The inaugural Digital Holiday Dessert Cookbook is here, presented by your peers!

It’s the holidays and time for good food and lots of desserts!

NCRGEA members are spreading a little joy and comfort during this holiday season by sharing some of their best dessert recipes with you. Just click this link for the flipbook or download a copy. Then, heat up the oven and click on the music!

Thank you to all who submitted your amazing recipes to help jumpstart the holidays and bring a little warmth into the season!!

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Deryl Davis Fulmer, PhD.
NCRGEA Community Liaison

District Community Connections

LivingPower September/October 2023

By Deryl Davis Fulmer

Members attending the September NCRGEA Fall Conference in Greenville

Dear Fellow Retirees,
Can you believe it? Fall is already here! The year has flown by; before we know it, it will be Christmas.
Please make sure you send us your holiday recipes, desserts, or drinks that you have enjoyed over the
years and want to share. We will publish our first NCRGEA Digital Holiday Recipe Book on November
3rd, just in time to enjoy it during the holidays. Be a part of this exciting and new activity and show off your culinary skills! Here’s the link: www.ncrgea.com/submit-a-recipe.

In June, we launched our first Virtual Lunch and Learn webinars, developed to share important topics that will help you to navigate retirement, understand aging concerns, and have information at your fingertips to improve your quality of life. It was held via Zoom on Wednesday, June 28th, from 12:30-
1:30 pm. It was entitled: Aging Un-Lonely: Staying Connected for your Health. Over 330 members
registered, and over 90 attended. Dr. Megan Smith, UNC-Charlotte; Dr. Cheryl Greenberg, AARP/The Age Coach; and Ms. Rebecca Freeman, NC Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS/DHHS) gave the audience useful tools to help with isolation and loneliness. They encouraged participants to reach out to them if they had questions and/or needed resources. It was a great event and start to our Lunch
and Learn series.

On July 18th, AMBA representative, Jon Green, talked about the benefits of AMBA and the Passport Discount that is part of the NCRGEA membership packet. Members really enjoyed learning about these benefits and immediately began to access them. On August 16th, our third Lunch and Learn was about Aetna’s upcoming role as the third-party administrator for the state’s Health Care Plan. More than 370 members signed up for this informative session, and they asked a lot of questions. Our members are requesting more of these educational presentations, so the Lunch and Learns are currently scheduled as a monthly event on Wednesdays from 12:30 – 1:30 pm. Please watch for the logo and be sure to register to attend. NCRGEA sends information and registration instructions to your email, so it is important that we have your email address. We encourage you to invite friends (members and non-members) to join these events. If you need to provide or update your email address, please send that information to info@ ncrgea.com or call our office at 919-834-4652.

In early July, I had the opportunity to attend the CenterWell Primary Care service launch for Medicare patients who live in Durham and surrounding areas. CenterWell is the largest of such services in the US and has locations in other parts of NC as well. Tiffany Roberts, the new market president, stated, “We are truly delighted to bring CenterWell Senior Primary Care to the Raleigh/ Durham community. Seniors live at the heart of CenterWell’s mission, to deliver personalized care that isn’t rushed, with a dedicated care team that is accessible and focuses on the unique physical, emotional, and social wellness needs of seniors.” For more information about CenterWell Senior Primary Care or to schedule a tour, visit seniorfocusednc.com.

We’ve heard from many of you, and you are interested in securing part-time employment. The Governor’s “Hometown Strong Initiative: Empowering Rural North Carolina” (featured in the July/August edition) may be what you are seeking. Please visit their website: hometownstrong.nc.gov, for more information. Be sure to check it out.
If you are interested in volunteering, please remember the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program and Meals on Wheels programs in your area. These organizations are always in need of volunteers across the state!
If you are in Wake County, please consider volunteering for the Center for Volunteer Caregiving. Your help is needed!

