Poughkeepsie Branch of the

American Association of University Women, Inc.

P.O. Box 1908, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601





Volume 27, Number 4                           

Our 58th year of publication                                  

December 2013





Woman of the Year 2013

Marge Barton *896-0164*


I have just returned home from our 2013 Woman of the Year Luncheon.  What a celebration!  Patti Peck, our honoree, is a tireless advocate for those less fortunate in our community.  What she has built in the last 14 years leaves one shaking their head, wondering how just one woman could impact so many lives!  Many of her supporters and volunteers came to honor her, as well as many AAUW members.  Those of you who attended, please let your friends know what a marvelous chance this is to acknowledge an "unsung hero" in our community!  Perhaps our membership attendance will be even higher next year.


During our luncheon, some of you asked how you could donate to Patti's ministry.  You can do so by sending a donation to "His Table" Ministries, P.O. Box 523, Hopewell Junction, NY 12533.


Patti also accepts donations of gently used baby and children's items and clothing.  You can contact her at 845/897-6023.  You will probably have to leave a message, but she will get back to you!


Always thinking ahead...please put on your thinking caps and let us know about a woman you would like to nominate as our next Woman of the Year.  I am now passing leadership over to Pat Luczai.  Most of the committee will stay on to help her, as we all strongly believe in this wonderful event.



January 9, 2014, 7 pm

(Snow Date, January 16, 2014)


As a lead up to Black History Month, please join us on January 9, 2014 to hear Michael Lord, Associate Director of Education for Historic Hudson Valley, present a talk about the history of slavery in New York.


Michael Lord’s presentation will examine the issues, events and individual choices surrounding enslavement in the Hudson Valley from the perspective of the enslaved.  Using a select group of individuals, Lord’s conversation traces the development of slavery in NY, everyday life for those enslaved in the Hudson River Valley, resistance to the institution, emancipation, and why this most American of stories continues to be relevant.



Local Effects of Climate Change in Dutchess County


December 12, 2013

           7:00 pm

( snow date of December 19, 2013)


Presenter:  John DeGilio


Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Poughkeepsie*

67 S. Randolph Avenue, Poughkeepsie, New York


John (Skip) DeGilio is a lifelong educator in the Dutchess County area, having taught at every grade level from Elementary to College.  For the past 8 years he has been a member of the Dutchess County Environmental Management Council.  The Council was appointed by the Dutchess County Legislature to advise and educate county and local governments and the public on environmental issues that affect the preservation and sustainable uses of our natural resources in Dutchess County.


Skip will give us up-to-date information about climate change, its effect on our Hudson Valley.  He will explain we, as an educated public, can integrate climate change information (e.g., increased floods, increased droughts and increased summertime heat) into our local community planning to reduce risks and adapt to the changing climate.


Questions: Susie Blecker (462-7074) or ,

         Mary Coiteux (226-8275) or


Our monthly meetings are free and open to the public so bring along a friend who wants to learn more about climate change and its impact on us all.


*Directions below


Continued below...


 Online Calendar at

Contact: Kathy Friedman

         2       Word Games: 2:00 pm

         Hostess: Carol Loizides (453-3208)

         Coordinator: Ellie Charwat (462-7061)

4        The Ediss Book Group: 7:00 pm

         Book: Climates

         by: Andre Maurois

         Hostess: Mary Jo Mann (632-3003)

         Coordinator: Celia Serotsky (473-8426)

5        Aventures en Soleil: 1:00 pm

  Holiday Musical at Caramour, Katonah, NY

  Reservations: Peggy Kelland (297-0507)

         Coordinator: Ruth Sheets (473-6202)

         5       Board Meeting: 7:00 pm

         Hostess: Jackie Goffe-McNish


5        Pins & Needles: 7:00 pm

  Project: Shawls

         Hostess: Arlene Seligman (297-0006)

         Coordinators: Arlene Seligman (297-0006) &

                  Jane Toll (463-2712)       

         10     “The Branch” deadline for January.    

10      Bridge Party: Noon – 4:00 pm

  Uno (on the arterial) – Lunch ($15) and Game

  Contact: Cathy Kinn,

  All AAUW players are welcome.

10      Bridge I: Will attend the Bridge Party

         Coordinators:  Linda Ronayne (897-9745)      &

                  Mary Ann Ryan (897-9679)

10      Bridge II: Will attend the Bridge Party

         Coordinators: Cathy Kinn &

                  Jackie Prusak (226-6049)

         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      Mah Jongg:  Noon - 4:00 pm

         Uno Chicago Grill (on the arterial) - Lunch ($15)

         Contact Jackie Prusak, by Dec 9

         Coordinator: Amy Schwed (462-2269)

         12     General Membership Meeting: 7:00 pm

         All members are invited and encouraged to attend –

         see details on the page 1, 4 and 7.

