Years 1984 – 1987

A Brief History of the Dryden STO/RTO/ERO

Part Three: 1984 – 1987

1984 – In the February minutes, the names of John Pringle and Winnie Coutts  appear in the list of members who enjoyed the slide show and talk by Brian Kenny on his trip to Nicaragua . The March meeting referenced Wilmer and Evelyn McKen as attendees and a committee was formed to determine how the Unit could assist in Nicaragua. At the April meeting, Bob Jackson spoke about the D.H.S. Co-op Program. Grace Pollock was a new attendee at the August meeting. In her remarks to the Dryden Unit at the August meeting, outgoing President, Betty Hawke acknowledged that “although the Superannuated Teachers of Ontario is not a political force to be reckoned with, we should be prepared to speak up.” Betty described her recent tour of Europe. A Christmas social completed the year.

Suggestions for guest speakers for 1984 included Vera Kameda on “Participaction” and a representative from Aries Travel Agency. One of the hot topics under discussion this year was the “85 Factor” and efforts were undertaken to encourage retired teachers who were not STO members to join the group. A reference was made to collecting, counting and wrapping pennies from the schools for UNICEF.

1985 - Following Hallowe’en in 1985, a report indicated that $ 3000+ was collected by elementary students in the area for UNICEF. Peggy Varga was to present a talk on the Adult Education “Teaching English as a Second Language” Program. A Christmas social finished off the activities for the year.

1986 - Tom Barclay, the Bank of Montreal manager, was a guest speaker at the April 1986 meeting on investment income for the retirement years in order to determine retirement needs and monies available to satisfy those needs. Winnie Coutts’ report on the District 26 meeting mentioned the recommendation that District 26 be divided into a Kenora District and a Dryden District. At the May 1986 Senate the Dryden Unit became District 35. There was also a recommendation from the November 1986 District 35 meeting that any teacher who retired prior to 1984 have their Teacher’s Pension determined on the basis of that person’s average of their “Best 5 Years” instead of the current basis of “Best 7 Years”. Plans for a Christmas social were made and a District newsletter was proposed, to inform members about S.T.O. activities and to report on the spring and fall Senates, as well as other information coming from the Provincial Executive. There were approximately 37,000 STO members province wide. The first edition of the District 35 Newsletter, prepared by Evelyn McKen with the assistance of Harry McMaster and Secretary Denise Andersen, was distributed at the Christmas social held Dec. 2nd in St. Luke’s Parish Hall. In addition to the usual newsletter contents of committee reports, it included a poem by Mabelle Clempson titled, “I’m Fine”, and a short article from B.C. by Ellen Shand.

1987 – At the January Executive Meeting, Harry McMaster reported on the Fall Senate and he recommended that the District Constitution model be adapted to our own particular needs. Start-up funds for a “new district,” were received from the Provincial Office in the amount of $ 200. The Dryden Board office donated the paper and duplicating of the District 35 Newsletter. Olive Moline volunteered her time to do the typing. It was also noted in the minutes of this Executive Meeting that if a member does not honour their commitment to attend a luncheon meeting, they pay for the meal if they cancel.

At the February luncheon meeting at the Best Western, a minute of silence was observed as a tribute to deceased members. New retiree Larry Guenther attended. Committee reports were presented. A Personal Planning workshop was scheduled for May. Harry McMaster reported on the progress of the “Best of 5” campaign and John Pringle reported on the Confederation Life Health Plan. Laura Howe was chosen to sit on the Provincial Newsletter Committee. After the luncheon Elsie and Keith Humphrey presented a talk and slide show about their trip to Thailand (while modeling attractive, cool cotton clothes).

At the April Executive Meeting it was decided that, since District 35 STO was not a money making organization, charitable donations would be made individually. This was in response to a request from the Cancer Society for a contribution. The District 35 Newsletter would be issued twice a year (late spring and late fall) to coincide with the District business meetings following the provincial spring and fall Senates. Amy Howell agreed to be the Membership Chair. Harry McMaster was chosen to be the District 35 Senator for the spring Senate in Ottawa and Winnie Coutts would go as an Observer. The June District meeting was held at Linnea’s Tearoom, with two new members, Rev. John Hyndman and Yvonne Hastings, in attendance. Pansy Howell reported that there were 44 STO members and 11 non-members (such as spouses).

Harry McMaster and Winnie Coutts reported on the spring Senate: Fees would increase, Goodwill was essential to help members-in-need and London Life would offer a dental plan. According to information shared with members at the spring Senate, various “Project Overseas” initiatives were helping in 23 countries. Discussion also took place concerning the Education Minister’s policies A more positive approach was recommended for “Retirement Counseling”. The District 35 Executive continued their discussions regarding requests for donations of financial assistance. Betty Hawke suggested that such assistance be restricted to educational endeavours, that preference be given to family members of STO members, that a budget of $ 300 be allocated annually and that a limit of $ 50 per request be established. Work continued on constructing a District Constitution appropriate for District 35. It was suggested that Lou Bottos, Counselor for Community and Social Services, be contacted to enquire about the establishment of a local office of the Ontario Community Information Centre [now Service Ontario] because the nearest one to Dryden area STO members was in Thunder Bay. However, the Provincial Government decided that Dryden was equipped to handle most problems through the existing Community Services

The District 35 constitution was printed in July, 1987 and adopted at the September general meeting. Its goal “shall be to promote the interests of persons receiving pensions under the Ontario Teachers Superannuation Act who reside in District 35”. A twelve member executive was established. In addition to preparing the twice yearly newsletter, the Newsletter Editor was to “act as archivist”. A discussion regarding mileage for members travelling from Red Lake and Ignace also took place and it was suggested that a flat rate for a full load, round trip from Red Lake would be $ 25 and from Ignace $ 12. The slate of officers proposed in June included Fran Pringle and Bea Siska. At the September meeting plans were made for the Christmas social and discussions ensued regarding the proposal by Johnson Insurance to provide the Health Benefits Insurance package.” It was suggested that the typing of the District 35 STO Newsletter could be done by a D.H.S. typing class. Glen Hamilton provided a slide show and talk on a recent trip to Arizona. Barbara Hampe’s article on her trip to Eskimo Point (NWT) and Anne Groves’ article on “The Shallow Lake School”, as well as Yvonne Hastings’ poem, “The Children Are Always With Me,” were printed in the June newsletter. Jessie Isberg’s article on “The School Fair” and Denise Andersen’s “Iron Bound” appeared in the November edition.