Monterey Peninsula

Volume 71 Issue 3

Monterey County Branch

Jan./Feb. 2024


Calendar of Coming Events

Wed., Jan. 3 - Hike, Mission Trailhead to Scenic Drive.

Thurs., Jan. 11 - Romancing the Coast tours John Cerney Studio, Salinas.

Wed., Jan. 17 - Hike, Pacific Grove Ghost Rails.

Sat., Jan. 20, 2:00 - 4:00 pm - January Branch Meeting. Monterey Center for Spiritual Living, 500 W. Franklin Street, Monterey. Speaker: Nicola Reilly, President & CEO of the Monterey Symphony. RSVP by Jan. 17.

Thurs., Jan 25, 2:00-3:30 pm. Great Decisions group begins meeting via Zoom, for eight weekly sessions.

Wed., Feb. 7 - Hike, Pacific Grove Art Walk.

Fri., Feb. 16 - Romancing the Coast tours Western Flyer, Moss Landing.

Wed., Feb. 21 - Hike, Harkins Slough, Watsonville

Sat., Feb. 24, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm - IBC meeting with Santa Cruz County Branch, Seascape Golf Club, 610 Clubhouse Drive, Aptos. Speaker: Holly Martinez, Director, California Commission on the Status of Women & Girls. Registration by Feb. 14; save $5 by registering by Jan. 19.

Fri., March 15 - Romancing the Coast tours Pt. Pinos Lighthouse.

Sat., March 16, 11:30 am - March Branch Meeting. Pebble Beach Community District Boardroom. Potluck luncheon, fundraiser for AAUW Fund.

April 2-3: Lobby Days. Meet with California State Legislators.

Sun., June 9, 2:00 - 4:00 pm - June Branch Meeting. Casa Serrano, 412 Pacific Street, Monterey. Local Scholarship Program Fundraiser.


Date: Saturday, January 20

Time: 2:00 - 4:00 PM

Place: Monterey Center for Spiritual Living, 500 W. Franklin Street, Monterey (Click here for a map.)

The President and CEO of the Monterey Symphony, Nicola Shangrow Reilly, will discuss how the organization survived (and even thrived!) during the Pandemic, the Symphony’s future as it relates to national trends around audience engagement, and her own path to leading the organization. The talk will be followed by a short musical performance from Reilly, who has been playing the violin since age 6, and has performed all around the world.

Nicola began her tenure with the Monterey Symphony in 2016. She previously held positions at the Carmel Bach Festival and CSUMB. A Seattle native, Nicola worked for the Seattle Chamber Music Society, the Women's Medieval Choir, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Nicola holds degrees in Spanish Literature and Music History from The University of Puget Sound and an advanced degree in Arts Administration from The University of Washington. She completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders in 2019. She serves as President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) – Monterey Bay Chapter and teaches Arts Administration at CSUMB. A classically trained violinist, she performs throughout the Peninsula. She is the mother of two sons.

Dessert will be served. Therefore, please RSVP to Shelley by January 17 at [email protected] or (831) 594-5559.

Deborah Stern and Shelley Kroopf, Programs

February Meeting with Santa Cruz County Branch

Annual Inter-Branch Council (IBC) Luncheon Meeting

Date: Saturday, February 24

Time: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM 

(Registration starts at 11:00 AM followed by lunch and speaker presentation)

Location:  Seascape Golf Club Banquet/Monarch Room, 610 Clubhouse Drive, Aptos 95003 (Click here for a map.)

Speaker: Holly Martinez, Executive Director, California Commission on the Status of Women & Girls.

Open to members, their invited guests, potential members, and general public.



·        $35 for members (early bird rate)

·        $40 for non-members

·        $40 for registrations postmarked after January 19

DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION IS FEBRUARY 14. All registrations must be pre-paid and are non-refundable. You may pay by one of two ways:


1.   By check payable to AAUW-Monterey Peninsula Branch. Complete the printable registration form here. Mail a check and the form to P.O. Box 1786, Monterey, CA 93942. Questions? Joanne Webster, [email protected].


2.   You may register and pay with a credit card by using Eventbrite by clicking here:

A nominal fee will be added to the cost of registration for using Eventbrite.

For questions re Eventbrite, contact Mary Ripma, [email protected].