13      Daytime Literature: 10:00 am

         Book: Gone Girl

         by Gillian Flynn

         The Manor at Woodside, 168 Academy, Pok.

         Coordinators: Pat Dogil (454-5441)

                  Diana Gleeson (229-8458)

14      Bridge 3: 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

  Hostess: Noreen Rothman (452-2670)

         Coordinator: Donna Reichner

         14     Trekkers: 9:00 am

         Mystery Event

         Organizers: Karen Haynes (297-5700) &

                  Pat Luczai (463-4662)

         Coordinator: Karen Haynes (297-5700)

16      Manderley Literary Society: 7:30 pm

         Book: Burgess Boys

         by Elizabeth Strout

         Hostess: Patty Cerniglia (398-7655)

         Coordinator: Ellie Burch (297-7828)

         17     Cuisine: 6:30 pm

         Soup Sampling

         Recipes: Barbara Lemberger,

         Hostess: Barbara Van Itallie,

         Coordinator: Barbara Van Itallie (462-3924)

23      All those books...: 7:00 pm     

         Book:  I am a Cat

         by Soseki Natsume

         Hostess: Naoko Ojio (452-3208)

         Coordinator: Carol Loizides (452-3208)


Groups not meeting in December


Art on the Go:

         Coordinator: Mary Coiteux (226-8275)

Contemporary Literature:

         Coordinators: Ann Wade (229-5267) &

                  Linda Freisitzer (266-5427)

Gourmet: Out & About:

  Contact: Kay Saderholm (229-8545)


Women’s Personal & Professional Development:

         Coordinator: Jacqueline Goffe-McNish


World Travelers:

         Coordinator: Jeanette Cantwell (452-4188)





January 9, 2014 Enslavement in New York During

                           Colonial Times Michael Lord, see above

January 31, 2014    CTAUN Conference UN

April 13, 2014          Writers’ Tea, see below

April 25 – 27, 2014 AAUW-NYS Convention, see below

                  “A World of Wellness”


         Happy Hanukkah! 


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE                

Jacqueline Goffe-McNish *471-7220*   


The Myth of the Eagle: Renewal


We have just concluded a period when all of us took a moment to give thanks.  I am thankful for this organization, Poughkeepsie AAUW, which has taught me many useful skills and sharpened many I already had.  I have reviewed many strongly held beliefs and revised my understanding of some major issues.  This is a habit I have developed over the years, as I go from Thanksgiving to anticipating the New Year.  I begin to ask myself what I can do differently and how I can make a positive impact on the community in which I live.  I am conscious that if I want to remain relevant in today’s fast paced, highly technological society, I must make changes in how I think about issues and perform activities.  I know this can sometimes be painful but absolutely needed if I want to be renewed.


The myth of the eagle can be instructive.  The myth states that when the eagle approaches its thirtieth year of life, it must decide its future.  It can live for another thirty years if it chooses to go through a painful metamorphic.  If it does not, it will die.  The process begins with the eagle flying to a secluded place on the top of a mountain to complete this process.  It must break its beak against a rock; destroy its talons by beating them against a hard surface, and pluck out all of its feathers which have now become heavy with age.  It must now wait in this secluded place, vulnerable and alone, until the beak, talons and feathers grow back.  After 150 days the eagle must burst the oil glands at the base of its wings to lubricate its new feathers.  It is now able to soar and begin a renewed life which can extend to another thirty years; another lifetime.


As Poughkeepsie AAUW continues to change and strip away old habits, we will grow.  These habits were not necessarily bad, since they have served us well in the past.  But, we need a new way of attracting a diverse group of women who are willing to work for the overall good of the community.  We need women who do not simply want to develop themselves personally, but want to give back to the community and work for the development of the organization.  We cannot begin to visualize how great this organization can be when we really commit ourselves to “Broaden Our Borders”.




Plans are underway for the

5th Anniversary of the Writers’ Tea. 


The date is set:  April 13, 2014 mark your calendar!


The place is set: The Links at Union Vale


And we are pleased to spotlight the first of our authors:



Mary Lou Davis *223-5544*


Frances F. Dunwell is the author of the award-winning book, The Hudson River Highlands, and The Hudson: America's River.  She has spent over thirty years in a number of nonprofit and governmental positions dedicated to conserving the natural, scenic and historic heritage of the Hudson River.


