Poughkeepsie Branch of the

American Association of University Women, Inc.

P.O. Box 1908, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601



Volume 29, Number 4                  60th year of publication       

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December 2015




Linda Beyer *462-0345* 


Let's share the spirit of the holidays with the residents of Grace Smith House at our December meeting.


The children who are residing at Grace Smith House, a home for victims of domestic violence, are remembered and well-provided for with lovely gifts from various community groups at the holidays.  Their mothers, however, need also to feel that the community cares about them and remembers them at holiday time.  Last year you provided a host of wonderful gifts.  They were most appreciated by the women and the staff.  We are asking members attending the December membership meeting to bring along a donated gift for a mother at Grace Smith again this year.  Please send a gift if you cannot attend.  The gifts will be given at the residence by the staff.  Only gifts accepted no checks and no cash.


If you wish to donate a gift to the mothers, please follow the staff's guidelines:


1.  Gifts must be newly purchased and unwrapped.

2.  Gifts must be something usable by the mothers and

     something personal which is uplifting.

3.  Examples of gifts are the following:




      hair dryer

      costume jewelry


      pocket book

      perfume or pretty soaps





      wallet/key case

      mirror/hair brush set


Please remember, all donations must be new and unwrapped – no checks and no cash.  Just bring yours along to the meeting and we will be sure it gets transported to the mothers!


Thank you so much for sharing your holiday spirit! ■




December is such a hectic busy month. Why not take time to relax and renew yourself?


Join us


December 10, 2015

7:00 pm


Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall

67 South Randolph Ave., Poughkeepsie.


“Fun & Friends, Part II”



In an informal setting, try some of the activities prepared for you by members who enjoy them.  The room will be set up in activity stations and you are free to try one station or try them all.  This is the time to have light refreshments and sit and talk with each other.


Our activities include:


Math and Logic Games: Anthula Natsoulas will offer a variety of math and logic games from around the world.  Some are done alone while others are played with a group.


Earring Making: Mary Coiteux  & Pat Luczai will demonstrate earring making for us to try.


Macramé Key Chains: Arlene Seligman from Pins & Needles will teach us how to make this key chain.


Word Games: Betsy Vivas invites us to play some popular word games.


The Ediss Book Group: This interest group will have a literature quiz for us.


Cuisine: You can learn the use of some unusual utensils from members of the Cuisine Group.


Mahjong: Blanche Bergman will introduce us to this favorite game.


Questions: Sandy Goldberg, 297-7670 &

         Betsy Kopstein, 485-7044 



 Online Calendar at

Contact: Kathy Friedman


1       World Travelers: 7:00 pm


         Presenter: Sheila Zweifler

         Hostess: Sheryl Miller (471-2937)

         Reservations: Jeanette Cantwell (452-4188)


2       The Ediss Book Group: 7:00 pm

         Book: The Door by Magda Szabo translated by Len Rix

         Hostess: Helen Buhler (473-0665)

         Coordinator: Celia Serotsky (473-8426)

2       Mah Jongg: Noon - 4:00 pm  

         Uno Chicago Grill – Lunch

         Contact Blanche by Nov 30,

         Coordinator: Blanche Bergman (462-3955)

2       Contemporary Literature: 7:30 pm

         Book: Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

         Hostess: TBA contact coordinators

         Coordinators: Ann Wade (229-5267) &

                  Linda Freisitzer (266-5427)

3       Pins & Needles: 7:00 pm

  Project: Infinity Scarf

  Hostess: Ellie Burch (297-7828)

         Coordinators: Arlene Seligman (297-0006) &

                  Mary Ann Williams (868-7465)      

3       Board Meeting: 7:00 pm

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

4       Art on the Go:

         Visit a Gallery

         Time and place TBA, contact coordinator

         Coordinator: Mary Coiteux (226-8275)

7       Word Games: 2:00 pm

         Hostess: Barbara Van Itallie (462-3924)

         Coordinator: Betsy Vivas (485-2379)

8       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

9       Bridge I: 12:00 noon (note change of time)

         Holiday Lunch and Play

         Coppola’s Rte. 9

         Coordinators:  Linda Ronayne (897-9745)      &

                  Mary Ann Ryan (897-9679)

9       Gourmet: Out & About: 6:30 pm

  West Main St Kitchen & Bar

  2710 W. Main St, Wappingers Falls, NY.

  Contact: Mary Ann Boylan (462-2504)

           Kay Saderholm (229-8545) 

10     “The Branch” deadline for January.