We were extremely fortunate to hear from three experts in the field of homeless services at our Branch meeting on November 4. This is one of a number of meetings on homelessness that the Branch has held over the past several years. The challenge of providing services to the homeless population in the County is ever present. A primary take away is that there is just not enough affordable housing for families and individuals working at low wage jobs. The people at risk live in our community, are enrolled in school, and provide the labor for our businesses. We also learned that it’s much less expensive to prevent homelessness than to move people back into a home once they’ve lost their housing.

County statistics show that:

·        83% of the homeless were residents at the time of becoming homeless.

·        64% of the homeless has lived in the County for 10 years or more.

·        97% of families are in some form of housing.

·        51% of veterans are homeless.

·        64% are white.

Jocelyn Curran, Director of Downtown Streets, Salinas, a nonprofit that provides case management and employment opportunities for the homeless; Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Project Manager for MidPen’s Madison Street Affordable Housing Project in downtown Monterey; and Genevieve Lucas-Conwell, former Executive Director of the Coalition for Homeless Service Providers (CHSP) in Monterey County gave us valuable insight into the work going on at present to serve this population and future funding needs.


We had another wonderful Holiday Party at the home of Pat Fletcher in December. Thanks to Pat for opening her home to us. It was a great opportunity to share good cheer with friends and feel the spirit of the Holiday Season. Thanks to our members, we again collected books to give to Community Partnership for Youth.

See you at upcoming meetings and events. Bring a friend or two! We succeed because of you.

Fatima Dias and Joanne Webster, Co-Presidents

In November, a panel of speakers told us about homeless services. Left to right, they are Jocelyn Curran, Genevieve Lucas-Conwell and Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Co-president Fatima Dias leads the discussion.

Some of the holiday party-goers chatted near the dessert table. Many more were scattered around nearby, enjoying the food and socializing in Pat and Peter Fletcher's lovely home.


Did You Lose Something?

Distracted by the joy experienced at the holiday party, some party-goer(s) left behind a tube of lipstick and two serving platters. The owner(s) may contact Pat Fletcher at (408) 373-5800 to arrange the return.


AAUW-CA is pleased to present its second annual Gov Trek program in February/March 2024. This virtual program for high school junior and senior girls is designed to elevate the next generation to pursue careers in public service and elected office. Over the course of seven two-hour sessions, students will engage in interactive and inspiring activities with exposure to women legislators, career options, and the inner workings of a political campaign. In 2023, Nancy Pelosi, Anna Eshoo, Fiona Ma, and other elected officials were guest speakers.

The program will culminate in a group competition. Winners may be eligible for internship opportunities. This is a statewide program and it is free to participate. Please distribute this information to anyone who knows a high school student who might be interested. The registration deadline is January 20. Registration is available at

Videos of the 2023 campaign competition can be found at

Joanne Webster, Co-President



Save the Date: Sunday, June 9, 2-4 pm. June Branch Meeting: Local Scholarship Program Fundraiser. Meet several of our scholarship recipients in the beautiful setting of Casa Serrano, 412 Pacific Street, Monterey.  

Maggie Pedersen & Sandi Berman, Local Scholarships Co-Directors

AAUW 2023 Fund Fellows and Grant Recipients

There is news from the Education and Training Fund. AAUW Fund CA is going virtual and has posted short videos and bios of all the 34 Fellows and Grant recipients for the academic year 2023-24 studying in California. So, you can read and watch at your own convenience whenever you have time and choose what students or subjects interest you most. No more sitting and waiting for Zoom to start, no more forgetting about the event.

I hope that you won’t forget about AAUW Fund in general and how much good your contributions to the different fund branches do, like Economic Security, Leadership, Greatest Needs, and Education. AAUW has awarded over $135 million in fellowships and grants to more than 13,000 scholars and organizations in the USA and 150 countries, one of the largest scholarship programs for women in the world. Listening to the AAUW Fund Fellows and Grant Recipients is fascinating and inspiring. Go look at who and what your AAUW Fund dollars support on the AAUW-CA website:

Then you can get an extended in-person presentation by one of them as the speaker at our Monterey County Branch March meeting. We will hear from Adiba Juya who is pursuing a Masters in International Policy and Development at Middlebury Institute for International Studies in Monterey. Adiba is from Afghanistan where she worked for the Ministry of Finance until the fall to the Taliban in August 2021. She was able to flee Afghanistan and make it to the US. We will hear her story and about her study project at MIIS. By popular demand, we are bringing back the format of our AAUW Fund Potluck Luncheon Fundraiser at the Pebble Beach Community District’s Boardroom on March 16, starting at 11:30 am. Please save the date and wait for more details in the March/April Newsletter.


