6 New Year’s Eve Safety Tips

Even in our retired years, New Year’s Eve comes with a lot of expectations and pressure to have a wonderful and memorable night. NCRGEA asks you to please keep the following tips in mind while making plans for your celebrations.

1) Don’t drink and drive! It’s not only a safety hazard, it’s illegal! It has been said many times, but you can never say it enough. If you plan on going out for New Year’s Eve, designate a sober driver, take a ridesharing company or cab, plan to sleep over at the host’s home, or arrange for a sober driver to pick you up.

2) Plan for guests’ safety. If hosting a party, plan a way to have guests get home safely or have a place for them to sleep over if they don’t have a sober driver.

3) Consider pet safety. Animals get frightened around loud noises, especially fireworks. Keeping your pets inside can help avoid these issues. Make sure any pet that has a chance to get outside is properly tagged.

4) Try not to leave your car overnight. New Year’s Day is the second most active holiday for car theft. If you must leave your car, make sure it is locked and try to pick it up as early as you can the next day.

5) Be mindful at public events. Try not to travel alone; make sure you have a cell phone on you, and be aware of your surroundings. Many criminals consider retired citizens as easy targets.

6) Avoid using fireworks or flare guns without understanding local laws and safety rules.

NCRGEA hopes you enjoy your celebrations and we want you to be as safe as possible. Stay safe, stay smart, and make this New Year’s Eve unforgettable for the right reasons!

Statement on Budget from NCRGEA Executive Director Tim O’Connell

September 20, 2023

Tuesday night, legislative leadership from both the House and Senate chambers announced that they had reached a $30 billion budget agreement after a weeks-long stalemate between the two chambers. The budget includes a 4 percent bonus for retired teachers and state government employees. This 4 percent bonus will be distributed in November 2023. Retirees may receive an additional bonus or a cost-of-living adjustment next year in the 2024 legislative short session. The 2020-2022 biennium budget included bonuses totaling 6 percent for state employees, including the additional 4% awarded in the legislature’s short session last year.

The executive leadership and board of NCRGEA wish to thank the legislature for its work to provide inflation-negating money for our state’s deserving retirees. We also want to thank the many legislative champions who fought determinedly on behalf of more than 250,000 state retirees who taught, served, or protected the people of North Carolina and continue to contribute to society and their local economies in meaningful ways. While it looks like this chapter is successfully ending, our work for local government retirees continues in conjunction with the Local Government Employees’ Trustees Board and related organizations. We will never cease to strongly advocate for all government retirees in North Carolina.

Attorney General Josh Stein Shuts Down Health Care Robocallers

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today won judgments shutting down robocallers who made illegal health care-related robocalls. Because of this win, Scott Shapiro, Michael Theron Smith, Jr., and Health Advisors of America can no longer make robocalls or work for or with companies that make robocalls in North Carolina.

“I know how harmful and frustrating these robocalls are – that’s why North Carolina has taken the lead in shutting down these scam callers,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m pleased that we were able to win back some peace of mind for North Carolinians with this win. We’ll continue our fight to cut down on robocallers.”

Attorney General Stein sued the robocallers as part of a bigger case that begin in 2020 against John Caldwell Spiller II and his business partner Jakob Mears, the owners of Texas-based Rising Eagle Capital Group LLC and JSquared Telecom LLC, as well as Rising Eagle Capital Group–Cayman. The lawsuit against all of the defendants alleged violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, and various state consumer protection laws.

The complaint alleged that Shapiro and Smith worked with Mears and Spiller to make illegal robocalls targeting people who never asked to be contacted by Health Advisors. In addition to the permanent robocall bans, the defendants are also banned for 10 years from engaging in telemarketing, lead generation, providing or selling telephone numbers, or calling numbers on the federal or North Carolina Do Not Call lists. Shapiro is further banned for two years from engaging in these activities nationwide. The court ordered monetary judgements totaling $146,153,860 for Shapiro, Smith, and Health Advisors combined, though payments will be largely suspended in favor of the operational bans as long as the defendants continue to abide by the terms of the judgment.

The defendants are also required to present a copy of the judgment to all businesses and new customers with which they conduct business for the next 10 years. These judgments resolve all ongoing litigation in this case.

Attorney General Stein is joined in these judgments by the Attorneys General of Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, and Texas.

Copies of the judgments are available here.


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.

Congratulations Montrena Hadley: NCRGEA 2023 Lifetime Service Award Recipient

May 24, 2023

Congratulations to the NCRGEA 2023 Lifetime Service Award recipient, Montrena Hadley, of District 4.  NCRGEA honored retired local government employee Montrena Hadley for her combined 30 years of service to the city of Mebane as Planning Director. Upon retirement in 2020, Hadley was elected the same year to the Mebane City Council and is currently serving as its first Black female member. 

NCRGEA Executive Director, Tim O’Connell, presented her with the award in front of more than 100 members and staff of the North Carolina General Assembly, pictured below in Image 1 on right.  The Association’s President of the Board of Directors, Mike Taylor, was also on hand to present the award, pictured below in Image 1 on left.  Montrena was nominated by District 4’s David Ray and it was the decision of the Board of Directors to select Montrena as this year’s recipient.