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at deryl@ncrgea.com. Please let me know if you want to join your district’s Community Advisory Board (CAB). And finally, if you are a new retiree, please consider joining NCRGEA and become active with us!
Happy Fall, everyone!
Deryl

Hitting the Road with NCRGEA

Hello North Carolina local government and state retirees! North Carolina Retired Governmental
Employees’ Association’s in-person Local Outreach Meetings took a short break in July and August—
but we’re coming back in September stronger than ever.

NCRGEA is back on the road with seven in-person meetings in September and October. We are fortunate to have our good friends from the NC Department of Insurance’s Senior Health Information Insurance Program [SHIIP] and Humana to advise on your open enrollment processes. Our representatives from AMBA will offer information on supplemental dental and vision programs. These meetings will be a great opportunity to get your questions answered by subject matter experts. Mark your calendars!

Fun for Forsyth County members!

Do you know how to play pool or would like to learn the game,
all for FREE?

Break Time logo

Well, we have a great deal for you! Shepherd’s Center of Winston-Salem has collaborated with Break Time Billiards and Sports Bar to offer this opportunity. This is a great way to get out of the house and socialize a bit. And, food is there for purchase at Break Time!

In order to participate, you only need to meet the following requirements:

1. Must be at least 65 years of age.
2. Live in Forsyth County.
3. Must get free tickets from Break Time Billiards or Shepherd’s Center.
4. Must take ticket to Break Time Billiard’s counter to receive your free lessons and to play pool. Sign in sheet is at the counter.

Once you have your ticket, you can play during program hours:

Monday–Thursday from 4–6:00pm
Friday from 12–6:00pm

NCRGEA member and District 3 Community Advisory Board (CAB) member, Robin Kelly, is a certified pool instructor and he is there to greet you. To schedule lessons, call Robin at: 336-466-0683. He instructs during program times and is excited to work with you and teach a sport he loves.

For additional information regarding the program, please contact Shepherd’s Center at 336-748-0217.

No doubt, this is a great opportunity to stay active and engaged! We are hoping that you will take advantage and enjoy mingling with others around this sport! NCRGEA membership is not required, so please include your retired friends. Robin may ask you to pose for a picture for our newsletter.

The info flyer is available here, and as always, if you have any questions, please email deryl@NCRGEA.com or phone 919.834.4652 or 1.800.356.1190.

Deryl Davis Fulmer
NCRGEA Community Liaison

Local Government: Framing the Conversation Going Forward

North Carolina’s strength, beauty, language, and allure come from its land as much as the people who reside in its 100 counties and 552 distinct municipalities. It’s no wonder that our great state has held the distinction of having more dialects than any other state in the United States, driven by its diverse geography from the mountains to sea and the people who have inhabited it from the past to the present. From the lush 221 square miles of Clay County in the far western corner of our state to the expansive Dare County in the east with its 1,562 square miles — we have something special.

The governance of these distinct and unique areas of the state consisting of cities, towns, and villages is consequentially complex, due to the variety of needs dependent on population, geography, and economic factors. The General Assembly grants charter authority for each entity to operate as a governing body under the state statutes and constitution. Hyde County’s three residents per square mile require fewer government services than Mecklenburg County’s 2,055 residents per square mile, though each scenario brings its own challenges to the citizens, county managers, and commissioners. Services offered to residents — and even the benefits offered to local government employees — can vary fairly dramatically. A prime example of this difference in benefits is participation in the Local Government Employees Retirement System (LGERS), which is an optional benefit that may or may not be offered by county our municipality.

