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THE TORCH: October 2006


     Hugh M. Spoljaric, President

              Kingston Teachers’ Federation

                                “Patience Is A Virtue”   

     Thirty or so years ago, as I worked under my department heads, Thelma Schwab and Bonnie McCaig, I taught a unit on Homespun in New York. Springtime, between the end of frost and the beginning of planting season, was known as the ‘six week want’. It was a waiting time, between the end of frost and the warming of the soil that required a patience attitude when dealing with Mother Nature. The fall season is our educational planting time and we may not see the fruits of our labor until late spring. Until then, there is the daily cultivation of education, social skills, and personal development that occurs daily throughout the school year. And, many times, there are frustrations that test our patience.

     I’m reminded of the kindergarten teacher who directed her students to their ‘cubbies’ to get dressed at the end of a January day. One student was having difficulty with his boots and the teacher, in the midst of many crises, stooped to help. She struggled with the first boot, but got it on. As she was forcing the second boot on, the little boy said, “These are tight because they’re not my boots.” The teacher took a deep breath and went about removing both boots. When both were off, she asked him where were his boots. He said, “They’re at home. I couldn’t find them this morning and my Mom made me wear my brother’s boots.” So, she said, ”These are the boots you’re wearing?” The little boy nodded ‘Yes’. Now, the second time, the teacher struggled even more to get the boots on. Finally, with the noise level rising and as many others sought her assistance, she got them on. She looked at the boy and said, “Now, where are your mittens?” The little boy looked up and said, “My Mom told me to put them in my boots so that I wouldn’t lose them.”

     Sometimes, the learning experience happens on both sides. We know that it can be frustrating from the teacher’s side, but it’s sometimes just as frustrating for the student. Education is a deliberative art where everything doesn’t necessarily come together at once. Teaching requires the strength to cope with the staggered learning of many at once. Many will tell you in June that the year flew by. While that may seem true, we all realize that it’s not true of the days that test us one at a time. Sometimes, we need to ask one more question about the boots or the gloves.

     When the results are difficult to achieve, and it’s feeling like a ‘ten month want’, try to remember that all good things come with time. As with the tolerant Homespun farmers of New York, patience is a virtue.

     And, that’s the Bottom Line.


                             VOTE—November 7

     This is an important year for the election process. On the federal level, the ineffectual, under funded, and assessment challenged No Child Left Behind Act has attempted to put a stake through the heart of public education. Members who live in districts adjacent to education supporter Maurice Hinchey’s 22nd have an opportunity to send more education supporters to Washington. NYSUT supports Kirsten Gillibrand against incumbent John Sweeney in the 20th and supports former Saugerties resident and Orleans band founder John Hall against Sue Kelly in the 19th. Kelly has voted in the negative on every education issue supported by NYSUT/AFT. Hillary Clinton is endorsed for reelection to her Senate seat.

     Statewide, NYSUT educational action supports Eliot Spitzer for Governor, David Patterson for Lieut. Governor, Andrew Cuomo for Attorney General, and Alan Hevesi for State Comptroller.

     Locally, Assemblymen Kevin Cahill (101), Thomas Kirwin (100), and Joel Miller (102) are endorsed, but there is no endorsement in the 103rd district. In the State Senate, Bill Larkin (39), Vincent Leibell (40), Stephen Saland (41), and John Bonacic (42) are NYSUT endorsed.

     KTF’s Educational Action Chair, Debi Wilcox (Myer) has organized Phone Banks in October and members are encouraged to contact her and say “Count Me In!” Most importantly, vote on November 7.



    To ESP member Rose Stokes for being honored by the Mid-Hudson Schools Council for her 47 dedicated years of work in the district.

    To Bailey Home and Careers Teacher June Wolfersteig for being selected as the Teacher of The Year by the NYS Association for Family and Consumer Science Education.

    To KHS Principal Marie Anderson for being honored as a Woman of Achievement in Ulster County.



     The KTF General Membership Meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 19 has been rescheduled for Tuesday, November 14 in the KHS Café. The primary purpose of the meeting is the election of delegates to the NYSUT/AFT RA.

                                       PANTRY DRIVE

     The annual KTF Pantry Drive will be held October 23-26. Members are asked to fill up the box at their school with personal hygiene items and toiletries. These items are not available through social services. Distribution will be through the Holy Cross Church in Kingston.


Kingston Trust Fund

307 Wall Street, Kingston, NY 12401

(845) 338-5422



National Health Administrators, Inc                    October 2006


                                 a Flu Shots

Flu shots are covered as an office visit, subject to a co-payment, with a participating provider.

                       Ö Pre-Certifications Required

     The health plan requires that members contact NHAI to enroll in the Pre-Natal Program (pregnancy), the Infertility Program and the Diabetic Education Program.  Lack of enrollment can result in benefits being paid at a lower rate with the member paying more money out of their pocket.  

     The member is expected to make the telephone call to NHAI over the provider since the member pays any additional fees not covered by the plan if the pre-certification is not obtained.

     Refer to the back of your NHAI id card.  Contact the Pre-Certification Unit at 1-866-844-8244 to enroll.

                 Ö Pre-Certifications Also Required For:

Members are required to call NHAI to obtain pre-certifications for: CAT Scans, MRI, Non-emergency, pre-scheduled surgery including Colonoscopy, Inpatient admission to a hospital within 48 hours of confinement, Inpatient admission to a Drug, Alcohol or Mental Illness facility within 24 hours of admission, Home Health Care, Home Infusion Care, Prior admission to Skilled Nursing Facility, Durable Medical Equipment, Orthotics and Prosthetics expected to cost $500+

            ****Remember:  When in doubt, call pre-certification.****

              a Health Club Membership Reimbursement

Members must submit proof from the health club documenting payment & membership for the previous 12 months. Submit the proof with a NHAI Medical Claim Form to the Endicott Claims Office.

The benefits payable are: $100 annually for a single membership;

$150 annually for a Member & their spouse membership.

                          Ö  Health Identification Cards

NHAI has mailed health identification cards to members within the past 30 days.  Children over age 19 were not sent cards until their Fall semester student status’ were approved by the Trust. 

Any member who did not receive a health card should contact the Trust Office.


NHAI worked with Medco Rx over the summer to create a single identification number that could be utilized for both medical claims and to obtain prescription drugs. 

     Previously, a member had to use a social security number for prescriptions and a separate identification number for medical services.

     Now, members can use their new identification cards at a pharmacy as well as a doctor’s office.

    We appreciate NHAI’s hard work to complete this monumental task.  

             a Medicare Part D – Prescription Coverage

     Members with Medicare primary are currently receiving notices from NHA, Medicare and other insurance companies regarding an upcoming open enrollment period for Medicare prescription coverage effective 01/01/2007.

     Your prescription coverage with National Health Administrators, Inc and the HMO’s is as good or better than the plans being offered by the new Medicare plan.  The Trust is recommending that our members do not enroll in a new Medicare Part D plan. 

Your Rx coverage will be the same as it has always been and you, the member, do not have to do anything at all.


                           Kingston Retired Teachers’ Federation


     The annual Vote-Cope Fundraising Campaign is in full swing. 

     A Thank you is extended to members who have contributions made from their pension checks.

     Members who do not participate in pension deduction are encouraged to reply to the letters sent to you in late September. Your contributions are helpful to continue the effort to preserve retiree benefits and other retiree interests.

     Return your contribution card and your contribution to chairman, Bruce Gross, 19 Carly Road, Woodstock, NY