and funding for health care and family planning for all women whether it be through private insurance or public funding.  All women should have equal access to legally prescribed or available contraception and family planning. All women have a right to choose and make choices about their health.


End the witch hunt; support Planned Parenthood's efforts to keep healthcare easily accessible to all women.






Susie Blecker *462-7074*


I am delighted to welcome our 25 new members.  We "old timers" hope all of you enjoy being a part of AAUW and that AAUW becomes a big part of your life.  Our new member reception on October 8th was a huge success.  Most of you "newbies" joined us and had an opportunity to get to know each other and our executive board, as well as being treated to great food and a fantastic program on the Victorian Woman.  As I have said before, the secret to getting the most from your AAUW membership is to get involved, so I was thrilled to see so many of you at the meeting.


I want to thank the following people for making our new member reception a success:  Program Chairs, Betsy Kopstein-Stuts and Sandy Goldberg for presenting a fabulous program on the evolution of women's attire; Barbara Lemberger for putting together a great dinner; the members who brought the yummy desserts; and Mary Coiteux who is always there to lend me a hand.


Most importantly, I want to extend a big welcome to our newest members.


Gwen Cardarelli

Beth C. Donohue

Karen Goodman

Carol Gershowitz

Mia Henry

Nancy Leone-Schmidt

Patricia Reilly

Rita Rothfeld

Sharon Strack

Donna Thomas


I am looking forward to seeing all of you next month at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall on November 12th for our next membership meeting where we will learn all about "What a Woman Can Do with an Auto."■



Betty Harrel *462-2141*


Picture a mountain of brightly wrapped packages.  Now picture children's smiling faces as they open up a brand new book and other holiday presents.


One more outreach of our Leading to Reading community project, gift wrapping at Hudson River Lodging has become an AAUW tradition.  The center, located on Route 55 opposite Page Lumber, is the temporary home for numerous Hudson Valley families.  While parents finish school, learn new work skills or attend workshops, families are able to live there for up to two years.


We will have two gift wrapping sessions.  Members bring their own supplies - wrapping paper, tape, scissors, ribbon, gift tags, etc.  Leading to Reading donates a book for each child and presents are purchased by the center staff through community grants.


Sessions are held from 9:30-11:30 am.  To volunteer for Thursday, December 10, please contact Ellie Burch at  or 297-7828.  To sign up for Friday, December 11, please contact Patty Cerniglia at  or 298-7655. ■




Linda Roberts *227-5287*


May 15, 2016 will be our seventh annual Tea and Auction.  This is the only fundraiser that our Branch does all year.  Every year since the first one we have made more money and improved on the quality of this event thanks to the hard work of our committee and AAUW members.  I really want to thank everyone for the amazing job done last year and the beautiful items that were donated to the Auction. 


I will be writing an article for the Branch every month leading up to the event.  Besides your attendance at the Tea what we need most from members are items to be included in the Auction.  Some of the best sellers at the Auction have been:


Items for children and babies

Gift cards and certificates from local businesses

Original art and craft items



All our Interest Groups have been very supportive by donating items.  Some of them have assembled baskets of items that have sold well.  If you want to put together a basket of your own it doesn't have to be huge, it could just be your favorite teas and biscuits, soaps and bath items, or maybe wine and cheese.  Last year we were lucky enough to have some big-ticket items donated, including a week in a Timeshare.  Hopefully we can continue to obtain donations like this.  Let’s try to think out of the box this year and come up with some more creative ideas.


I would particularly like to thank all of the members who have donated to our Auction every single year!!


All of the proceeds from this event are used to support our many wonderful community incentives, the very things that make our Branch as wonderful as it is.


If you are interested in joining our long-standing committee please contact me. 



Peggy Kelland *297-0507*


On Saturday, September 26, Cyd Averill, Mary Lou Davis, Betty Harrel, and I drove up to Adirondack Community College in Queensbury, NY, for the annual fall conference. We were accompanied by NYS AAUW President Edwina Martin.


The program, "Food Insecurity - The Next Step," featured a panel of four speakers.  Kim Cook, director of the Open Door Soup Kitchen, spoke of its varied programs, ranging from free dinners for the poor and/or homeless to backpacks of food distributed at 6 schools every weekend to identified needy children.  She recommended the book Bridges out of Poverty to better understand the multiple barriers faced by poor people.


Ron Hanson, chair of Bridges to Nutrition, mentioned the barriers of lack of transportation and of the high cost of fruits and vegetables.  His organization holds forums featuring the film "A Place at the Table," stages a harvest festival at a low income development, and sets up nutrition circles that coach meal planning, shopping, and cooking.


Belinda Bradley, program director of the Warren-Washington Association for Mental Health, described her work with a psychiatric day program for the mentally ill and substance abusers.  They have set up a garden and built a greenhouse at the center with the help of college and community volunteers, and some of the clients also volunteer in the garden.


The final panelist, Catherine Barton from State Senator Betty Little's office, enumerated some of the federal and state programs to help the hungry.


NYS AAUW Vice President for Public Policy Donna Seymour then spoke about her work with North Country Matters, a series of television programs focused on issues in St. Lawrence County.  Edwina Martin concluded with updates about NYS AAUW matters, including next April's convention in Saratoga Springs. ■


What’s happening in AAUW?

Check your email regularly!


Report any change in your email address and other contact information to Susie Blecker, Membership Vice President, 845/462-7074,  your interest group coordinator(s), and your community initiative chair(s).



Broaden our Borders

Jacqueline Goffe-McNish *471-7220*


People, in an attempt to be “race neutral” say “I do not see color.”  This is many times said by many well-meaning, well-intentioned, kind-hearted people.  I heard my parents say this many times when I was a child growing up in Jamaica.  They were well educated, well positioned in society, and had a reasonable amount of disposable income.  They did not have to see color.  They did not have to notice differences because they were privileged.  We can all believe that color does not matter, that sexual preferences do not matter, that religious affiliations do not matter, and that gender does not matter.  But they do.  Mouthing these platitudes and worse believing them, limits our abilities to meet the needs of the members of our society.  It will also limit the ability of our branch to meet the needs of its members.


This year the Diversity Committee has chosen to use the theme “Broaden Our Borders.”  We have created activities that we hope will educate and entertain while raising the consciousness of our members about differences and the impact they have on the lives of people with limited privileges.  Our first presentation will be on October 23rd at DCC in Taconic Lecture Theatre.  We will be watching and discussing the docudrama “Daughters of Dust.”  This is set on the Gullah Islands off the coast of South Carolina and presents the lives of these creolized people with their strong African retentions.  Carmen McGill and I will be facilitating the discussion. 


The program list for the rest of the year is on the website Program/Community Outreach/Diversity.  We are planning a cultural immersion trip to Jamaica in July 2016.  Please join us. ■


Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc. Officers 2015-2016


President                              Barbara Van Itallie                462-3924

Program V.P.                      Sandy Goldberg                    297-7670

                                             Betsy Kopstein-Stuts             485-7044

Membership V.P.                 Susie Blecker                        462-7074

Educ. Foundation V.P.        Linda Roberts                       227-5287

Secretary                             Katherine Friedman              485-8671

Treasurer                            Diane Jablonski                    485-6228

Membership Treasurer       Mary Anne Hogarty              221-0203

Association website:                               

NY State website:

Poughkeepsie Branch 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).