A Conversation with U.I. President Bruce Harreld  (3 Dec, 2p)  Zoom  (not recorded, as per Harreld's request)
Annual Insurance Options Q & A Session, with Sonatina Fernandes and Lora Felger  (17 Nov, 1p)  recording of zoom program

U.I. Benefits Quick Overview of 2021 Open Enrollment for UI Retirees  video link
Making the Right Health Insurance Decision SHIIP seminar by Gary Schwartz  (5 Nov, 2p)  recording of zoom program
A Conversation with Dr. Liz Tovar, UI interim associate vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion (27 Oct, 1p)
Director Lauren Lessing presents an Update on the U.I. Stanley Museum of Art (16 Oct, 10a)  recording of zoom program
The Restoration of Cedar River Crossing:  A Story of Conservation Optimism  presented by Kristin Morrow  (15 Sept, 10a)  recording of zoom program
A Conversation with Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague (25 August, 2 pm)  not recorded
A presentation by Connie Mutel: Covid-19: Dress Rehearsal for the Climate Change Crisis (6 August, 10am)  recording of zoom program
UIRA Annual Business Meeting and Potluck (3 June, 5:30p)  CANCELLED covid-19
Tour of the Iowa City Municipal Airport (5 Mat or 12 May, 1-3p)  CANCELLED covid-19
Bur Oak Land Trust: Protecting Vulnerable Species and Native Land in East Central Iowa (22 Apr, 2-3:30)  CANCELLED covid-19
UIRA Annual Meeting and Luncheon [printable reservation form] (15 April, 11:30a)  CANCELLED covid-19
Presentation Climate Change Update by Connie Mutel (11 March, 1:30p)  CANCELLED covid-19
Aging Successfully Through the Use of Technology presentation (24 Feb. 2p)
FilmScene Tour (9 Jan, 10:30a)
Conversation with President Bruce Harreld (5 Dec, 2-3:30p)
UI Benefits Update (7 Nov, 2-4p)
TRAIL presents Janet Schlapkohl's monologue “Invisibility, Elderly Cats, and..” (10 Oct, 4p)
Kinnick Stadium New North End Zone Tour (29 Oct, 11:45a)
Emeritus Faculty Council Lecture by Lorraine Dorfman, Social Work (17 Oct, 4p)
Flu Vaccination Clinic and Fitness Screening (17 Oct, 12-2p)
Kent Park Tour, with picnic option (10 Sept, 10a)

In what has become an important tradition to our membership, U.I. President Bruce Harreld will once again meet with UIRA members to update us on issues facing The University of Iowa, and answer your questions.

Sonatina Fernandes, UI Benefits Specialist, and Lora Felger, Community and Broker Liaison with Health Alliance Medical Plans, have produced an informational video for UIRA explaining the UI insurance plans and changes for the coming year.  Please watch it in advance of the Q and A session on Nov. 17.  Watch your email for the video link and instructions for submitting questions in advance of the Nov. 17 session.

Since we can't meet in person, Sonatina (UI Benefits Specialist) and Lora (Community and Broker Liaison with Health Alliance Medical Plans) have produced an informational video for UIRA explaining the UI insurance plans and changes for the coming year.  You will be sent the video link so you can watch in advance of the Q & A session.  Watch your email for the video link and instructions for submitting questions in advance of the Nov. 17 session.

Making the right decision about health insurance can be a challenging one for many seniors:  there are so many options!  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that free counseling is available through the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP).  At 2:00 PM on Thursday, November 5, Gary Schwartz, who has been a SHIIP counselor for 14 years, will be presenting a seminar for UIRA members on making informed health coverage decisions.   (Zoom information will be emailed a day or two before the presentation.)  Gary is very familiar with the UI plans, so he will provide particularly relevant insights about what issues should be considered when choosing among health insurance plans, including the UI plans.  He will also discuss two useful websites: https://shiip.iowa.gov/ and https://hr.uiowa.edu/.

