Jump to featured news Jump to other news and events
Purdue signature

PURA News - February 2017

New! PURA 2020 Task Force Proposes By-Law Changes

Health Research Participation Opportunity
Senior Adults Swallow Research Study

Health Research Participation Opportunity: Senior Adults Swallow Research Study
Nominations Needed for Arthur Hansen Award - Due February 1, 2017
Nursing Center for Family Health (NCFH) Offers Wellness Screenings and Swallow Evaluations
Volunteer Opportunity - Purdue Memorial Union Welcome Center Kiosk

Health Insurance News:
Voluntary Preventive Retiree Dental Plan for Retirees Over Age 65: 2017
PURA Benefits Committee Approves a Preventive Dental Plan for 2017
Purdue University Retirees Association Health Insurance Plans
   Renewed for 2017 With Lower or Flat Premiums for Most Members

Insurance Assistance to Official Retirees Under Age 65 Now Available

Don K. Gentry is Nominee for PURA President-Elect
Building Habitat for Native Species Topic of December PURA Luncheon
The Latest "Tech Toys" Featured at November Monthly PURA Meeting
United Way Goal Exceeded
Indiana is 200 Years Old
PURA Tours the Envision Center
Chef Hubert Schmieder Receives Award for Lifetime Achievement

Mark your Calendars!  Upcoming Events

6 February PURA Monthly Meeting, MCL Cafeteria, 11:00 AM
    Topic:  State of the West Lafayette School System
    Speaker:  Rocky Killion, Superintendent, W.L. Community School Corporation

6 March PURA Monthly Meeting, MCL Cafeteria, 11:00 AM
    Topic:  Is Fat a Sixth Sense?
    Speaker:  Rick Mattes, Distinguished Professor, Purdue Department of Nutrition Science

3 April PURA Monthly Meeting, MCL Cafeteria, 11:00 AM
    Topic:  100 Years of Indiana State Parks
    Speaker:  Benjamin Clark, Historic Preservation Officer, Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources

19 April Purposeful Living In Retirement Conference, Beck Agricultural Center, U.S. 52 North

1 May PURA Monthly Meeting, MCL Cafeteria, 11:00 AM
    Topic:  Introduction to Purdue's New Athletic Director
    Speaker: Mike Bobinski, Athletic Director

Health Research Participation Opportunity

Senior Adults Swallow Research Study

Researchers are recruiting adults ages 60-85 with and without swallowing difficulties, to participate in a 6-week exercise study.  Participants will perform the exercises in the comfort of their own homes-only needing to visit the laboratory 3-4 times for evaluations. Participants must be non-smokers, with no history of head or neck surgery.

Those eligible to participate in the study will be given a free cognitive screening, X-ray evaluation of their swallowing, and will be compensated a total of $60.

The study will take place in Lyles-Porter Hall on Harrison Street. Free parking will be offered to all participants in the parking garage adjoining the building. Efforts will be made to schedule sessions at your convenience.

If interested, please contact the Purdue I-EaTLab at 765-496-0207 or swallowinglab@purdue.edu with the words “Recline Exercise” in the subject line. IRB#: 160501777


Needed! Nominations for Arthur Hansen Award

Nominations for the Arthur Hansen Award must come from a PURA member or members.  This award is presented to a Purdue unit that works to foster a strong relationship with its retirees.

There are many ways consistent contact with retirees could qualify for a nomination.  Selected examples include invitations to social activities and/or professional seminars or meetings, inclusion in newsletters, holiday greetings and emails about the unit, an email system for retirees to stay up to date with other retirees and their former work place, special events such as retiree receptions/events or a special social event for retirees, etc.

The award, a joint effort through PURA and the Office of the President, includes a trophy and $2,500 from TIAA and a master plaque identifying recipients in the Purdue Memorial Union. The recipient is recognized at the annual retiree luncheon as well as the PURA Kickoff Luncheon each fall and in PURA and Purdue publications.

Nominations are limited to 1 page and should be submitted to Michele Salla, PURA, Human Resources, 401 S. Grant St., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2024.  The nomination must have the signature(s) of the nominating PURA member(s). Nominations are due February 1, 2017.

Nursing Center for Family Health (NCFH) Offers Wellness Screenings and Swallow Evaluations

A new year is upon us and NCFH will again offer free wellness screenings in the spring for retirees/spouses that did not have one in the fall.  We will also offer a limited number of swallow screenings, as a pilot, on an appointment basis for retirees/spouses that feel they have a swallowing issue.  You may schedule only the swallow screening if you had your wellness screening in the fall.

Spring 2017 dates for these free wellness and swallowing screenings are March 10, March 31, and April 7.  Please call Chris Rearick at 765-496-0308 or email crearick@purdue.edu to schedule.

There is no charge for either of these screenings.  Appointment availability is limited.