10     General Membership Program: 7:00 pm

         All members are invited and encouraged to attend –

          see details on page 1.

11     Daytime Literature: 10:00 am

         Book: China Dolls by Lisa See

         The Manor at Woodside, 168 Academy, Pok.

         Coordinators: Leona Miller (471-0777) &

                  Vicki Greenberg (462-6763)

12     Bridge 3: 10:00 am

  Hostess: Shirley Granda (452-2686)

         Coordinator: Donna Reichner

14     All those books...: 2:30 pm

         Book: Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

         Hostess: Karin Fein,

         Coordinator: Carol Loizides (452-3208)

15     Cuisine: 6:30 pm

         Holiday appetizers, desserts and drinks

         Recipes: Barbara Lemberger,

         Hostess: Barbara Lemberger

         Coordinator: Barbara Lemberger


15     Bridge II: 12:00-4:00 pm

         Holiday Party

         Uno Chicago Grill – Lunch ($15)

         Coordinator: Cathy Kinn 

20     “The Branch” deadline for February. – Note change.

21     Manderley Literary Society: 7:30 pm

         Book: Sancastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian

         Hostess: Pat Gullick (221-0042)

         Coordinator: Rochelle Friedman (462-4996)



         Mystery Event

         Time and Date TBA

         Contact: Pat Luczai (463-4662)


The following groups will not meet this month


Aventures en Soleil:

         Coordinator: Ruth Sheets (473-6202)

Diversity, Broaden Our Borders:

         Coordinator: Jacqueline Goffe-McNish


Pedal Pushers: Watch for our return on April 8.

         Coordinator: Sheila Zweifler

Poetry & Play Readings:

         Coordinators: Jackie Sweeney &

                  Carol Loizides


Happy Hanukkah!!


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE                

Barbara Van Itallie *462-3924*


As some of you might know, my son and his family live in Australia.  I have visited Australia many times, and of course have taken an interest in the county.  Many people ask me how my son came to live in Australia, and how he likes living there.  I will answer these questions after I tell you a little more about Australia, and compare the US and Australia in terms of some issues that concern us all.


Australia shares our English heritage, having been colonized by Britain in 1788.  It is a modern, developed, wealthy, democratic country.  For many, there is a good standard of living with a way of life very similar to ours.  Australia ranks very high on the UN’s Human Development Index, just slightly higher than the US, which measure things like education, life expectancy and income.  Yet Australia differs from us in some dramatic ways also.  Even though the area of Australia is about the same as the continental US, their population is a mere 7% of that of the US.  Australia is an island, relatively distant from many other parts of the world.  So its small population density and relative isolation have certainly contributed to its culture and policies.


I have become particularly interested in the differences between the counties in terms of the social and political policies.  Since I am writing this a few days after our recent local elections, I am reminded of the differences in the voting patterns in each country.  The voter turnout at the recent Dutchess County election was 28%.  It is estimated that in the last US presidential election, the turnout of eligible voters was 55%.  Almost one in four eligible persons is not registered to vote.  These are disproportionately low-income voters, people of color, and younger Americans.  Voter turnout in Australia for the 1925 federal election stood at about 60%, after which compulsory voting was instituted for federal, state and most local elections.  Voter registration is mandatory as well.  Today in Australia voter turnout is estimated to be about 95%, with a fine imposed on those who cannot provide a valid reason why they could not vote.  Yet compulsory voting is controversial, with some thinking it is not fair for the government to force citizens to vote if they don't have an opinion or to threaten them into voting with a fine, and thus a movement to have citizens turn in blank ballots has begun.


I will continue the US-Australia comparison in next month’s column.  Between now and then, have a wonderful holiday season! ■




Dec 20: Deadline for the February newsletter.


Apr 15 - 17, 2016: AAUW-NYS Convention, Saratoga


May 15, 2016: Writers' Tea & Auction



Maria DeWald, Community Initiatives Liaison


If you would like to be involved in the reinstitution of our Poughkeepsie AAUW Girls’ Conference, please read on!