Gabriele Simbriger-Williams, AAUW Fund Director


Save the Dates - Lobby Days 2024

Lobby Days are April 2-3. We will be meeting with California State Legislators to promote our best efforts to help women and girls reach their goals in society. If anybody wants to be a part of this effort, please email Marilyn Erickson at [email protected].

Marilyn Erickson - Public Policy Director



Great Decisions group will meet virtually every Thursday from 2-3:30 pm, from January 25 to March 14 (eight weeks).  If you are curious about this program and would like to sit in on a meeting, please contact Maggie Pedersen at 713-206-6507 or [email protected]


Morning Books (via Zoom)


Mon., Jan. 15, 10 AM

We will meet on Zoom and choose

our books for the year.

Mon., Feb. 19, 10 AM


Kathy Poulson, Coordinator

Joy of Reading Books


Tues., Jan. 9, 1 PM

The Perfumist of Paris

by Alka Joshi

Host: Judy Nejasmich

Tues., Feb. 13, 1 PM

Lessons in Chemistry

by Bonnie Garmus

Host: Julie Smith

Marilyn Erickson, Coordinator

Evening Books


Tues., Jan. 16, 7 PM

Covenant of Water

by Abraham Verghese

Host: Miriam Lilley

Leader: Noelle Hetz

Tues., Feb. 20, 7 PM

Personal Librarian

by Marie Benedict

Host: Donna Foote

Leader: Lucy Campen

Miriam Lilley, Coordinator

Storytellers Book Club


Thurs., Jan. 25, 2 PM

Why Fish Don't Exist

by Lulu Miller

Host: Eileen Tremain

Thurs., Feb. 22, 2 PM

The Last Rose of Shanghai

by Weina Dai Randel

Host: Mardi Taubert

Arlene Coffman, Coordinator

Banned Books Club

Thurs., Jan. 18, 2 PM

Parable of the Talents

by Octavia Butler

Host: Kenis Dunne

Thurs., Feb. 8, 2 PM

City of Thieves

by David Benioff

Host: Suzette Cavanaugh

Suzette Cavanaugh & Kenis Dunne, Coordinators

Hiking Group

Jan. 3 - Carmel Walk, Mission Trailhead to Scenic Drive - Leader Pat Fletcher

Jan. 17 - Pacific Grove Ghost Rails - Leader Nancy Edwards 

Feb. 7 - Pacific Grove Art Walk - Leader Nancy Soulé

Feb. 21 - Harkins Slough, Watsonville - Leader Fatima Dias 

March 6 - Palo Corona - Leader Sue Henderson

March 20 - Pebble Beach - Leader Debbie Hobbs

April 3 - Calla Lily Valley - Leader Andrea Madsen

April 17 - Toro Park - Leader Karen Hall

Details will be sent out about a week before each hike. Hikes are always subject to change depending on weather and other factors.

Chris Parmentier and Ardith Peck, Coordinators

Romancing the Coast

Thurs., Jan. 11, 10:30 am - Tour and Talk at John Cerney Studio, 543-C Brunken Avenue, Salinas

(Click here for a map.)

John Cerney is a Monterey County-based artist who has been creating larger than life murals throughout Monterey County and across the nation since 1995. A product of Salinas schools, John is a graduate of CSU Long Beach. He is currently featured in a show at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, closing Jan. 14. Check that out, then join us for the tour.

Join Romancing the Coast for a walk thru John's studio. We'll hear how he creates his projects and learn about the evolution of his art. The studio is small so we are limited to 15 attendees. If you want, a carpool will leave from California Pizza Kitchen in Del Monte Center at 9:45 am. Please RSVP to Fatima at (831) 917-4693 or [email protected] by Monday, Jan. 8, if you plan to go. Option for lunch following tour will be available.

John Cerney Murals

Tall Tales

Fri., Feb. 16, 10:00 am - Western Flyer Tour, Moss Landing

(Click here for a map.)

The Western Flyer is a 77-foot wooden boat made famous by expeditions of author John Steinbeck and his biologist friend Ed Ricketts. The purse seiner has been restored and has a new home in the Monterey Bay.  Our tour will be led by Rebecca Mostow, Education Director, and starts at the Western Flyer Foundation office, 10928 Clam Way in Moss Landing. 

