Page 1

October 2011 Affiliated Locals and Presidents Byron Center EA Dave Prindle Byron Center ESP Carlene Nyenhuis Caledonia EA Dan Burd Caledonia ESP Renee Snow Cedar Springs EA Tom Szuminski Comstock Park EA/ESP Kim Pfeiffer Harold Ebenstein East Grand Rapids EA Nancy McSkimming East Grand Rapids ESP Dawn Wise Forest Hills EA Jim Ward Forest Hills ESP Jeff Tolar Godfrey Lee EA Nancy Stefano Godfrey Lee ESP Mary Boomer Godwin Heights EA JeanAnn Piotrowski Godwin Heights ESP Greg Haight Grandville EA Jill Carpenter Grandville ESP Yvonne Murray Kelloggsville EA Gretchen Ludeman Kelloggsville ESP Ron Rathlein Kendall College Darlene Kaczmarczyk Kenowa Hills EA Russ Gerbers Kenowa Hills ESP Nancy Nadler Kent City EA Trafford Adams Kent City ESP Lynn Wilson Kentwood EA Dan Magennis Kentwood ESP Peter Earles Kent ISD EA/ESP Richard Mushing Lowell EA Paul Jacobus Lowell ESP Vicki Fredline Northview EA Mike Anderson Northview ESP Don Miller Rockford EA Doug Haan Rockford ESP Lori Helmholdt Sparta EA Richard Meindertsma Sparta ESP Lisa Hunter Thornapple Kellogg EA Kevin Kane Thornapple Kellogg ESP

Diane Knight Wyoming EA Rose Pratt Wyoming ESP

Juanita Raterink

ADVOCATE KENT COUNTY EDUCATION ASSOCIATION We are now several weeks into the school year. I hope you are happily back into the swing of things. Unfortunately, our Congress is back into the swing of things, too – back into swinging at us! It is so important for you to be informed about the actions our legislators are taking. Listed below are some ways for you to get information. Hold down Ctrl and click on the link to view. 1. Sign up to receive MEA’s newsletters. Go to Where it asks you which e-newsletter(s) you would like to receive, select ―both.‖ 2. If you’re looking for regular updates on education-related happenings in Michigan and elsewhere, visit MEA’s website at and MEA on Facebook and Twitter. 3. Go to http://www.m . Let m e provide a quick dis claim er about the website. This website states it is ―a free public service of the Mack inac Center of Public Polic y.‖ The webs ite also states, ―T he descriptions on this site are assembled by the editor from a variety of sources. Bill sponsors, legislative analysts, and policy specialists from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and from many other organizations are often consulted to provide background and context for particular bills or votes. Many descriptions contain verbatim passages from bill analyses created by the House Legislative Analysis Section, House Fiscal Agency, Senate Fiscal Agency, and other non-copyrighted public sources.‖ With this disclaimer, be prepared to read some quite biased descriptions. However, if you keep that in mind as you receive information from the website, it can be a useful source for information. You c an register and sign up for updates to be sent autom atically to your em ail. You can also search present bills. T ype in ―education‖ in the Bill Ke y W ord Search. 4. Here’s another webs ite to check out. http://www.legislature.m ( z0ezgzi1k xuyjpa0go4gq422))/m ileg.aspx?page=Hom e . From the website: ―The Michigan Legislature W ebsite is a free servic e of the Legislative Internet Technolog y Team in cooperation with the Mic higan Legislative Counc il, the Michigan Hous e of Representatives, and the Michigan Senate. The inform ation obtained from this site is not intended to replace official vers ions of that inform ation and is subject to revision. The Legislature presents this inform ation, without warranties, express or im plied, regarding the accurac y of the inform ation, tim eliness, or com pleteness. If you believe the inform ation is inaccurate, out -of-date, or incom plete or if you have problem s accessing or reading the inform ation, please s end your concerns to the appropriate agenc y using the online Comm ent Form in the bar above this text.‖ 5. Finally, subscribe to NEA’s many e-newsletters. Click on home/29166.htm. Also, check out NEA’s Legislative Action Center at http:// Keeping yourself informed is only step one. Step two is sharing the information with your co-workers, your friends, and your family. Step three is speaking out against the attacks on education. And the final step is to vote against those politicians who are not working to improve public education. Take the first step, MEA members, but take every step after it, too! Michelle Thomas, KCEA President

KCEA Officers: Michelle Thomas President Marc Lester Vice President Dawn Wise Treasurer Bret Laubaugh Secretary