Early in her career, in the mid 1970's, when Dunwell served as the Executive Director of the Center for the Hudson River Valley, she met some of the transformative people who have influenced the river's recent history--people like Franny Reese and Larry Rockefeller, who served on her board of directors, and others like Bob Boyle, Pete Seeger and Peter Berle, whose work to clean up the river set the stage for her generation to follow.  In the 1980's she organized statewide coalitions to support the passage of legislation such as the New York State Waterfront Revitalization Act and the amendments to state law which facilitated the use of conservation easements to protect land.  She also conducted educational outreach in support of the inclusion of over 300 structures on the state and national registers of historic places, and she secured the designation of four tidal wetlands on the Hudson River in the National Estuarine Research Reserve system.  More recently, she was involved in the designation of the Hudson River Valley as a National Heritage Area, organized a program to conserve biodiversity in the Hudson Valley and facilitated work on recovery of American shad, a fish that is declining in the Hudson River and coast wide.



Publisher’s Weekly wrote:

In her book The Hudson: America’s River, she tells the story of the magical river that has been central to New York's power and to the history of the United States.  Beginning with the Native Americans who lived near the Hudson, Dunwell follows the river through the centuries, describing the painters—like Thomas Cole—who found in the river inspiration for great art and the Civilian Conservation Corps’ work to build recreational facilities during the Great Depression.  Covering the Hudson through space as well as time, Dunwell ranges from the building of the Erie Canal to the erection of the Statue of Liberty, and the Gilded Age estates of J.P. Morgan and Jay Gould.  She pays particular attention to the tension between harnessing the Hudson's economic potential and preserving its natural beauty.

Supporters of The Branch!!


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, Joan Cordani, Marguerite Cotter,

Lillian DePasquale, Marion Effron, Joan Fay,

Ruth Gau, Gloria Gibbs, Sandra Goldberg, Doris Kelly,

Peggy Lombardi, Jean Miller, Jacqueline Prusak,

Margaret Ruggeri (In Memoriam), Brenda Schaffer

Terry Schneider, Barbara Van Itallie


Sponsors ($10 or more)


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


Continued from above...

Local Effects of Climate Change in Dutchess County


The need to work together is central to his presentation.  Water, for example, is one of our most important resources. Throughout this region’s history, it has connected us in ways that cross political boundaries.  Preserving the quality of the streams, lakes and ponds, ensuring the protection of our groundwater is a common goal for the common good.


Skip DeGilio says “Mitigating the problems that come with global warming are going to require a much higher level of inter-municipal cooperation.  It is vitally important that we have a citizenry that understands the consequence of failing to act collaboratively.  You can be sure that my presentation will be richly seasoned with the dire consequence of not being proactive for finding solutions to our climate change problems.”


More below...


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.


Happy Kwanzaa!




John DeGilio is a lifelong educator in the Dutchess County area, having taught at every grade level from Elementary to College.  For 25 years he held a clinical position in the Teacher Education Department at Vassar College helping students earn a license to teach science and mathematics.  The last 12 years of his professional teaching was in the Marist College Science Department teaching Environmental Science.  His former students have created a scholarship in his name which is awarded to a Poughkeepsie High School Senior pursuing a career in science and has a need for financial assistance.


Presently, he teaches in the Senior Adult Learning programs at Marist and Bard College.  Many AAUW members have had the pleasure of attending one of his classes at the Center for Lifetime Studies (CLS).




Kay Saderholm *229-8545*


What does it mean to be a member of the Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW? 


It means getting involved – joining our many interest groups and initiatives; it means reaching out to members – do they need a ride or would they like to join together to go to an event.   It means making new friends, learning about their interests, discovering what you and other members have in common. 


We recently had a new member join our group.  In this case it involved several telephone calls and email to finalize the process.  This new member was so pleased with the information and attention she received.  Afterwards my thoughts were - this is the way we do things.  We welcome them, we keep them informed, we encourage them to become involved with what we do.


Like a newspaper going to press, the deadline for this article is before our New Member Reception.  I hope that I have seen many of you at that event and I will have a report for you in the next issue of The Branch.


Public Policy Chair: Doris Kelly *229-5369*


The other day I read in the local paper that the amount of money a family of 4 will receive each month from SNAP (formerly known as “food stamps”) would be $36 less per month.  The New York State AAUW reports that “the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that the cuts translate into $29 per month less for an average family of three.  These cuts will affect more than 48 million recipients.”  There was an increase because of poor economy, but that has run out bringing benefits back to the 2009 level.


SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is a federal nutrition program that helps you stretch your food budget and buy healthy food.  “SNAP benefits can be used to purchase food at grocery stores, convenience stores, and some farmers' markets and co-op food programs.  SNAP benefits are given each month on a plastic card called an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card, which works like a debit card.  Paper coupons are no longer used.”  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees SNAP at the federal level.  This cut in funding is distressing on so many levels, but it is just one more problem, besides the wage gap, that working women have to face.


Women’s economic disadvantages prior to the recession made them more vulnerable to cuts.  Women are at greater risk for poverty than men due to their large numbers in lower-paying fields and under-representation in higher-paying jobs.  Women have greater likelihood of working part-time.  Many women are the primary care givers to children which affects whether and how much they can work.  Employment cuts especially jeopardize women’s ability to work and meet their families’ basic needs: food, shelter and clothing.


What can we do?  We all need to educate ourselves.  The AAUW provides information through the Washington Update.  “Washington Update is AAUW’s free, members-only weekly e-bulletin.  It offers an insider’s view on the legislative process, the latest policy news, resources for advocates, programming ideas, and updates from the Public Policy and Government Relations Department.”  Visit or just go to the National Website,  and click on “What We Do.”  Please consider signing up for the Two Minute Activist.  It really only takes 2 minutes to voice your concern.  The website is also a good source of information.


Merry Christmas!     




To the enthusiastic AAUW volunteers at the Highland Rotary's Rib Fest.  Our "share" which is sent to the Legal Advocacy Fund was $413.00.  So much fun!  Sign up next year for a 4 hour shift!  Meet great people and while there have ribs for lunch/dinner!



Betty Harrel *462-2141*


Put together enthusiastic middle school students and bouncing pre-schoolers and the result is magical!


During October, four groups of sixth graders from the Poughkeepsie Day School took part in the Leading to Reading Project as part of their community service program.  Students visited three Astor Early Childhood Centers in various parts of the county and had a chance to read with the pre-school children, join their play time, romp on the playground, and carry on enthusiastic conversations.  They learned a lot about effective early childhood education and how meaningful it is to share their time and talents with other community members.  Students also had opportunities to assemble the Leading to Reading family reading kits and devise new questions and activities to place in the books.


The Day School project, under the direction of Laura Graceffa, helped us to provide a new level of service for our AAUW community outreach program.  Be sure to check out the pictures on the branch website!





April 25 – 27, 2014


Mark your calendar


A World of Wellness

Stimulating the Mind

Energizing the Body

Inspiring the Soul


Honor’s Haven Resort

Ellenville, NY

Watch for details at



Peggy Kelland *297-0507*


AAUW is planning and presenting a series of monthly events for Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador Girl Scouts (grades 6-12), and it is also open to other girls of that age in Dutchess County.  Both AAUW and the Girl Scouts have consistently supported empowerment for ALL women and girls, lifelong learning, community involvement and making a difference in the lives of both their members and the larger society, so we make a good team.


The October 18 event, held in the R.C. Ketcham library, featured paper crafts.  Twelve different activities; including quilling (this craft consists of rolling thin strips of paper around a toothpick and gluing the resulting coils in interesting patterns), origami, scrap booking, three dimensional creations, and paper weaving were set up at different stations.  The girls could choose which crafts to pursue and finished 3 to 5 projects.  Mary Coiteux presented a creative self-portrait using magazine pictures.


The November 15 event was planned as a game night in the Myers Corners cafeteria.  Gwen Higgins led cooperative team-building games, Anthula Natsoulas taught a variety of math games, and Marcine Humphrey presented several word games. Again, the girls could move to different activities.


On December 20 we will have a dance event in the R.C. Ketcham cafeteria, featuring line dancing by Doris Kelly, Irish step dancing, and jazzercise.  AAUW members are welcome to come help and see what we are doing.  Please call (297-0507) or email me at


Future events include cooking (Jan.), wreath, flower and jewelry making (Feb.), storytelling (Mar.), scrap booking (Apr.), and fiber crafts (May) with other themes being considered for the following year.  AAUW members are needed to lead activities - either a special activity you would like to share or one we will prepare.  This is an opportunity to share our various skills at one-time events and to serve as adult role models to teenage girls from diverse backgrounds.


The Girl Scouts are arranging for the facilities, insurance, adult chaperones, and reimbursement for supplies.  They are delighted to have AAUW's collaboration.



Cecilia Dinio-Durkin *471-4492*


Another very successful and fun Live Your Dream 7th Grade Girls' Conference came together on November 2, 2013 at Dutchess Community College. 


