September 2014 Meeting

Huajilla Unit TRTA Meeting                           September 22, 2014  -  10 AM                               Sammy's Restaurant - Castroville, Texas                                                                             


President Rosemary Bendele called the first meeting of the year of The Huajilla Unit of TRTA at 10:05 AM on September 22, at Sammy’s Restaurant in Castroville, welcoming the 55 members and guests.     

Lewis Stroud offered the prayer, Bendele led the group in the pledges to the American and Texas flags, and Kay Shultz led the group in singing “God Bless America.”


Prior to the business meeting, Bendele recognized Ruth Davis, whose husband, Dr. Dewey Davis recently passed away.  Dr. Davis was a long-time active member and donated freely to the unit’s Book Project, provided the funds for the unit’s PA system and was a major contributor to the unit’s scholarship fund.


New members were recent retirees Judy Weiblen, former Medina Valley teacher; Barbara Hurt, who was at East Central and now, lives in Leakey; and Glenda Allen from Devine. Bendele introduced the current officers and recognized the Castroville members who worked on planning this meeting.                   

The unit booklet which is available to members and stated that, since Pearsall is no longer active as a meeting site, Devine has accepted an additional meeting but will need help in program presentation.


Bendele introduced Ashley Skolweck, from the Castroville PD who spoke about Community Policing and Child Advocates in the area.  Officer Skolweck told how police departments have evolved from street-walking patrols who knew everyone in their community, to law enforcement personnel who lost contact with community members and became a feared and threatening entity for citizens, to today’s officers who make it a point to meet as many of their community residents so that they can serve and protect their citizens.  She touched on her responsibilities as a member of the Child Advocacy segment and their work with abused children as well as cooperation with other advocacy groups such as the Bluebonnet Services and CASA, and described the way that Medina County Crime Stoppers works.  She added that there is now a Medina Valley Campus Crime Stoppers segment and James Havel added that he is working  to set up a similar program at Hondo.

Rosemary Bendele presented a jar of Huajilla Honey to Officer Skolweck in appreciation for her presentation.

Eddie Havel presented several tombstone “rubbings” which had been on display at the Medina County Fair.  Several individuals, including Jo Nell Taylor, had worked on locating and logging old, private gravesites in Medina County. These rubbings were made available to anyone who might be interested in having them. 


Irene Dubberly presented the minutes which were approved as read by three members who were present at the previous meeting. 


Bruce Simpson presented the treasurer’s report.  There is a healthy amount remaining in the scholarship fund

The Diamond Plus Membership cost is $2.92 per month  anyone can sign up for it today; 44 members are signed up for this plan.  Applications go to TRTA, then one form sent to TRS once a month.  Some members still owe local dues. 

President Bendele and Simpson provided additional information and allowed discussion on the experiences of those signing up for membership under the Diamond Plus membership plan.  The program is new and both entities are working through the glitches. 

Bendele also presented information on liability insurance for retired teachers who do substitute teaching


 Ken Hanson had an extensive Legislative report, most of which centered on SB 1458 which went into effect September 1.  There are areas that could be challenged and the issues with the five tiers that current teachers will have to study when considering retirement. 

Other issues still surround TRS Care and the $1 Billion budgetary shortfall it is facing. 

Other information had to do with the upcoming elections: last day to register to vote is October 6; early voting will be from October 20-31, and Election Day is November 4.  Hanson reiterated that educators need to study the candidates to determine their stand on education and retirement issues and be proactive and vote!  A meeting with Senator Campbell resulted in positive response from her office. Andrew Murr will be a guest at our October meeting.

ATPE’s  100,000 members and TRTA’s  80,000 are working together to  “Teach the Vote” which has extensive  information about the candidates across the state.  Hanson also offered insights on several candidates’ stand when it comes to teachers and retirees.


President Bendele named a Nominating Committee to begin the search for new officer candidates for the spring election. Members are Sissy Bell; Rose Sholtz, Lewis Stroud.

Nola Hill, Book Project chair, explained that the project serves various children’s projects and collected contributions.


Ken Hanson proposed naming the scholarship award as the Dr. Dewey Davis Scholarship in honor of Dr. Davis.  The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

Olivia Bernson presented information on the Medina County Women’s Conference on October 24 and also brought forth a request from CASA for diapers for the children in the program.

The next meeting will be October 27 at the Hondo Methodist Church with candidate Andrew Murr as a guest speaker.  There being no further business, the meeting adjourned and the members enjoyed lunch.


President Bendele announced the District Fall meeting in Boerne on October 23.  Cost for registration and luncheon is $22.

Cathy Mechler invited members to the Women’s Conference to be held on October 25 in Castrovill; registration is $35.

O.A. Bernsen announced that CASA and other child advocate services are in desperate need for diapers. 

President Bendele announced that since we have lost Pearsall as a meeting site, Huajilla Unit will be meeting  four  times in Devine and there is a need for programs for these meetings.

The next meeting will be on Monday, October 27, 2014 at the Hondo United Methodist Church.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:45 AM.