Winter Health Tip:  SOCIALIZE!  Due to cold and ice, winter months can lead to isolation.  Isolation can lead to depression.  Reach out to family and friends or call a friend or family member just to “chat”.  If you have no one to chat with, feel free to call NCFH and chat with Chris Rearick, R.N. 765-496-0308.

About the Center for Aging & Community—

Founded at the University of Indianapolis, the Center for Aging & Community is one of Indiana’s leading gerontology centers, helping businesses and community organizations to engage older adults effectively in the key focus areas of Aging in Place and Meaningful Work for Older Adults.  Find more information at http://www.uindy.edu/cac.

Volunter Opportunity - Purdue Memorial Union Welcome Center Kiosk

Join our team of information specialists at the Purdue Memorial Union Welcome Center Kiosk. Love Purdue? Love to Talk? Work 4 hour shifts—once a month, once a week, or be a Sub.

If interested, contact Cindy MacDonald at the Welcome Center, 765-494-9017/cmacdona@purdue.edu

Top of page

Health Insurance News:

PURA Benefits Committee Approves a Preventive Dental Plan for 2017

The PURA Benefits Committee has approved a new optional dental plan for 2017-18.  PURA members over age 65 (Medicare eligible) who are current members of one of the PURA retiree group health plans will have the opportunity to enroll in a preventive dental plan beginning with the 2017 calendar year. THIS IS AN OPTIONAL PLAN!  A member may choose to enroll in the dental plan without impacting their membership in one of the health insurance plans.

Anthem was selected for the carrier of this new product offered to PURA members. The plan will be a preventive-only dental plan covering oral exams and teeth cleaning twice per calendar year; bitewing X-rays once per calendar year; a full mouth X-ray once every five years; and once a year brush biopsy to detect oral cancer. A third cleaning will be covered for members with diabetes, certain heart conditions, and transplant and oncology patients.

Anthem’s plan covers members in all states of the US.  The plan is a contract for two years with monthly premiums of $14.51 for an individual or $29.02 for two members in a household.  An additional monthly administrative fee will be billed per household/contract of $2.25 when paying by automatic electronic bank payment from your checking or savings account or a $2.75 per for those paying by check. Credit cards will not be accepted for premium payment. The AmWins Company will handle the billing and premium collections for this plan.

Covered claims will be paid at 100% for in-network services at a pre-negotiated rate and 100% for out-of-network at a customary rate. Members using out-of-network dentists may be billed by their provider for amounts over the customary reimbursement rate.

Enrollment materials will be mailed to members later this fall and the information will be placed on the Purdue Retirees Association web page soon.  In-Network Dentist listings will also be available from Anthem with the enrollment information.

This is an optional program developed to meet the needs of some of our PURA members.

Purdue University Retirees Association Health Insurance Plans Renewed for 2017 With Lower or Flat Premiums For Most Members

The Benefits Committee of the Purdue University Retirees Association (PURA) has renewed the PURcare and Medicare Advantage PPO group health insurance plans with United Healthcare (UHC) for 2017 with a small reduction in premium for most PURcare members and no premium increase for Medicare Advantage members.

No changes were made to either plan for 2017.  The goals of the committee were to maintain the very best medical and drug insurance plans with the lowest premiums possible, while maintaining your ability to manage your health care with your Medicare doctor.

PURcare, the Purdue sponsored Senior Supplement plan and Part D Prescription Drug Plan, will continue for 2017 with the same medical/drug and vision benefits as 2016. The total premium will be $263.85 per member per month, a small reduction in the premium from 2016.

PURcare members with Rx coverage from the Veterans Administration - for 2017 the Supplement-only premium will be $193.70/member/month, a slight increase.

The premium for the Medicare Advantage PPO Plan for 2017 will be the same as for 2015 and 2016 at $208.49/member/month.  There will be no change to Hospital/Medical co-pays or Annual Out-of-Pocket Maximum.

The PURA Benefits Committee worked with representatives of UnitedHealthcare, Aon Hewitt Consultants and the staff of Purdue Human Resources over the past year reviewing data and studying various aspects of the health care industry to determine the best plans for all.

Members should be advised that the future introduction of many specialty drugs, some costing thousands of dollars per month, and the ever escalating health care costs will make holding the line on premiums very difficult for future years.  The Benefits Committee is working on educational materials that will help members understand what to expect in the future and to continue to manage their health care in the most cost effective manner possible. Follow the PURA Newsletters, PURA Web page and look for a scheduled workshop for the latest information.

Members enrolled in either of the retiree group plans who do not want to make a change: your coverage will automatically continue for 2017 – no re-enrollment.

If you decide to terminate your Purdue Retiree group coverage for a non-Purdue plan, you will not be able to join again at a later time.