LGERS is administered by the Office of the Treasurer and relies on its Board of Trustees to act as the decision-making body regarding its policies and operations. The LGERS Board of Trustees is comprised of 13 members with some serving on the TSERS Board as well. Among the Trustees are its two ex-officio members, the State Treasurer (who chairs the Board), and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Two appointments are made by the General Assembly, and the Governor appoints eight members representing local government in these areas:

  • A mayor or member of a governing body in a city or town
  • A city manager
  • A county manager
  • A county commissioner
  • A law enforcement employee
  • A local government employee
  • A retired government employee
  • An active or retired member of the Rescue Squad Workers’ Pension Fund

Prior to 2006, the General Assembly provided cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) to LGERS participants as part of its budget legislation process. Since 2006, it has delegated responsibility to the LGERS Trustees, but within the framework of these existing legislative restrictions:

  • Currently allows them to provide up to 4% as long it does not exceed the Consumer Price Index.
  • Only allows a COLA to be paid based on record of investment gains and losses during the preceding three-year period.

As the chart below shows, investment losses with the 2008 Great Recession set a course for the widest historical disparity between retirement disbursements and inflation. What is not reflected on this chart, from 2021 to present, is an additional 16% increase in the CPI-U (inflation rate).

LGERS graph

To put context to these roughly 30 months, is the reduction in buying power is nearly the same as what occurred in the decade between 2010-2020 (17.6 %). The current reality brings stagnated cost-of-living adjustments for retirees, with contributing factors being changes in the legislative administration of LGERS, rising costs to the counties and municipalities to level up the fund, and the actuarial lowering of return expectations for the fund.

I share this information with NCRGEA members, with the general public, and with any of our elected leaders so that, together, a dialogue can begin on finding opportunities to begin moving forward — away from the current state of “no COLA” for government retirees. TSERS and LGERS participants have significant shared histories and outcomes in regard to COLA. But some unique components of LGERS compared to other pensions managed by the Office of the Treasurer will require broader partner collaborations to resolve these COLA challenges. Casting the vision for a prosperous North Carolina will require a vision for the significant portion of its citizens who work and retire from public service, or North Carolina will fall short of its full potential.

In closing, I leave you with a quote by Albert Einstein that “no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” In context of this message on LGERS, the forces that brought us to this point are to be noted but cannot tether new and innovative ways to improve the lives of governmental retirees, maintain a talented and loyal public service workforce, and encourage the broader economic prosperity of North Carolina.

Sincerely,

Tim O’Connell

NCRGEA Executive Director

Got a Holiday Dessert Recipe to Share?

Our NCRGEA members have such great talents, and we want to showcase them in an upcoming free digital recipe book of holiday desserts. Here’s how you can participate:

  • Fill in the online submission form before October 25, 2023
  • Choose one of the 4 food categories (you can submit as many different recipes as you’d like!)
  • Write a brief story about what the recipe means to you as an Intro to the recipe!
  • Provide ingredients and cooking instructions and serving size for your recipe
  • Upload a quality image of the dessert under 25mb (optional)
  • Click Send button~ then, set your timers!
  • Digital release of the compiled cookbook will be on our website for free download by November 3, 2023. This is a digital cookbook; NCRGEA will not be providing printed copies

Any questions? Please email info@NCRGEA.com for further information.

NCRGEA Conferences: See You in September 2023

LivingPower July-August 2023

Plans are underway for the upcoming NCRGEA Fall Conferences, and we are excited to be heading your way in September at three locations across the state. On Wednesday, Sep. 13, we will be at the Statesville Civic Center; On Tuesday, Sep. 19, you can find us at the Durham Convention Center; and on Tuesday, Sep. 26, the final NCRGEA Fall Conference will be held at the Greenville Convention Center.

Back by popular demand will be some improvements to the schedule and changes in events and sponsor participation, which were introduced last spring at our conference in Hendersonville and scored highly in survey results.

Get ready for plenty of local flair at each conference, including an outstanding lunch served by a local caterer focusing on regional, featured food from the area, and exciting door prizes from local merchants. Another local angle includes having a representative from the local NCSU Cooperative Extension office on hand to lead a presentation on a regional landscaping topic and answer attendees’ questions. “We are making a point to highlight the cultural aspects of each community,” said Tim O’Connell, NCRGEA Executive Director.