We had a great turnout for the Public Service Recognition and Advocacy Day May 24th at Bicentennial Plaza; over 400 attendees were at our lunch catered by Parker’s BBQ of Wilson, including a good portion of the legislators and their staff.

Having broadband issues? We can hear you!

Tim O'Connell at broadband conference
photo: NCRGEA Executive Director Tim O'Connell and NC Secretary of Information Technology Jim Weaver

NCRGEA Executive Director Tim O’Connell attended the “Closing the Digital Divide Conference” with state and association leaders advocating for improved access to high-speed internet.  Expansion of broadband is an important legislative agenda item to our members for many reasons, including the expansion of telehealth opportunities.

Share your feedback with the state Broadband leaders by completing their Digital Equity survey.

NCRGEA Celebration of Public Service and Advocacy Day, scheduled for May 9, is now rescheduled for May 24.

NCRGEA was informed earlier today the legislators had made a calendar adjustment for next week. There will be no committee meetings until possibly the latter part of next week. For this reason, we are expecting a fair amount of the legislators to not be in the General Assembly Building next week as many will remain in their home districts.

What Do You Need to Do?

We want you to join us on May 24! Please register to attend on the 24th using this link: tinyurl.com/2p99fyy7. It is important to register so we get our lunch count correct.

What About Meeting with My Representatives?

Your advocacy work on this day will be so much more impactful if you take a moment to schedule your time with your representatives. You can find their contact information and the name of their legislative assistant here:  https://ncrgea.com/advocacy/findmylegislator/. Please book (or re-book) appointments with your legislators for the new date of May 24. Please use the registration form at the link tinyurl.com/2p99fyy7 and fill in the name and time of your appointment with your Legislator so our NCRGEA Lobbyists can be aware and help us with follow up!

What if I Cannot Attend on May 24, but my legislator is still willing to meet me on May 9?

By all means, if you cannot make May 24 and your legislator is still available on May 9, you are welcome to keep your appointment. If you would like a member of the NCRGEA lobby team to join you on a May 9 visit, please email tim@ncrgea.com.

We thank you for your willingness to be an advocate for governmental retirees. We sincerely hope your schedule will allow you to participate in the Celebration of Public Service with us and your legislators on May 24! Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at 919.834.4652.

Public Service Week May 22to26

NCRGEA On the Road with Community Engagement Meetings

Good news! North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association’s Community Engagement Meetings are growing and Josephine Lanier, the Association’s Insurance Director and Human Resources Outreach Coordinator is on the road again and coming to a town near you!
Her latest meetings in Selma, New Bern, Franklin and Wilmington were well received with attendance at each meeting growing and lots of questions being asked and information on the needs of our members being passed to the leadership of the Association. Lanier believes that sharing information and programs thru social media, emails, and the Association’s website is important, the opportunity for face-to-face meetings is more important, especially to members who may not be using social media and computers.
“It’s so good to meet our members and public service retirees one-on-one and let them share their concerns,” said Lanier. “As one retiree in New Bern told me, she was so happy to attend the meeting and she now understands what NCRGEA is all about and how it champions for the Public Service Retirees.”
While the General Assembly is in session, and with several bills and issues being discussed and voted on, these meetings allow Lanier to update the retirees and field questions. Josephine believes that sharing information and programs thru social media, our website NCRGEA.comFacebook and Twitter is very important, the opportunity for personal meetings are so very import to reach all our members — some who may not be using social media and computers.

In May and June, Lanier is ready to travel the highways and byways of North Carolina to meet more NCRGEA members and their guests. She has nine meetings scheduled.

Community Outreach

May 16th – Tea and Cookies – 2:00pm-3:00pm
Currituck County Center
120 Community Way
Barco NC 27917

May 17th – Coffee and Donuts – 10:00am-11:00am
NC Cooperative Extension-Pasquotank County Center
1209 McPherson St
Elizabeth City NC 27909

May 18th – Coffee and Donuts – 11:00am-12pm
City of Rocky Mount Senior Center
427-S Church St
Rocky Mount NC 27804

May 23rd – Tea and Cookies – 2:00pm-3:00pm
Roy B Culler Senior Center
921 Eastchester Dr., Suite 1230
High Point NC 27262

May 24th – Coffee and Donuts – 10:00am-11:00am
Brown Recreation Center, Room 101
302 E. Vandalia Rd
Greensboro NC 27402

May 25th – Coffee and Donuts – 10:00am-11:00am
Kernodle Senior Center, Room A/B
1535 S Mebane St
Burlington NC 27215

June 6th – Tea and Cookies – 2:00pm-3:00pm
Cabarrus County Government, Milestone Facility
4855 Milestone Ave
Kannapolis NC 28081

June 7th – Tea and Cookies – 2:00pm-3:00 pm
The Enrichment Center of Lee County
1615 S. 3rd St
Sanford NC 27330

June 21st – Coffee and Donuts – 10:00am-11:00am
Passmore Center/Orange County Department on Aging
103 Meadowlands Dr.
Hillsborough NC 27278

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Josephine@ncrgea.com or call the NCRGEA at 919-834-4652.
The Association would love for members to join us and encourages them to bring a friend who is a public service retiree. Refreshments are provided and a $25 gift card is given away at each meeting.