SHIIP is a free service of the State of Iowa that helps people make informed decisions about Medicare and other health coverage.  SHIIP counselors are trained by the State and do not sell or promote any insurance companies, policies, or agents, but they can assist you in navigating options for prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans during the open enrollment period, which is from October 15–December 7, 2020.  SHIIP offers their services to seniors in the Iowa City area through both the Senior Center and Mercy Hospital for individual, confidential consultations.  For individual consultations, you can make an appointment with a SHIIP counselor by calling the Center’s main number 319-356-5220 or Mercy Hospital at 319-339-3658 (or toll free 1-800-637-2942, ext. 3658).  You can also send email uishiipretiree@gmail.com to ask individual questions or to request an appointment.

Dr. Liz Tovar will give an update on the UI's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan including the climate survey,  President Trump's executive order halting DEI training, the search for a permanent associate VP, and the challenges and opportunities facing the UI campus.  Dr. Tovar was named interim Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in August 2020.  She also leads the Student-Athlete Academic Services Office as Associate Athletics Director in Athletics, a position she has held for the past 7 years.  She began her career in academic services in 1998 at Kansas University (KU), where she received an undergraduate, masters, and doctorate degree in psychology, clinical psychology, and educational leadership and policy studies, respectively.  Before coming to Iowa in 2013, Dr. Tovar managed student services and advised student-athletes in academic, personal, and professional development at KU, The Ohio State University and Northern Illinois University. 

Lauren Lessing, Director of the UI Stanley Museum of Art, will join us in October to present an update on the new Stanley Museum of Art.  Lauren became the eighth museum director in 2018. She has overseen the museum’s collection and led fundraising and planning for construction of the 63,000 square-foot museum.  Lauren is an art historian and educator with a PhD in the history of art from Indiana University.  Her scholarship focuses on art produced in the United States in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.  She has worked in museums including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.  She came to the University of
Iowa from the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine.  When she isn’t attending to progress on the Stanley, Lauren teaches for Senior College.  This fall she will teach via Zoom “A History of the American Century in Eight Paintings.”  This summer she has given art lovers an opportunity to “dive” into the museum’s collection via Instagram on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 pm.  Please join us for an update on the museum.  (Feel free to contribute to the building campaign; to volunteer for the docent program, contact Kim Datchuk)

Restoration is an uplifting topic of hope and optimism (and we could all use that now!).  Kristin Morrow is a naturalist in Johnson County with a fascinating background.  Her presentation will focus on restoration progress on Johnson County Conservation lands, addressing the restoration projects taking place at Cedar River Crossing, Kent Park, and the new Schwab-Burford property.  She studied Environmental Science at Iowa State University, especially watershed science.  Wetland, stream, and river health continues to be one of her main passions today!  Before starting at Johnson County Conservation department, she worked as a backpacking guide/naturalist in New Mexico, for a traveling restoration crew with The Nature Conservancy in Iowa, for a watershed restoration organization in northern Idaho, and as a naturalist in northern Minnesota.

This has been a challenging year for all of us, especially elected officials.  Mayor Teague joins us with his unique perspective on covid-19, Black Lives Matter, the recent derecho, as well as other issues facing Iowa City and other communities, answering our questions.  Mayor Bruce Teague has been in this community for 26 years.  He graduated from Iowa City West High School and The University of Iowa with majors in psychology and nursing.  He has worked in the community at various jobs from sacking groceries at HyVee to assisting dying patients at Iowa City Hospice.  For the past 15 years he has owned Caring Hands & More and CHARM Homes, which serves seniors and persons with disabilities.  He was elected to the City Council in 2018, and was appointed Mayor of Iowa City on January 2, 2020.  Mayor Teague is engaged to his partner of seven years, Colton Alexander.  Their April wedding was postponed due to covid-19.  They both love to travel, play volleyball, and spend summers camping and boating.