Turn off Sandhold Way (look for signs for Woodward Marine Market and Monterey Bay Eco Tours) into a large gravel parking lot. Park there, then meet in front of the office. For those interested, we will have lunch in Moss Landing after the tour. A carpool will leave CPK at 9:15; otherwise see you here. Please RSVP to Fatima by Monday, Feb. 12; the visit is limited to 20 guests. (831) 917-4693 or [email protected]

Note: Western Flyer is tied up at a floating dock. To board the boat, you must walk on an uneven surface that moves a bit, then walk up a few stairs and step across a small gap. There are steep ladders on the boat to get in and out of the fish hold. We recommend you wear comfortable shoes with good grip.

Save the Date: March 15. Tour Pt. Pinos Lighthouse, optional lunch at Pt. Pinos Grill.

Linda Hanger, RTC Coordinator

RTC Visits Trotter Gallery

Our November trip was in Pacific Grove at Trotter Gallery/Museum, a fascinating tour of Art and History of California led by owner Terry Trotter. His collection features large murals by Jo Mora and Mr. Trotter was a fount of knowledge about the artist. Many other California artists are also on display. If you couldn't join us, you can visit on your own; there is no fee.


Ready for a New Adventure?

Have you wondered how to apply for a position on the AAUW Monterey County Branch Board? Maybe you have thought about joining and now the time and opportunity is right.

These board positions begin on July 1, 2024, for a two-year term. Elections for Board officers will take place at our annual meeting in May. All job descriptions are updated to reflect the current aspects of the jobs. These job descriptions are available from the Nominations Committee, Anne Albano.

·        (Co) President

·        (Co) VP, Membership

·        (Co) Secretary

·        Program Director

·        Public Policy/Gov Trek Director

Contact Anne Albano [email protected] or 831-595-5394 for more information.

Directory Updates

If there are errors or changes in your directory listing, please tell us so corrections can be made. - Editor

Online Directory

The password to our protected online directory on our website in the Member Center is on the second page of your blue membership directory. (If you cannot find it, call Julie Smith or Anne Albano.) This is where all of our members' contact information is readily accessible.

Board Meetings

Jan. 4 at 1:00 pm


(2354 Garden Road)

Feb. 1 at 4:00 pm

by Zoom





March/April Messenger

Please email articles for the March/April newsletter to

Caryl Rojas by Feb. 15.

AAUW California News

The annual AAUW Art Contest begins January 8, for photographers and painters. The winning artwork is featured on notecards that are mailed to members and supporters. Contest rules will be updated on AAUW’s Art Contest page with guidelines and deadlines. For now, peruse the gallery of last year’s winners.

Consider running for a position on the AAUW California Board of Directors in 2024. There are six openings: secretary (two-year term 2024-2026), four directors (two-year term 2024-2026), and one director (one-year term 2025-2026). Apply HERE by March 1.


If you paid the full $115 AAUW yearly dues, $69 of that is tax deductible. In addition, any donations to our charitable funds will be tax deductible for a tax year if paid by December 31st of that year and if you itemize deductions. Note that a donation to any of these three areas can also be made in honor or in memory of a friend or family member. More information and a donation form (optional) may be found at this link to our website. If making a donation directly from an IRA as a qualified charitable donation (QCD), consult your tax advisor or for further information.

Tech Trek

Make check payable to "AAUW-CA SPF"

with "Tech Trek, Monterey Peninsula"

in the memo line.

Send to Karen Hall

13 Harryette Drive

Salinas, CA 93905-3319


Make check payable to "AAUW"

with "AAUW Fund"

in the memo line.

Send your check to Gabriele Simbriger-Williams

P.O. Box 1786

Monterey, CA 93942

or donate at, including your member ID for branch credit.

Local Scholarships

Make check payable to "AAUW-MPB Local Scholarships".
Send your check to
Kathy Poulson
1092 Presidio Road
Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Newsletter Schedule

Newsletters are published around the 1st of the months of September, November, January, March and May. There will be short "eblasts", containing reminders or special announcements. If you do not receive a newsletter, please contact me so we can fix it. Please note that newsletter content will relate only to AAUW and branch matters, a policy of AAUW National.

Caryl Rojas, Newsletter Editor