Each conference will have our partnering sponsors ready to discuss many aspects of retired life – from healthcare to social security to hobbies and activities. Sponsors will start the session with quick, two-minute introductions, which provides attendees with an overview, helping them decide how to engage throughout the day by to the information and assistance most important to them.

Stephanie Bias, a representative from the North Carolina Department of Insurance’s Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) said, “The approach of the two-minute greeting by the sponsors made a big difference to attendees. It put a face with a name, agency, or business, so attendees could target their visits to the exhibit booths.”
The schedule will allow time for attendees to visit the information tables, visit with each other, and make new friends. “One of our goals is to bring retirees together,” said O’Connell. “This allows them to share ideas and make connections. This time together also allows staff to get new ideas for future programs and events.”

Look for invitations and additional information coming soon with details on registering for NCRGEA’s Fall Conferences in:

9.13.23 Statesville: Statesville Civic Center | 300 S Center St | Statesville, NC 28677

9.19.23 Durham: Durham Convention Center | (inside Marriott) | 301 W Morgan St | Durham, NC 27701

9.26.23 Greenville: Greenville Convention Center | 303 Greenville Blvd SW | Greenville, NC 27834

First NCRGEA Lunch and Learn Series is launched!

June 28, 2023

Lunch and Learn June28

Thank you to those who today attended this very informative and passionate presentation and panel discussion. The presenters, Dr. Megan Smith, Ms. Rebecca Freeman and Dr. Cheryl Greenberg provided invaluable information and resources for attendees to use to help combat isolation and loneliness. Please take advantage of these resources as they provide helpful information to curtail isolation and loneliness. The presenters have also provided their contact information in their presentation materials. Please feel free to connect with them directly.

If you would like to listen to the recording of the presentation, use this Zoom link and you will need to enter the passcode: L850vP!% . Click to download a copy of the slide deck in .pdf format, which includes resources and speaker contact information.

We are scheduling upcoming Lunch and Learn virtual sessions ~ would you please complete this survey and let us know what topics you are interested in learning? We look forward to seeing you at our next Virtual Lunch & Learn. Watch for information coming soon!

Last Retiree Outreach for the Summer!

June 13, 2023

Our NCRGEA Community Outreach Coordinator, Jo Lanier, has held 16 community events and had over 250 total attendees across the state this spring and summer. If you have not had a chance to attend, and you want to meet up with other retirees, join Jo on this last summer outreach event Wednesday, June 21 at 10am in Hillsborough NC.

Thanks to our partners and our members for making this event a success! We look forward to seeing you more in the fall! Be sure to keep your email updated with us so we can provide you with notifications on upcoming fun events!

NCRGEA Begins a Lunch & Learn Series!

June 7, 2023

Our Community Liaison, Deryl Fulmer, has heard from many NCRGEA members that they would like information on being Active & Engaged! We have launched a series of virtual Lunch & Learn events for 2023 with professional panelists who will cover many topics that will inspire and inform our members.

This June, our kickoff topic to the Lunch & Learn Series, “Aging Un-Lonely: Staying Socially Connected for your Health,” will be on the topic of the Loneliness Epidemic.

It is no secret that the number of older adults age 65 and older is growing, and many are socially isolated and regularly feel lonely. In this session, you will:

    • learn the difference between social isolation and loneliness

    • understand the health implications

    • get tips to combat these health concerns, as older adults are at a higher risk for physical and mental health declines, including dementia and heart disease

Please join us Wednesday, June 28 from 12:30 to 1:30pm for this enlightening conversation with panelists Dr. Megan Smith, UNC-Charlotte, Rebecca Freeman, NC Department of Adult and Aging Services and Dr. Cheryl Greenberg, AARP, to learn more about this growing concern and find out how to age un-lonely and healthy.

This is a virtual event via Zoom. Registration by Friday | June 23 is required. Registration is now closed. Please watch our calendar for future events!

If you have any questions, please email Deryl@NCRGEA.com or phone 919.834.4652.