Since 1978, Bur Oak Land Trust has been protecting native land in eastern Iowa.  On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. at Schwab Auditorium in the Coralville Public Library, Executive Director Jason Taylor will discuss the role of land trusts in conservation and describe a number of Trust projects.  Topics will include working with a team of dogs to survey threatened ornate box turtle populations, habitat restoration for endangered rusty patched bumble bees, establishing a pawpaw grove for butterfly reintroduction, and the impact of local habitat loss and fragmentation.  This is an Earth Day special presentation.

This year's UIRA annual meeting and luncheon will be held on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Radisson Conference Center in Coralville.  Mark your calendar now!  Note that this is a different date than that which was published in the December issue of the Gray Hawk.  Complete and return the PDF iconreservation form (from page 3 of the March 2020 Gray Hawk), with your check, to Sam Cochran by Friday, 3 April.  More information will be forthcoming as the date nears.

Covid-19 and climate change are similar in many ways.  Both can transform lives, economies, and societies overnight.  But they also differ in significant ways: covid-19 came on like a firestorm, fast and furious, while climate change grinds forward like a glacier, strong, slow and relentless.  Connie will compare these two crises of our time, and explain how she (like others) came to see the covid-19 pandemic beneficial in some ways.  Join her for her Zoom talk on her comparison, followed by time for questions and other climate-change questions.   Connie Mutel is the author of several environmental books including A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland and The Emerald Horizon: The History of Nature in Iowa.  Connie is a frequent speaker on Midwestern environmental issues.  She is retired from 40 years at the UI, where for the past 30 years she was senior science writer at the College of Engineering's IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering.

Learn about the independent living needs and preferences of seniors and people with disabilities.  This program will provide an overview of smart devices and utility pricing programs that support independent living and aging in place, as well as on-line guidance on selecting, purchasing, and arranging for the in-home installation of devices.  This presentation will feature video conferencing technology and presentations by Dr. Linda Simpson and Doug Newman.  Dr. Simpson has been a professor in the Department of Human Services (formerly Family and Consumer Sciences) at Eastern Illinois University for 22 years and is the lead author for the Consumer's Guide to Better Aging in Place and collaborating author for the Care Provider’s Guide to Smart Home Devices and Services.  Mr. Newman serves as Treasurer and Executive Director of the Seniors Independent Living Collaborative and Project Director for five grant projects conducted for the Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation to improve the quality of life and independence of older adults and persons with disabilities.  Monday, February 24, 2020, 2:00-3:30 p.m.; Schwab Auditorium of the Coralville Public Library.
In case you missed it:  Sixty UIRA members heard Doug Newman and Linda Simpson from the Seniors Independent Living Collaborative in Illinois present “Aging Successfully Through Use of Smart Technology'” on Monday, February 24 in Schwab Auditorium of Coralville public library. The presentation included research findings related to independent living needs of older adults aging in place, benefits of using smart devices and services, and resources available for investigating the use of smart devices in the home.  Here are links to resources highlighted by the presenters and a link to their Seniors Independent Living Collaborative web site.   
Consumer’s Guide to Aging in Place: Smart Devices & Services          ● Smart Self Reliance Clearinghouse
Care Provider’s Guide to Smart Home Devices & Services                   ● Mid-American Smart Energy Programs

On Thursday, January 9, 2020, at 10:30 a.m., come tour the new, additional FilmScene space (Theatre 1) at the Chauncey (404 E. College St.) that opened last October.  Attendees who drive should park in the Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp, prepay for 1.5 hours, and enter the Chauncey via the College Street entrance.  FilmScene at The Chauncey offers a passenger drop-off zone on College Street and a covered walkway from the parking ramp.  To access FilmScene, it might be easiest to enter the upper levels of the ramp from the College Street bridge.  Find a link to the parking ramp and instructions for access and payment at https://www.icgov.org/parkingmeters#Parking%20ramps; the Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp is the first detailed under the “Automated Ramps” heading.
In case you missed it:  Approximately 75 UIRA members attended the January 9 program at FilmScene in the new Chauncey downtown. Members heard presentations by Andrew Sherburne and Dan Stolley on the history and importance of non-profit cinema in our community, opportunities for volunteer involvement, and had an opportunity to tour the new facility.  Note that volunteers get to see movies for free.

