AAUW General Meeting January 21

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Hilton Garden Inn downtown
9:00 a.m. Optional Breakfast (purchase your own)
10:00 a.m. Meeting and Program

Bear Creek Services – Helping to Build an Inclusive Community
Presentation by Pam Alberts and Brian Hale

Bear Creek Services was formed out of necessity when, three decades ago, the Rochester State Hospital closed its doors to patients living with mental illness. Some patients were moved to Wilmar, Fergus Falls, and St. Peter.  Some patients slipped through the cracks.  But new support programs such as Bear Creek Services, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center met the challenge to help patients live more independently and improve their quality of life.

In 1977 Bear Creek House was opened to six individuals with developmental disabilities (DD).  By 1980 there were four residential homes and by 1987 an additional six homes were opened.  In the 1990’s BCS branched out to provide homes for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI).  In 2013 Bear Creek Independent Living Services opened – a program that helps train adults with disabilities to live independently.
The humanity of Bear Creek Services is perhaps the most valuable asset which contributes to the success of its programs. Their mission is to support individuals with DD and TBI to maximize their potential and to enjoy all that life has to offer.  The support is provided through person-centered programs that respect each person’s dignity.  Staff members work together towards helping each person meet their goals.  Goals may include education, employment, independent living and socialization.  Social outings include grocery shopping, community education classes, and recreation activities.

Please join us for breakfast – buffet or a la carte – and hear from Pam and Brian about the devoted work of Bear Creek Services.

Maryette Braithwaite & Diane Hellie
Program co-chairs

November 16 AAUW General Meeting

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Doubletree Hotel, Skyway Level Banquet Room
5:30 Silent Auction and Social Time
6:15 Dinner
7:00 General Meeting
7:15 Program
  Winona State University’s Rochester Expansion – Jeanine Gangeness,
Jeanine E. Gangeness, is the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Winona State University.  She serves as the Chief Executive Officer responsible for managing the WSU-Rochester campus and is the Dean for the School of Graduate Studies for WSU.  Jeanine holds an MS and PhD in nursing from the University of North Dakota.
Prior to coming to WSU, Jeanine was the Founding Dean of the Bemidji School of Nursing, a joint venture of Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College.  She hopes that experience will translate here in Rochester to strengthen  WSU’s relationship with Rochester Community and Technical College, Southeast Technical and Riverland Community College.  Winona State Leadership feels this is the perfect time to step up their offerings to keep up with local demand for jobs and to bridge skill gaps in the workforce.
Please join us to hear Jeanine share her plans for partnership building in the Rochester higher education community.

Mixed Greens with Roasted Apples and Candied Walnuts
Marinated Flank Steak
Fingerling Potatoes
Fresh Green Beans
Meatless alternative:  Butternut Squash Ravioli

Reservations:  Dinner cost is $29 which includes tax and gratuity.  Please send a check made out to AAUW by Friday, November 11 to Maryette Braithwaite, 3928 Oak Park Circle SE, Rochester, MN 55904.  Please specify beef or pasta on your check.

At our November 16th meeting we will again hold a Silent Auction to raise funds for the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund. The LAF financially supports the prosecution of cases involving issues of direct concern to AAUW members; cases such as:

Kurtz et al. v. Trustees of Indiana University et al. which brings attention not only to the sexual harassment of students by university staff, but also the serious retaliation those students may face if they speak out.

Rizo v. Fresno Count Office of Education, which highlights a significant underlying factor that contributes to the wage gap: the new employee’s prior salary history being used to set the salary level of that employee.  Huge disparities often exist between the previous salary histories of men and women, and this system only perpetuates that.

Burhans v. Yale, which highlights the necessity of protecting administrators who are willing to address the problem of sexual assault on their campuses from professional retaliation.

For the Silent Auction we encourage all members to donate any new or gently used items that you wish to recycle from your homes. Items should be in good condition and may include unused gifts, notecards, household and decorative items,  which will make this annual fundraiser a success.

Please bring your items with you to the meeting and place them on designated tables. We will have pencils and bidding sheets available for you to fill out for each item, indicating your suggested starting bid.

AAUW Oct 19 2016 General Meeting

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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2016, 7:00 PM

Program:  From Gravel to Green – The Vision of a Healing Garden

Danna Olsen, Master of Public Health and ecologist, is passionate about the need and value of therapeutic green spaces for improving population well-being.  Danna has seven years experience caring for neuroscience inpatients, employment which coordinated with her return to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in public health with a focus on environmental health.