Purdue Human Resources Support Continues:
PURA members continue to receive outstanding support from Purdue Human Resources. Our plans support some of the cost of this staff. Please phone or contact Kate LaMar with questions at klamar@purdue.edu or 765-494-1694 for assistance.

PURA Benefits Committee:
Don Gentry, Chair; Melinda Bain, PURA President; Robert Bain; John Beelke; Charles Brown; Linda Duttlinger; Fred Ford; Solomon Gartenhaus; Sue Hiser; Harry Morrison; Betty Nelson; Larry Pherson; Sandy Singer; Cliff Swensen; Leon Thacker; Roberta Thomas; Oliva Wood; John Trott, President Elect of PURA.  Human Resources Staff: Kate LaMar; Eva Nodine; Michele Salla and Teresa Wesner.

Insurance Assistance to Official Retirees Under Age 65 Now Available

October – and open medical insurance enrollment – are just around the corner.  With that in mind, now is a good time to start thinking about your insurance needs and choices for the upcoming year.

Purdue University, in partnership with the Purdue University Retirees Association and the Henriott Group, Inc., has arranged assistance for official Purdue retirees under the age of 65 and not yet eligible for Medicare, to help you understand your health insurance options in retirement.

The Health Insurance Marketplace (also known as the Exchange), created as part of the Affordable Care Act, offers health insurance options to ensure everyone in the United States has access to affordable health care.

It is likely that some number of Purdue retirees would be eligible for a premium tax credit (also known as a subsidy) to assist with the cost of healthcare through the Marketplace.  There are several plans available and it can be difficult to find a well-matched plan. That’s where Henriott comes in.  They are knowledgeable and experienced in helping you shop for a plan that best suits your needs.

During Purdue’s annual open enrollment period (beginning in late October) the Henriott Group will be ready to assist you as a Purdue retiree to review coverage options for you and your covered dependents who are not yet eligible for Medicare.

Purdue University and PURA are pleased to be able to offer this assistance, and we encourage you to review your options for 2017.

More specific information will be shared in the upcoming months via PURA News.  In addition, retirees under the age of 65 currently enrolled in a Purdue medical plan will receive information directly from Purdue University in their annual open enrollment brochure.

Top of page


Don K. Gentry is Nominee for PURA President-Elect

Don Gentry

After careful consideration of candidates, the PURA Nominating Committee recommends Don K. Gentry for the 2017-18 PURA ballot for the position of President-elect of PURA.  The PURA Executive Board approved the ballot selection at the December, 2016 board meeting.

Gentry retired after twenty-six years of service as a faculty member and administrator for Purdue University in 2009.  He was the first director of the Purdue Statewide Technology Program, professor of Industrial Technology, and Assistant and Associate Dean of the College of Technology.  In 1987, he was appointed Dean of the College of Technology serving 14 years. He was the organizing Vice Provost for the Office of Engagement to provide leadership for the university’s outreach and engagement functions.  He also served as Special Assistant to the Provost prior to his retirement, completing a career of 47 years.

Since retirement he has become a volunteer and involved grandfather.  He served as the inaugural Chair of the Board of Directors for the Greater Lafayette Commerce, as a member of the Leadership Team for Greater Lafayette Read to Succeed program, is an elder in the Faith Presbyterian Church, and an active member of the Lafayette Rotary Club.  He is completing his seventh year as chair of the Purdue Retirees Association Benefits Committee and as a member of the PURA Executive Board.  In 2014 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Technology from Purdue and was honored by PURA with their Betty Nelson Outstanding Service Award.  He is enjoying traveling with his wife and following activities of seven grandchildren.

The ballot will also be announced at the February business meeting.  Additional nominees can be added at the March business meeting with their prior approval.  The vote of the membership will occur at the April meeting.  New officers begin their duties after the annual PURA Transition Meeting in late spring.

Building Habitat for Native Species Topic of December PURA Luncheon

Patty Jischke

Patty Jischke, retired Purdue first lady, is involved in many community activities in the Greater Lafayette area – currently co-chairing four Purdue Women’s Club interest groups, leading her P.E.O. Chapter, and maintaining an 11-acre farm.  Her many interests center on gardening, reading, successful child development, community development, bird and nature study, family history, Purdue athletics and her three young grandchildren. 

On December 5, she spoke to a full-house at the PURA monthly business and luncheon meeting at MCL.  Her discussion focused on the reduced numbers of songbirds, butterflies, and insects due to diminishing natural habitats.  Since 2008 she has created an oasis for birds and other wildlife on her farm by planting nearly 3,000 native trees and shrubs. Jischke encouraged everyone to stop planting non-native plants which often do not provide nourishment for native species and choke out “good plants.” 