    Mark your calendar now for May 5 or May 12 to visit the Iowa City Municipal Airport.  Learn about the history and current activities at our Iowa City Airport.  Same tour program both dates; attend either day, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.  Details to follow.

     Hear about news and developments at the UI at this annual UIRA conversation with UI President Harreld, on Thursday, December 5, 2019, 2:00 to 3:30 pm, at Schwab Auditorium, Coralville Public Library.

     Learn about the upcoming year retiree insurance plan benefits on Thursday, November 7, 2019, 2:00 to 4:00 pm.  No reservations needed.  This program will be recorded and a link published in the next Gray Hawk.  It's at Parkview Church, 15 Foster Road, Iowa City.

     TRAIL of Johnson County will bring the humor and thoughtful insights of award-winning playwright Janet Schlapkohl to the Coralville Public Library’ Schwab Auditorium on Thursday, October 10.  Doors open to this free public event at 4:00 p.m., with the program beginning at 4:30 p.m. followed by a reception from approximately 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Schlapkohl’s monologue, called “Invisibility, Elderly Cats, and Swimming Raccoons,” weaves her experiences as the daughter of aging parents and spouse of a large-animal veterinarian into a funny, edgy, yet loving look at the so-called golden years, tarnish and all.
“You never want to miss a chance to laugh, especially in today’s climate,” said Schlapkohl.  “This monologue is about the foibles and fun of growing older ourselves, or witnessing our parents aging and caring for them.”  Schlapkohl earned her MFA degree in playwriting from the University of Iowa and is the founder of Combined Efforts Theatre and director of Country Camp, LLC.  She is the recipient of the Isabelle Turner Human Rights Award, the Richard Maibaum Award, the Finkbine Award for Human Rights, and was selected as a 2014 Visionary Playwright by Theater Masters. She is currently an adjunct assistant professor in the UI Department of Theatre Arts.
Prior to Schlapkohl’s performance, the audience will be treated to music by Mektoub, an eclectic local trio formed by John Rapson, recently retired head of Jazz Studies at the UI, with fellow "Hot Tamale Louie" veterans Daniel Gaglione and Ryan Smith.  The program will close with light refreshments and a chance to talk with the artists.  TRAIL of Johnson County is a membership-based nonprofit organization that helps older adults live more safely and comfortably in the places they call home. For more information visit www.trailofjohnsoncounty.org.

     The UIRA will again sponsor a Flu Vaccination Clinic and Fitness Screening, hosted by the Visiting Nurse Association of Johnson County and Johnson County Livable Community.  The clinic will be held on Thursday, October 17, 2019, noon to 2:00 p.m. in the lower level of the Hills Bank, located at 1009 Second Street in Coralville.  Park at the rear (north side) of the building, use the entrance at that location, and proceed downstairs to the clinic.  Remember to bring your Medicare or Medicare Advantage cards.

     UI Athletics and Iowa Athletics Development invite you for lunch and a tour of the new North End Zone at Kinnick Stadium on Tuesday, October 29.  Boxed lunches will be served in the Ted Pacha Family Club at 11:45, with brief remarks at 12:15 p.m.  A tour will follow from 12:30 -1:00 p.m.  Parking is available in Ramp 3 (Clock Tower Ramp) at the corner of Hawkins and Evashevski Drives.  There are also parking meters on the west and south sides of the UI Rec Building.  Please enter the Ted Pacha Family Club via the skywalk entrance.  The skywalk is accessible from the West Campus Transportation Center or Ramp 3.  Space is limited! Please RSVP with your name and any dietary limitations (e.g., vegetarian or gluten-free) to: nancy-williams@uiowa.edu.
In case you missed it:  The Kinnick Stadium North End Zone Tour was filled with interested and curious UIRA members. Attendees had lunch in the Ted Pacha Family Club, which affords a magnificent view of Kinnick Stadium.  Andy Piro and Kevin Collins gave a bit of Kinnick Stadium history and information about the newly completed North End Zone seating.  After lunch and remarks, visitors walked around the Family Club and descended to the street-level, open air main concourse level.

