Years 2002-2006

A Brief History of the Dryden STO/RTO/ERO

Part Seven: 2002 – 2006

2002-2003 – Keith Sveinson from the Dryden Literacy Association was the guest speaker at the September Luncheon at the Oxdrift Hall and Ron Poste from the Provincial Office addressed members of District 35 RTO/ERO at the October luncheon in Waldhof. A breakfast gathering in January, with no guest speaker, was planned for the New Year. These breakfasts in January became a regular feature of District 35 RTO/ERO social activities. As well, “door prizes” at monthly luncheon meetings became a popular feature including such items as RTO/ERO sweatshirts, golf shirts, umbrellas, golf balls, note pads, etc. Winners of the golf and sweat shirts were encouraged to wear them whenever they were engaged in volunteer activities in the community. This would help to raise the profile of the Dryden RTO/ERO in the community. Each month District 35 RTO/ERO members brought non-perishable food items to meetings and make cash donations which were delivered to the Dryden Food Bank. A cash donation was also made to the Dryden Health Services Foundation.

2003-2004 – The highly anticipated District 35 RTO/ERO golf tournament organized by Frank Clarke became a reality in June of 2003 and was well attended. Bill Salonen received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal from Kenora-Rainy River MPP Howard Hampton in March for his years of dedication to the community of Dryden as a teacher, coach, referee, town councillor and mayor. New retirees welcomed to District 35 RTO/ERO included Ron Oke, Rosalie Hemsworth and Tom Veal. Guest speakers at the monthly luncheon meetings included Optometrist Dr. Lisa Turcotte, MPP Howard Hampton, Lawyer Will Vermeer on “Estate Planning”, and RTO/ERO Executive Director Terry Lynch from the Provincial Office. Carmene Hampe and June Finch joined the phoning committee under Chair Lynne Euler. Condolences were sent to the family of Barbara Hampe. Brian Kenny became the new District 35 President. Lapel buttons which said “Retired Teacher Volunteer” were purchased and members were encouraged to wear them when they volunteered in the community. Following a request to the Provincial Office, District 35 received a flag in RTO/ERO colours, with the name and logo, which could be displayed at all District 35 events. New retirees included Bev Hall, Judith and Bob Hamilton, Len Pateman, Irene Skene and Pat Watt. Condolences were sent to the family of long time District 35 member Evelyn McKen who passed away in Toronto. A brief biography of founding member of the District 26 Dryden Unit and District 35 STO/RTO, Sybil Willard, was printed in the November, 2003 edition of “The Thirty 5th Estate”.

2004-2005 –It was decided that the elections for District Executive positions would be held every two years rather than annually. This was done for a number of reasons: it would allow the person new to the position to learn what was involved over a full year and to operate even more effectively in the second year. It would also reduce the anxiety of those responsible for annually recruiting for nominations. Continuity would also be enhanced. Henceforth it would be expected that the 2nd Vice would regularly move up to the 1st Vice position, who would then move into the President’s position. Brian Kenny became the President of District 35 RTO/ERO for a two year term. Bob Bourre became the President of District 35 RTO/ERO when Brian Kenny was elected to the Provincial Executive at the fall Senate. Bob met with MPP Howard Hampton to discuss membership concerns about the provincial government’s position in various areas such as the deficit, health care, long term care, seniors, education, energy, the environment, pension protection and children’s services. New retirees joining the ranks of District 35 RTO/ERO included Susan Andrusco, Charron Donaldson, Linda Pilipishen, Doreen Roulston and Mary Hermanovics, which brought our total to 160 including 9 Associate Members in Dryden, and 10 Full Members and 1 Associate Member in Red Lake. Guest speakers for the monthly luncheons included Adrienne Bradick and Barry Shepherd speaking on. Canadian Taxpayers, Linda Calbeck speaking about Hospital Volunteers, Dick Schoneville of the Alzheimer Society and Helen Biales 1st Vice from the Provincial STO/RTO Executive. After attending a training workshop in Toronto in November, Bob Bourre and Judith Hamilton led a retirement workshop for prospective area retirees. They were assisted by Mark Tinkess, Randi Nielsen and Ray Nielsen, with materials and support provided by the staff from the provincial office of RTO/ERO. At the October monthly meeting Michelene Garnier of the Ontario Ombudsman Office addressed the membership. Irene Skene took over the responsibility of producing “The 35th Estate” with the November 2004 edition

[Unfortunately the November 2004 edition of the District 35 newsletter is missing from our archives.]