I can't thank you, our members, enough for your support.  For those who were able to be present, I hope you agree that the day was a remarkable one for everyone there!  For those who weren't able to attend the actual event, sorry you missed a wonderful day - but thank you for what you did to contact schools, distribute brochures, encourage attendees, decorated journals, sponsor a student…


A huge thank you to one and all!


Some facts about the day -


Ø  50 girls joined us from

·        Arlington Middle

·        George Fischer

·        Haviland

·        Holy Trinity School

·        John Jay

·        Borden

·        Linden Ave

·        New Paltz

·        Poughkeepsie (20+ students!!)

·        Suffern

·        Todd

·        Union Vale


Ø  We had roughly 30 volunteers

·        2 of whom were from DCC's Early Childhood Club

·        2 were Live Your Dream alumni

·        1 Americorps volunteer


Ø  A special thanks to Assembly member Didi Barrett for saying a few words during the closing ceremony

Ø  And to Sara Nowlin for stepping in to MC the day

Ø  While we didn't get the most number of scholarship requests this year, we did get more students from Poughkeepsie Middle after we decided to give scholarships to anyone who wanted to come but couldn't afford it.

Ø  A huge savings came from the special bus rate from Poughkeepsie School District.

Ø  See left and below for a few photos that highlight the day, many more can be found on Facebook (Live Your Dream 7th Grade Girls' Conference), and on our website. 




Notes on the presentation


The case for climate change in Dutchess County is strongly made by the data collected and analyzed by Dr. Victoria Kelly of the Carey Institute in Millbrook.  Using her data and recent flood experiences in this area, the people charged with the responsibility of protecting and maintaining the infrastructure of our community have been at work formulating plants to mitigate problems that will be inevitable as climate change presents environmental problems.  This Hudson Watershed Resiliency Project requires that a variety of agencies, township officials, community organizations all work together in ways that are more integrated and collaborative than ever before.  Many creative ways to solve problems need to be employed if our community is to avoid costly consequence of property and habitat damage from changing weather patterns as a result of climate change.  The focus of this presentation will examine some of the possible solutions and problems reaching the goal of resiliency.


An assignment for all of us


AAUW Program Committee

Co-Chairmen Mary Coiteux and Susie Blecker


Dear Susie and Mary,


I have been working on the presentation I plan to make at the AAUW meeting on December 12th at the Unitarian Fellowship on South Randolph Avenue in Poughkeepsie at 7:00 pm.  In order to accommodate the request you made for me to focus on what we need to do to mitigate the impact of the coming effects of global climate change right here in our own back yard, I need to make some recommendations about what the members that plan to attend should do before they come.


I would like to recommend they visit a website created by NASA to help young people understand the roots of global climate change problem.  It would help if they could take a few minutes to examine the page presented at Don’t be put off by the inclusion of “kids” in its title. For my money it is the best place to get uncluttered explanations that make complex issues more easily understand.


Another investigation that would be helpful to those who anticipate attending this session, I would like to recommend that they visit:  Here in Dutchess County we are very fortunate to have some very creative young environmentalists that have put together a superior website that provides an excellent background to understand not only the physical nature of the problem but the political implications as well.  My hope here is to sensitize your membership to thinking

in terms of a “watershed” as the fundamental unit of mitigation and remediation for the water problems that are the direct consequence of climate change.


To make this personal, visit and find out just which watershed your house is located.  Lastly take a look at “Scenic Hudson’s” sea level rise mapper to get a view of the change in shoreline of the Hudson River as ocean levels rise.  You can get a sense of the  future by pointing your favorite browser at:


If you have members who wish to expand their knowledge beyond my presentation and have an interest in becoming part of the solution, the RESOURCE menu of the Dutchess Watershed organization above is a good place to start.  It identifies the goals of each watershed committee of our county and the ways that each township within that watershed needs to collaborate and cooperate with neighbors to solve problems.


In the best of all possible worlds, you could pass this document on to your members who plan to participate on the 12th of December.  In that way, they will be able to derive much more from what I hope to present.  I look forward to this opportunity and I am hard at work attempting to make the very best use of the time your members spend engages in understanding this most complex topic.


If any of this raises question that need immediate attention, feel free to contact me at this email address and I will make every attempt to find you an answer.



John F. De Gilio


Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc. Officers 2013-2014


President                              Jacqueline Goffe-McNish


Program V.P.                      Susie Blecker               462-7074

                                             Mary Coiteux               226-8275

Membership V.P.                 Kay Saderholm             229-8545

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

Secretary                             Elizabeth Harrel            462-2141

Treasurer                            Barbara Van Itallie       462-3924

Assistant Treasurer             Jeanette Cantwell          452-4188

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).