It is always exciting to be involved in planning an event that will help increase the confidence and communication skills of young girls, particularly at the middle/junior high school level. After a recent meeting of several AAUW members dedicated to again sponsoring a Girls’ Conference, we are now ready to begin the planning to have that happen in Fall, 2016.  Although there is lots of enthusiasm and energy to make this happen, and many who have already committed to a leadership role, we would like to also involve many of you in making this a memorable and impacting experience for middle school- aged girls.


There are many ways to be involved such as volunteering to be a contact for one of the Dutchess County middle schools (see following list), lining up workshop presenters or facilitators, helping with logistics of the day, working on publicity/registration/materials and many other tasks large and small.  There is ample opportunity to shape this Conference, which we hope will be an annual event, with your input and assistance.  We need your ideas, leadership and follow through for this to work.


Our next meeting will be Monday, December 7 from 7:00-9:00 pm, and every first Monday of the month after that, to plan the Conference.  Please let Barbara Van Itallie/  know if you are interested in helping (and to rsvp for the meeting) so we can keep you informed.


Looking forward to your participation! ■



Barbara Van Itallie


I am pleased to announced that Sabashnee Govender has accepted the position of Chair of our Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW International Initiative.  In this position Sabashnee will keep us informed about any international issues of particular importance to women and might propose any projects to help us do so.  Sabashnees, a native of South Africa, works as an occupational therapist.  An AAUW member since 2013, she worked with our previous Chair, Christie Van Horne, who we thank for her leadership in this area.  If you wish to work on the International Initiative, have a project to suggest, or wish to be on the International Initiative mailing list, please contact her at . 




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



Mary Coiteux *226-8275*

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


Hats Off to Carol Loizides for the exhibition of her art work. Participating with Long Reach Arts, her work can be seen at Hudson Valley LGBTQ in Kingston from December through February.


Hats Off to Diane Jablonski for a “race well run.”  Diane made a strong showing in the race for County Executive.  We are proud of her efforts and offer our congratulations.


Hats Off to the following women who have volunteered their time and talents to make our December members program “Fun & Friend, Part II” an exciting event.  Thank you Blanche Bergman, Mary Coiteux, Pat Luczai, Anthula Natsoulas, Arlene Seligman, Betsy Vivas and members of Ediss and Cuisine. ■



Margaret Nijhuis *635-8612*


You should have received by email a link to the AAUW-NYS newsletter, Focus, in early November.


If missed the email please go to our website and select Membership/Publications/Focus to read the latest from AAUW-NYS and from the Communications Director, our own, Cyd Averill.




Dear AAUW members,


I was most honored to be chosen as the Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW Women of the Year.


Thank you for the recognition of my service to AAUW and the community.


I appreciate all of the support I received from our branch members and my friends as I volunteered for a variety of community organizations and AAUW.


Mary Lou



Susie Blecker *462-7074*


At this time I want to welcome our newest AAUW members, Maureen Crush and Suzanne Turetsky, who joined our organization after our October general membership meeting.  We are thrilled to have you and hope you will get involved in the many activities and initiatives AAUW offers.


This fall our Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW has added 26 new members and 5 transfer members.  That puts our total membership at 367.  New people bring dynamic ideas and add an extra dimension to our organization.  It is so exciting to see our branch growing and thriving.


Soon you should be receiving our 2016 Membership Directory in the US mail .  It lists the names, addresses, phone numbers and emails of all our members.  It is a wonderful resource; it contains all of the information stated above and more.  Keep it handy so you will always be able to contact members.


I want to thank Mary-Jo Cottrell, Mary Ann Hogarty and Margaret Nijhuis for all their hard work preparing the directory and also Jeanette Cantwell, Mary Ann Boylan, Kay Saderholm and Sherie Goldstein who helped stuff the envelopes and get the directories in the mail.


I am looking forward to seeing all of you at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall on December 10th for our Branch Activity Night. It is such a fun evening.  Don't miss it!  Happy Holidays to all. ■






Patricia DeLeo *883-5181*  


Happy Campaign Year 2016


As we approach the new year, we can look forward to ten months of campaigning from presidential, congressional and senate hopefuls.  TV ads, radio ads, and social media will bombard the same messages.  Phones will be ringing with automated voices soliciting support.  How does one make sense of the barrage?  How does one keep focus?  How does one vote for a candidate and not a campaign?


First, return to basics.  When was the last time you read The Constitution?  This is America's blueprint, "the engine the president engineers, " the job description for politicians.  Read the Bill of Rights and Amendments.  These are the rules the government must play by and protect, like them or not. 