Danna proposed the idea for a rooftop healing garden to UW Madison Hospital’s Health and Healing Committee in 2011.  With the committee’s enthusiastic support she presented her vision to the CEO and facilities staff.  The garden became her capstone project in earning her master’s degree.  Danna provided the evidence base that guided the design and funding efforts and worked closely with the facility planner to obtain patient, family and staff input.


The garden was completed and celebrated with an open house this past July.  As hospitals strive to become more holistic in their approach to achieving higher levels of patient-centered care, gardens are becoming popular as a way to improve the hospital experience and patient outcomes.

Danna spends a great deal of her free time as an advocate for sustainable and healthy practices/policies and educational outreach with environmental nonprofits.  In addition to the UW Health and Healing Committee, she serves on the UW Health Environmental Sustainability Committee, is a board member of the Healthy Lawn Team, and a Steering Committee Member of the Wisconsin Environmental Health Network.  She is also very involved with building and sustaining local Community gardens and has served four years on the Madison Committee on Community Gardens.

Please join us to learn more about Danna’s five-year dedicated journey to change a gravel rooftop into the spectacular Hillary Grace Healing Garden.

Maryette Braithwaite and Diane Hellie, Program Co-chairs

AAUW Sept 2016 General Meeting

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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2016 7:00 p.m.
Program:  Positively Powerful Proton Beam Therapy
Speaker:  Dr. Nadia Laack, Mayo Radiation Oncologist
Proton beam therapy is a more precise form of cancer treatment than conventional radiation and is less likely to expose healthy tissue to harmful radiation.  It is used in treating adult brain tumors and tumors in children to reduce risk of complications and cognitive side effects.  The machine sends positively charged protons through a series of powerful magnets, accelerating them to 60 percent of the speed of light, and focuses them precisely on the target.  Research is ongoing for use of proton beam therapy in other types of cancer such as breast, lung, prostate and esophageal tumors.
Because of its cost, proton beam therapy is not without criticism.  Mayo used fundraising and a $100 million gift from Iowa philanthropist Richard Jacobson to build its $180 million proton beam accelerator.   Mayo plans to subsidize the portion that exceeds the cost of standard radiation in hopes that insurers will approve more cases of proton beam therapy.
Dr. Nadia Laack, a Mayo radiation oncologist is a member of the team of doctors and researchers at the new Jacobson Proton Beam Center.  Dr. Laack earned her medical degree from Loma Linda University School of Medicine.  She completed a residency in Radiation Oncology at Mayo and a fellowship in Pediatric Radiation Oncology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Please join us and Dr. Laack to learn more about the progress made in treating cancer with this fascinating technology.

Maryette Braithwaite and Diane Hellie, Program Co-chairs

April 20 2016 General Meeting

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Charter House, Edwards Hall (first floor)

 Jeremiah Program – Transforming Lives Two Generations at a Time

     Our guest speaker is Gloria Perez, President and CEO and founder of Jeremiah Program.  For more than 15 years, Jeremiah Program has provided single mothers and their children with a path out of poverty through a proven, two-generational model.  By providing holistic support for a career-track college education to the mother, quality early childhood education for the children, and safe and affordable housing, the women gain empowerment and life skills training. Jeremiah Program prepares determined single mothers to excel in the workforce, readies their children to succeed in school, and reduces generational dependence on public assistance.
Jeremiah Program is responding to new communities across the country.  There are two fully operational campuses in Minneapolis and St. Paul,  a new campus in Austin, TX, two pilot programs underway in Boston, and planning in progress in Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN.
JoMarie Morris, local attorney, and Replication Consultant for Jeremiah Program,  will join us to tell us about plans for Jeremiah Program in Rochester.

Maryette Braithwaite, Program Chair

Jan 2016 AAUW General Meeting

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Breaking the Chains of Modern Day Slavery

You think it doesn’t happen here?  Think again.

Saturday January 16, 2015

8:30am – Noon

Assisi Heights Auditorium

1001 14th Street NW, Rochester MN

In lieu of our own program on January 16, 2016 we are encouraging our members to attend an event at Assisi Heights that will focus on Human Trafficking and its impact on our local community.  The good news is that there are many organizations, agencies and individuals trying to prevent this activity, as well as offer support to the victims of this crime.