2005-2006 – Bob Bourre repeated as District 35 RTO/ERO President. John Borst took over in the fall as Webmaster from Frank Clarke. The March guest speaker was fitness instructor Angela Gilles and in April Kathy Kuhlmann from Johnson Insurance spoke about the Health Benefits available to members. Provincial 1st Vice Arnold Hull addressed the District 35 RTO/ERO members at the May luncheon meeting. Dennis Gushulak repeated his term as President of the Red Lake Unit. As a result of successfully applying for a $ 4000 grant for “Service to Others”, the Red Lake Unit was kept busy with furnishing tables and chairs for the new Red Lake Cultural Centre for use in community and school educational programs. June saw many members participate in the District 35 golf tournament and lunch at Evergreen Golf Course. By the end of March 2005 our District 35 membership totaled 165 (including 14 in the Red Lake Unit). A retirement workshop was held in May hosted by Bob Bourre and Judith Hamilton and attended by 32 teachers, 12 of whom planned to retire in June. New retirees in June included Marilyn Tinkess, Robin Kunza, Marg Ogilvie, Charron Sippola, Linda-Joy Smith, Janet Kushner, Elizabeth Russell, Fran White, Rick Victor and Surindar Anand. The Chair of the Phoning Committee, Isabel McLean, thanked her members for their assistance: Shirley Wilson, Carolyn Stratford, Stuart Calvert, June Finch, Velma Neill, Linda Salonen, Fran Pringle, Roberta Grebstad and Mary Case. Condolences were sent to the families of Hazel Woodring, Shirley Errington and Wayne Brown.These members spend hours on the phone each month contacting members to remind them of the particulars of the up-coming luncheons and to determine if these members were planning to attend. Guest speakers at the monthly luncheons in the fall included Karen Ingebritson of the CCAC (Community Care Access Center) and David Schwartz of the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association. Guest speakers in the spring included Diane Harder of the O.P.P., and Barb Buffet on “Best Start”, Ontario’s childcare and early learning initiative. Harold Braithwaite, RTO/ERO Executive Director from the provincial office addressed the membership at the May luncheon. Condolences were sent to the families of John Pringle, Denise Andersen, and Sybil Willard.

2006 -  Bob Bourre continued as District 35 President and the previous year’s executive members agreed to continue as well, with the exception of the Phoning Chair which was filled by Lynne Euler (Isabel MacLean had decided to do more travelling). Marilyn Tinkess took over the position of Political Action (vacated by Brian Kenny). A retirement workshop in Dryden in March was hosted by Bob Bourre, Mark Tinkess, and Randi and Ray Nielsen. Bob Bourre and Mark Tinkess also hosted one in Ear Falls in May. The June golf tournament, a very popular annual activity organized by Frank and Susan Clarke, was well attended. New retirees joining the Red Lake Unit included Ron Cooke, Sandra MacDonald, and Susan Sheridan. Total membership in District 35 RTO/ERO stood at 156 (a number of our members had moved to other parts of the province and country). Dennis Gushulak joined the Provincial Audit Committee and Andrea Winik joined the Provincial Member Services Committee. Many new retirees (and prospective District 35 members) were identified, including Else-Carine Risberg, Diane Irish, Gayle Withers, Jacqueline Neall, Mardi-Lee Plomp, Susan Sheridan, Hammond LacSeul and Blair Costello all from the Elementary Panel, as well as Jim Black, David Erb, Perry Ferns, Ron Cooke, Chris Zappitelli, Earle Wilson and Pat Norman from the Secondary Panel. An extensive article, complete with photographs, was printed in the June 2006 edition of “The 35th Estate” about a trip to Myanmar (Burma) taken by Randi and Ray Nielsen. An explanation about the (seemingly) high cost of the meals ($ 15) at the monthly luncheons was given. Caterers are required to charge GST/PST (now HST) for each meal. When this amount is deducted, along with the gratuity, coffee and dessert, the cost of the main course is around $ 9 - $ 10. This is considerably cheaper than most comparable lunches in a local restaurant. May marked the 20th anniversary of the formation of the District 35 RTO/ERO. Following Sybil Willard [1980-83] and Betty Hawke and Winnie Coutts [1983-86] as Dryden Unit 2 Presidents, the Presidents of District 35 have been as follows: Harry McMaster [1986-88], John Pringle [1988-90], Keith Humphrey [1990-91], Amy Howell and Les McPherson [1991-92], Wilmer Errington [1992-93], Betty Hawke [1993-94], Frances Pringle [1994-95], Joan Hatch [1995-96], Roy McComb [1996-97], Wayne McCallum [1997-98], Sharon McGregor [1998-99], Bill Salonen [1999-2001], Randi Nielsen [2001-03], Brian Kenny [2003 – Nov., 2004], Bob Bourre [Nov., 2004 – 2006]. Brian Kenny was elected to the position of 1st Vice on the Provincial Executive. New retirees this year included Carolyn Callan, Donna Dykalski, Geraldine Savian and Ginette Spence. Guest speakers for the fall of 2006 included a representative from the Ontario Securities Commission on “investment fraud”, a representative from MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Commission) on assessed value of property for taxation purposes, and Randi Nielsen made a presentation on Safe International Travel for Seniors.