MESSA NurseLine is here for you Take the worry out of health care. MESSA NurseLine is a member service offered in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month By Steve TePastte, M.D., Medical Director, MESSA About 1 in 8 women in the United States will get breast cancer during her lifetime. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month—a time to promote regular mammograms and increase early detection of breast cancer. Some key facts: Many risk factors are associated with breast cancer, including family history, lifetime estrogen exposure, gender and age. While women have a much greater risk for breast cancer, men can also develop the disease. There is no one way to prevent breast cancer. The best advice is to reduce risk factors whenever possible. So, avoid excess alcohol, exercise regularly, and maintain an ideal body weight. Most breast cancer occurs in women with no apparent risk factors. Therefore, it is essential that all women do thorough breast self-exams and all women over age 40 get a yearly mammogram. Compute your own personal risk of breast cancer by using the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool from the National Cancer Institute. Your physician may have the calculator and can compute your risk or you can go to and do it yourself. Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if breast or ovarian cancer runs in your family. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get a mammogram.

NEW MESSA PLANS COMING SOON! Affordable MESSA HSA options in the works MESSA is expanding its product line to meet the diverse needs and preferences of education employees while preserving the peace of mind and financial security that MESSA members value from the association. Designed to meet the cost challenges facing school employees, new highdeductible health plans will be available beginning July 1, 2012. These affordable plans will be compatible with health savings accounts (HSAs), giving local leaders and bargainers more options for negotiating health benefits in the face of the new state law mandating increased employee cost-sharing on premiums. The plans will be based on MESSA Choices/Choices II, a popular health plan that MESSA members know and trust. As you know, HSA-compatible, high-deductible plans work differently than other health plans. MESSA is developing a communication and education campaign for staff, leaders, bargainers, and members. More product details will be available soon, but here are some key facts about the new plans: After the deductible is met, the account-based plans will include the same comprehensive coverage and peace of mind members receive today from MESSA Choices/Choices II for such expenses as doctor’s office visits, emergency care, X-rays, laboratory expenses, and more. Preventive care services generally covered by the plan will not be subject to the deductible. For other services, members will pay the cost of covered medical services until they meet the annual deductible. MESSA members who enroll in a high-deductible plan will continue to enjoy MESSA’s traditional outstanding personalized service from local Field Representatives and the East Lansing-based Member Service Center. Members will still have access to MESSA’s full slate of disease management programs, including asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular member education and support programs. MESSA is partnering with a ―best in class‖ financial vendor with proven success helping employees maximize the value of their account-based plan. The MESSA health plan and the HSA will be fully integrated for ease of use. Details such as how the plans work, what expenses are applied to the deductible and what expenses are eligible from reimbursement from the HSA are governed by strict IRS rules. Passage of the mandatory employee premium share makes MESSA’s stable rating methodology even more important for members. MESSA will help members by providing the highest quality services, guidance in understanding the new plans, and support to successfully navigate the health care system.

Calendar of Events October 12, 2011 KCEA Exec. Board—5:00 p.m. October 19, 2011 Superintendent’s Committee KCEA Office—12:15 p.m. October 19, 2011 Region 9 MEA Full Council Assembly Room—5:30 p.m. October 26, 2011 KCEA PAC—4:45 p.m. KCEA Congress—5:30 p.m.

STOP THE RECALL State Representative Brandon Dillon is the target of a partisan recall by state Republicans. We need your help to keep strong representation for West Michigan in Lansing! HOW YOU CAN HELP

Do not sign a recall petition against representative Dillon Volunteer to help educate voters

Retirement Workshops January 19, 2011 February 16 ,2011 March 15, 2011 6:00 — 9:00 p.m. Call Early to Reserve Your Spot

Report any petition circulator activity to our hotline at 616-432-4977 Write a letter to the editor of the Grand Rapids Press Make a contribution to our efforts to defeat the recall— anything you can give helps!

Kent County Education Association 3205 Eaglecrest Drive NE Suite 100 Grand Rapids, MI 49525 Phone: 616-957-1944 Fax: 616-957-2099 Editor Gezelle Oliver Assistant Editor Michelle Woznicki Visit us on the Web at (new website coming soon!) And visit our blog at


We need your help to inform citizens of what they are signing! EVEN IF YOU DO NOT LIVE OR WORK IN THE 75th DISTRICT YOU CAN HELP!

Spread the word of this recall to your friends and neighbors. When in or near the district, keep your eyes and ears open for petition circulators and report them to 616-432-4977


test document