     Prof. Lorraine Dorfman (Social Work) will present a Emeritus Faculty Council lecture on What Happens When We Retire? Professors in Retirement, on Thursday, October 17, at 4 p.m., in 101 Biology Building East.  Arrive early to enjoy refreshments and conversation.

     If you have visited Kent Park, you know what a gem it is.  If you haven’t visited lately, or have never visited Kent Park, then don’t miss this discussion and tour of recent developments at the park geared toward soil and water management and lake restoration.  Larry Gullett, Executive Director of the Johnson County Conservation Dept, and Brad Freidhof, Conservation Program Manager, will lead a discussion and hayrack tour of the park, highlighting lake restoration, fish habitat enhancement, and biocell installations.
The program is on Tuesday, September 10 and will begin with introductions at 10 am, followed by a hayrack tour through the points of interest.  The guided program will conclude by noon.  The Bob White shelter is reserved for those who wish to bring a sack lunch and visit after the tour concludes.  Coolers will be available for storing sack lunches and beverages until lunch. If you plan to stay for lunch (the view down to the lake is beautiful from the shelter), please provide your own table service.
In order to plan for space on the hay racks, we need to have a count of those planning to attend. If you plan to attend this program please reply to  samcia1232@gmail.com and indicate the number of persons who will be attending.  An RSVP will also allow us to contact you in case the program must be canceled due to inclement weather.
Kent Park is located 8.5 miles west of the Coral Ridge Mall on Highway 6.  To get to Kent Park, follow Highway 6 (Coralville Strip) west from the Mall, through Tiffin, and continue west on Highway 6 to the park.  Directions and park maps are also available on the park website https://www.johnson-county.com/dept_conservation.aspx?id=4055  A park entrance sign is immediately before the park entrance.  The program will begin at the Bob White shelter.  To get to the shelter, enter the main park entrance and proceed on the main park road past the main office.  Take the first right turn and proceed to the shelter site (Bob White Shelter will be noted on the signage).  There is ample parking at the shelter as well as pit toilets.  Be sure to bring a water bottle, sunscreen, and insect repellent.  We hope to see you there.
In case you missed it:  On September 10, 2019, more than 50 UIRA members attended the Kent Park Lake Restoration tour.  In spite of
potential rain, a full crowd gathered at the Bob White picnic area overlooking the lake and about 20 members stayed to socialize and enjoy their sack lunches at the conclusion of the tour.  Johnson County Conservation Executive Director Larry Gullet and Conservation Project Manager Brad Freidhof led the tour, which included a trip around the lake via hay racks fitted with seats.  The program began at the Bob White shelter with a discussion of the history and issues of soil and water quality leading to the need to drain and dredge the lake.  This effort entailed a five-year process of documenting the source and amount of pollution entering the lake, and highlighted the continuing importance of documenting changes in water quality.  Although the primary purpose of this extensive restoration project was to improve the water quality of the lake, several additional projects were included to improve fish habitat and recreational access for visitors.  Several projects within the park were designed to stabilize the ground and reduce runoff, including tree thinning to encourage the growth of vegetation and the addition of prairie areas near the lake.  From the shelter, the group traveled via hay racks to the boat ramp, where we enjoyed the native plants in the bioswales that were added to hold and treat runoff from the road system and parking area.  We also visited the handicapped fishing platform, and viewed the fish habitat reefs recently planted with hundreds of aquatic plants.  The tour continued on hay racks along the perimeter park road to view some of the nine new and rehabilitated catch basins and the new observation deck on  the outlet structure at the dam.  If you are interested in more information about conservation efforts in Johnson County, electronic quarterly newsletters are a good source of information.  When you sign up at this county website, you will be notified when new newsletters are published.


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