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Douglas County Retired Teachers Association holds first meeting of 2018

Members of the Douglas County Retired Teachers held their inaugural meeting for 2018 on Wednesday March 21st at the Smith House in Tuscola. President Fred McDonald asked Carol Martin to say the pledge, then he led us in prayer before we enjoyed a luncheon of ham, scalloped potatoes, vegetables, and a brownie for dessert.

At 12:15 Fred asked Sally McCarty to introduce our program presenters who were the members of the CEO class of Douglas County. They were accompanied by their coordinator Stepheny McMahon. The students then took turns explaining the many elements of the CEO program. We learned that CEO stands for Creating Entrepreneur Opportunities. The class is composed of 12 students from Tuscola, Villa Grove, ALAH, and Arcola. They meet the first two periods of the day at a different local high school each term, and often at local businesses rather than a school room. They tour the businesses and hear from business owners and managers about owning and operating a business. They must dress business casual each day, which, of course, encourages them to conduct themselves in a professional manner. They learn poise and confidence by making presentations and by “putting themselves out there each day” as one of them put it. Besides learning first hand from local businesses, the class takes field trips to places such as Holiday World in Santa Claus, Ind., where they could experience the behind-the-scenes workings of an amusement park. As a major assignment, each student was given a dollar and required to use it to create a product they could sell and make a profit of $100. Although they seemed overwhelmed at first, most of them not only achieved success, but sustained with their businesses and are continuing to make them profitable. Their trade show will be April 25 from 5-7 p.m. at Yoder’s Kitchen; the public is invited to attend. We very much enjoyed learning about the CEO program, and we were very impressed with the professionalism and competency of the student presenters.

After the program, Howard inducted Kathy Caraway as secretary since she missed the induction ceremony last fall. The minutes were read and approved. Connie gave the treasurer’s report. We donated to the IRTA and to the Tuscola Library in memory of deceased member Dan Russell. Treasurer’s report was approved.

Kay Kleiss gave the Legislative report. She said the legislature is expected to pass the bill that requires a gun purchaser to be at least 21 years old, and that a purchaser must wait 72 hours—up from 24 hours—to purchase the gun. Also, it is expected that they will also pass a law to ban bump stocks. She also reported that retired teachers can now teach 120 days instead of 100 without it affecting our retirement benefits.

In new business, Fred welcomed Jana Nacke as a new member to our club. He also remarked about the PA system he was using—it belongs to the Rotary and maybe they’ll let us use it for our meetings. Most all agreed it was much easier to hear the speaker with the sound system. Also, Fred asked the membership about the possibility of our purchasing a larger American Flag for our meetings. It would make it much easier for us to see while we are reciting the Pledge. Carol Martin moved we purchase a flag, and Jan Chappell seconded. Motion carried. Fred also suggested we purchase a banner that could be carried on foot or mounted on a truck or bus to be in the local parades. Taking part in the parades would be a good way to make our presence known in our communities and perhaps increase our membership. The membership voted to purchase the banner.

Next meeting is 11:30 a.m. on May 16 at the Arcola United Methodist Church in Arcola with the Arcola teachers hosting the meeting.

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