Research the job specs for the presidency.  Identify the qualities important to you that bear on presidential performance.  Make a national and international issues list.  Half should reflect your immediate concerns and half the concerns you anticipate over the next ten years.  Who do you think can turn your wish list into a reality?  Make a scorecard as if you are a citizen of the nation and world. 


Second, define your agenda.   While some issues are symbiotic, other issues become more unique to state or federal action.  Define your priorities: civil rights, women's rights, immigration, Social Security, trade, the environment/energy, international relations, the military, education, right to choose, marriage, gun control, health care, taxes, union and pension systems, or crime.  Consider AAUW's public policy priorities: civil rights for all; economic self sufficiency; adherence to

Title IX and educational opportunity.  The more personal the issue, the more likely it is a state issue.  The more humanitarian the issue, more likely it is a federal issue.


Third, be open minded to all candidates.  Don't let a media frenzy deafen you from hearing what it is being said by the candidates themselves.  How does past action align with future promise?  Actions speak louder than words.  Use incumbents' histories to anticipate their future actions. .  Take fifteen minutes to take the quiz at  You might be surprised by the results and learn a little more about all the candidates.


Last, decode the rhetoric.  Energy and charisma can disguise content.  Remember freshman English fallacies: red herring; non sequitur, ad hominem, false analogy, bandwagoning, begging the question, equivocation, straw man, hasty generalization, zero tolerance.  Manipulative speech writers can make you forget why and for what you are listening


By identifying candidates early, you may choose to get involved in helping a candidate.  You can volunteer for campaign work, write letters to the editor, or simply discuss with an informed opinion.  Be part of the process.  After all, it is your vote.  Happy New Year!  Welcome to the campaigns of 2016. ■



Betty Harrel *462-2141*


What do washi tape, ziploc bags and dystopian books have to do with AAUW?  All three were part of a recent Leading to Reading project at the Poughkeepsie Day School.


Students at the school participate in a community service unit.  Leading to Reading volunteers held a workshop for middle school students.  They made bookmarks (using washi tape) to place in our reading packets, wrote 50 word reviews to entice others to read a favorite book, and put together Books for Babies packets (in ziploc bags).  As a conclusion of their unit, posters on early literacy, including Leading to Reading information, will be placed in the Boardman Road branch library.


Once again, our members had a great time and helped to spread news about the good works of AAUW!



Maria DeWald, Community Liaison Chair


Middle School/Junior High Liaisons for the AAUW Girls’ Conference: Do you have a student or know a staff person at one of the following middle/junior high schools who can help inform their middle school students about the Fall, 2016 AAUW Girls’ Conference?  Can you either send us a name or volunteer to be a liaison for that school?  Your job would simply be to help motivate attendance from that school at the Conference next fall. Please contact Bonnie Auchincloss, Middle School Liaison, at  or 845-635-5191.


Arlington: LaGrange MS and Union Vale MS

Beacon: Rombout MS

Dover: Dover MS

Hyde Park: Haviland MS

Millbrook: Millbrook MS

Pawling: Pawling MS

Pine Plains: Stissing Mountain MS

Poughkeepsie: Poughkeepsie MS, Circle of Courage

Red Hook: Linden Avenue MS

Rhinebeck: Bulkeley MS

Spackenkill: Todd MS

Wappingers: Van Wyck JHS and Wappingers JHS

Webutuck (North East): Eugene Brooks Intermediate ■



Linda Roberts *227-5287*


Please note that the date of our Tea/Auction next year has been changed to May 15.


I would like to welcome all of our new members to our AAUW Branch!  We are so happy to have you as a part of our family.  I hope that you have all been able to find some activities that interest you and join some of our many Interest Groups.


We only have one fundraiser each year that helps to pay for so many of our community initiatives and scholarship efforts.  This is our annual Writers’ Tea &Auction.  2016 will be our seventh year.  This event has raised a considerable amount of money and gets better every year thanks to the efforts of our membership.  We have many talented people in our organization who contribute their amazing art & craft work to the auction every year.  Our members also go out into the community to get contributions from local businesses; restaurants, salons, etc.  The only way this event can be successful is with the combined efforts of our members.