Using plants that support songbirds, hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and other insects in your home gardens will help increase natural habitats.  She suggested when adding plants to existing gardens that you search by zip code for good native plants at:  www.audubon.org/native-plants

The Latest "Tech Toys" Featured At November Monthly PURA Meeting

Scott Kisander

At the November 7 PURA business meeting, Scott Ksander, retired ITaP Executive Director of IT Network and Security, gave a presentation and demonstration on Internet connected “tech toys for all ages” and home security devices.  He noted early in the program that an up-to-date router (less than three years old) is essential. 

Ksander illustrated the uses of Amazon Echo Dot, voice technology using Alexa, which will answer questions such as “what is the weather?”, or give commands to utilize other technical devices such as Nest, a thermostat, or August, a door lock.  Using your smart phone or Alexa you can change the temperature in your home or lock the door with a voice command from a distant location. He also introduced the audience to an array of lightbulbs that can be programed by a good router, smartphone or Dot.

He discussed becoming unplugged from TV cable by using the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Apple TV, both with voice control.  Both will give you additional programming without a monthly fee.

Ksander shared information on the following toys:  Barbie Hello Dreamhouse, CHiP (a robotic dog), Sphero BB-8 (update of robot R2D2, from the movie Star Wars), Lumi (indoor quadcopter), Air Hogs Helix Sentinel Drone, Code Gamer (learn to write code), and Kano (kit to make a computer)

If you want more information on any of the devices or toys, Google the words in bold to learn more about the connected world.

United Way Campaign Goal Exceeded

Congratulations!!!!  PURA has again exceeded its goal of $120,000 for the Greater Lafayette United Way Campaign by raising $121,540.  This is the sixth year that PURA has topped the $100,000 mark. Not only do Purdue retirees provide financial support to United Way, they volunteer their time and expertise to many of its programs and agencies – Read to Succeed, Food Finders, and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, to name a few.

Thank you, Purdue retirees, for your continued and generous support of United Way.

Top of page

Indiana Is 200 Years Old

Bicentennial logo

After a year-long celebration, Indiana officially turned 200 on December 11, 2016, celebrated at an interfaith service held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds’ Indiana Farmers Coliseum.  The planners hope the Indiana Bicentennial events will inspire the next generation of Hoosiers to “Ignite the Future.”

A large map of Tippecanoe County, drawn by Lou Camilotto’s group, has been placed in the Tippecanoe County Historical Association.  If you are interested in studying or observing this map further, it is possible to check it out.

The Indiana Bicentennial website contains the Visioning Report which can be an enjoyable piece of information.

PURA Tours The Envision Center

Approximately 50 PURA members attended the tour of Purdue’s Envision Center on Oct. 27, 2016, and experienced a “touch” of virtual reality. 

This is a fascinating place that operates in four areas:  virtual simulation, human-computer interaction, data visualization, and analysis and media creation.  They blend technology and art into a display of graphics that communicates complex ideas more effectively, simplifies understanding, and creates a springboard for new insights for research or the classroom.

The Center helps with faculty research and teaching designs by graphically representing data and information through techniques such as scientific visualization, animation, motion capture, and immersive 3-D virtual environments.

The moderator informed the group that possibly one could experience dizziness, headache or disorientation from the movements he would be showing us; but everyone watched the demonstration without any ill effects.

Dick Nelson

Dick Nelson views a virtual reality.

Envision Center

From left to right: Bob Bain (back to camera), Chip Goldsberry,
and Bill Bennett with the Envision Center host

Chef Hubert Schmieder Receives Award for Lifetime Achievement

Purdue retiree Hubert Schmieder was recently honored with the President Special Award from the World Association of Chefs Societies, “in recognition of lifetime contribution to the culinary profession.”

Hubert Schmieder with other chefs

He is very proud of this and his numerous medals from organizations located in Germany, Canada, the United States, and elsewhere.  One of these medals is the Golden Toque (Chef’s Hat) which is limited to 100 members.  A chef may not simply join this group, the individual must be sponsored and voted into the organization.  Only when someone dies is another chef nominated for this very prestigious organization.

Hubert Schmieder with award

Schmieder was the first chef at Purdue University, joining Purdue in 1987 as a Chief Instructor at Stone Hall.  He began working at Westwood when Steven Beering was President of Purdue. 

At that time, Westwood’s kitchen consisted of a four-burner stove and a regular refrigerator.  Schmieder worked with Jane Beering to promote hospitality events.  They began preparing for small groups and eventually increased the events—and the size of the kitchen--to accommodate larger private groups and sit-down dinners. 

Hubert Schmieder with students

Above, Schmieder (left) and assistants at an event honoring eight astronauts who visited Purdue.  The astronauts had taken some eggs into space to perform various experiments, so Chef Schmieder prepared deviled eggs that he called space chicks, or “little peeps,” (center).  And, since in folklore the moon is reputed to be made of cheese, to the right and left in the photo are “moon rocks” —i.e., cheese balls.

Top of page