Topics on the agenda include the following:

  • Learn how a young woman’s testimony helped convict her trafficker
  • Be informed on the actions being implemented by local law enforcement
  • Understand the resources provided by local organizations to assist the victims
  • Recognize how local citizens have made a difference

There is no charge to attend but registration is encouraged.  To register go to www.rochesterfranciscan.org.


AAUW General Meeting Wed Nov 18

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AAUW General Meeting
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
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AAUW General Meeting October 21

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AAUW General Meeting
Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Charter House, Edwards Hall

6:45 Social Time

7:00 General Meeting

7:30 Program – Angela Lunde

 ACT on Alzheimer’s; A Conversation With the Community

Rochester ACT on Alzheimer’s is a local, 60-person action group which began to meet last year to discuss ways to prepare our community for the impact of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Angela Lunde is a dementia education specialist who serves at the state level of ACT on Alzheimer’s and is leading the effort in Rochester. The group includes community leaders, business and health-care professionals, members of local governments, as well as families of loved ones with dementia. The group intends to first identify the attitudes, knowledge and perception around dementia and then look for ways to make downtown Rochester more dementia friendly.

In Minnesota alone, 88,000 individuals age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease. As the baby boom generation ages, the number of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will escalate rapidly, and by 2050, is likely to triple. The disease impacts the welfare of families and caregivers, the health-care system and the economy.

Please join us for “A Conversation With the Community.”



AAUW Sept 16, 2015 General meeting

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AAUW General Meeting

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Charter House, Edwards Hall

7:00pm Social time

7:15pm General meeting

7:30pm Program – Commonweal Theater

Our guest speaker is Adrienne Sweeney, Resident Ensemble Actor/Artistic Director of External Communications/Ibsen Festival Coordinator for the Commonweal Theater in Lansboro, Minnesota.  Originally from South Philadelphia, Adrienne earned her BA in Baltimore and her Masters of Fine Arts in Acting at the University of Arizona.  She joined the Commonweal Theatre Company in 2001, and in 2002 was hired full time to market and expand the scope of the Ibsen Festival.  The Commonweal is the only theater company in North America that does a play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen every year.  In 2008, the Commonweal was one of the inaugural winners for an Ibsen scholarship.  Adrienne and her husband, Hal Cropp, Executive Director of the Commonweal, flew to Norway to accept the award and attend the Ibsen Festival in Oslo.

Please join us to learn more about how the Commonweal Theatre Company helped transform the sleepy little Nordic town of Lanesboro into a thriving destination considered one of America’s twenty best small towns by Smithsonian Magazine.

AAUW May 2015 General Meeting

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Wednesday May 20, 2015

Rochester Golf and Country Club

3100 Country Club Road (2nd Street SW)

5:30pm Book Sale and Social Time

6:30pm Dinner

7:00pm General Meeting

7:15 Program

On April 23, 2014 Leslie McClellon was chosen as the new president of Rochester Community and Technical College by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees.  She officially took over the reins July 1, 2014.

The road taken from her education in Oklahoma to Minnesota was long and winding and filled with challenges.  At age 17, Leslie headed to Langston University where she was the third generation in her family to attend the historically black college near Oklahoma City.  There she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and later, a master’s degree in urban education.  Job experience as a case manager and recruiter for Big Brothers and Sisters of Oklahoma and as a counselor in drug and alcohol programs taught her valuable life and career skills. But Leslie felt her calling was in education and returned to Langston where her career in education had begun.

Leslie has 20 years of experience in higher education.  Before accepting the position at RCTC, she served as vice president of student affairs at the Community College of Denver.  Previously Leslie served at Arizona Western College as dean of student retention and support; assistant to the vice president for student services, and as executive assistant to the president of student affairs at Langston University; and at Wright Business School in Oklahoma as dean of students.

Please join us for an enjoyable evening and to learn about the trials and triumphs of Leslie’s first year as President of RCTC.

Dinner Menu

House Garden Green Salad with Dinner Rolls

Wild Rice stuffed chicken breast with White Wine Cream Sauce

Fresh Broccolini and Red Peppers

Coffee or Tea

A cash bar will be provided from 5:30pm – 7:00pm

Please make your dinner reservations by Friday, May 15.  The cost of the dinner is $27 which includes tax and gratuity.  Let me know at the time of your reservation if you prefer the vegetarian option of Mushroom Ravioli.  Please send a check made out to AAUW to: Maryette Braithwaite, 3928 Oak Park Cir, SE Rochester MN 55904

Maryette Braithwaite and Diane Hellie, Program Co-Chairs


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