On Jan. 14, Stevens Point Area Retired Teachers' Association, or SPARTA, met at The Sky Club, with 35 present, including special guests Affordable Care Act expert Tom Ivey and Portage County Executive Patty Drier. The door prize was won by Joyce Chekouras.
In his informal presentation before the SPARTA meeting, Ivey guided members through the stages of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, and its important reforms, especially those affecting seniors on Medicare. He concluded the ACA ultimately will strengthen Medicare by reducing costs.
The main speaker was Dreier, who delivered an upbeat assessment of "What is Happening in Portage County." In short, the answer was "a lot" - a lot of reinventing in county government, a lot of planning, an exciting application of new techniques and technology. On the other hand, she predicted a tougher time for the 2014 budget.
Big on the agenda was the upcoming SPARTA spring used book sale. Nancy Kemmeter and Janeen Kwarciany circulated a sign-up sheet for volunteers at the March 13 to 16 event. Always welcome at the sale are books donated by SPARTA members and the public. According to Kemmeter, those with books to contribute can drop them off at Jackson School on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., as well as on the days of the book sale itself.
In other business, Carol Van Alstine, retiring co-chair of the Book Committee, received a round of appreciative applause for her years of dedicated service. Fran Fulton, speaking for Laurel Hoeth, thanked members who assisted in the Academic Decathlon, Jan. 9 and 11, at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Grants approved were: $50 each to AARP Foundation and Friends of 2713 Endowment Fund; $100 each to Portage County Literacy Council, Wisconsin Academic Decathlon Foundation Inc., Family Crisis Center, SPARTA Scholarship in honor of Annie Rathel, SPARTA Scholarship in honor of Eve Mae Regnier and The Central Rivers Farmshed (the favorite charity of our speaker); and $200 to Stevens Point Sculpture Park.
SPARTA again wishes to thank those purchasing books at our March and October used book sales. Without their support, we would be unable to assist community activities and worthy charities.
We cordially invite retired educators and support personnel to attend our next meeting March 11 at the Sky Club, featuring John Regnier's account, "Eye Witness to the Holocaust."