If you are out shopping for holiday gifts, think about asking stores and businesses that you frequent to donate something.  It has been our experience in the last six years that we are hardly ever turned down!  There is a link on our website for our Vendor Letter that you can present to potential donors to further explain our mission.


We would like everyone to get involved in this wonderful event and have a wonderful time doing it.  If you would like to be on my committee or help in any way, please contact me or one of my committee members, listed below.  Their numbers are in the new 2015-16 Directory- which you will receive any day.

Gloria Gibbs            Marcine Humphrey         Doris Kelly

Ginny Marcus          Barbara Mindel      Donna Reichner

Vivian Rose              Suzie Stoller   


Thanks you and have a wonderful holiday season! ■


Joyous Kwanzaa




It is never too early to start talking about the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL).  It is scheduled for June 2-4, 2016, at the University of Maryland, College Park (just outside Washington, DC). We are looking for a college woman who would like to expand her horizons and develop her leadership skills!


The scholarship covers the registration fee as well as all scheduled meals and housing from Thursday to Saturday.  A travel stipend will also be included.  Each year we ask local college women to apply for the conference scholarship.  Since 1985, the NCCWSL has provided a platform to help college and university women develop leadership skills, network with other student leaders and interact with women who hold leadership positions.  As America’s premier conference for college women, the conference provides a transformative experience.  Past recipients have said:


“It is good to be surrounded by women who care so much about the future.  I felt honored to be a part of something so awesome and empowering and to be surrounded by women (and some men) from across the country.”


“The conference completely changed my outlook on the effects of women leadership and has provided me with a more positive attitude on my own potential.”


Please help spread the word about this wonderful opportunity. We are looking for women who work on college campuses to help us reach out to students.  Contact Marcine Humphrey (845/485-7697) or visit our website as well as  for more information.  Our next meeting will be January 10th at 2:30 at my home.  Consider joining the committee, too! ■



Voting will take place at the January 14th membership meeting.


The National AAUW has mandated changes to the bylaws of all AAUW branches.  These changes involve some additions, changes in wording and numbering of articles that must be made in order that our bylaws conform to the national bylaws.  Since these changes are mandatory (they were approved by a membership vote held last spring and announced at the National Convention in June), they do not have to be approved by the local membership.  However, we have included the following non-mandated changes.  The membership will be voting to approve these changes in January.


Ø  Article VI, section 1C (formerly Article VII, section 3)

Previous wording states “The appointed directors shall be appointed by the president and the board and shall be the following as needed to fulfill the functions of the Organization:  editor, coordinators of women’s issues, honors and awards, international relations, public policy, community, education, cultural, publicity, bylaws, interest groups, hospitality, and Legal Advocacy Fund.”

The new wording states “The appointed directors shall be appointed by the president and the board as needed to fulfill the functions of the Organization.”


Ø  Article VI, Section 1 – add the following sentences:

H.  If a position is filled by co-chairs, each individual shall have one vote.

I.  The immediate past president may serve on the board as an advisor for one year at the completion of her term of office.  She shall be entitled to one vote.


The current bylaws of the Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc., the Poughkeepsie bylaws with the mandated changes, as well as a copy of the mandated bylaws changes from National AAUW may be read and/or printed from our website /About Us/ Policies and Procedures.


Merry Christmas!



Legal Advocacy Fund

Sharon Clarke *473-9468*


What a great day we had at the Rib Fest held at the Ulster County Fair Grounds on August 14 – 16 organized by the Highland Rotary Club!  We handed out programs, worked the entrances, directed traffic to the ATM and bathrooms, staffed the beer tent, cleaned tables, and sold raffle tickets.  We got to make new friends as we worked and listened to great music.  What a fun way to make money for the LAF fund!  Our volunteers racked up $420.00, and probably feasted on ribs and pulled pork sandwiches when their shift was over.  Well done, volunteers! We will hopefully be doing the 2016 Ribfest next year and look forward to seeing new and returning volunteers! 


I have enjoyed organizing the volunteers for AAUW and look forward to next year.


Thank you to our amazing group of volunteers:


Sharon Clarke                  Keith Humphrey

Marcine Humphrey         Monique Jones

Meg Banks                        Carmen McGill

Suzi Stoller                        Herb Stoller

Margaret Nijuis               Sabashnee Govender

Barbara Van Itallie         Phil Van Itallie

Mildred Jones                   Marguerite Cotter

Gwen Higgins                   Marsha Letcher



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).