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Open Enrollment in October
Endowed Retiree Health Open Enrollment Dates:
Monday, October 19 through Friday, November 6th

In mid-October, Endowed Retirees on Aetna retiree health plans will receive a purple Open Enrollment (OE) Guide mailed directly from Aetna. Please review your health plan options and any contribution changes effective 1/1/2021.

OE Meetings for Fall 2020: Cornell Benefits and Aetna Representatives will hold virtual presentations on the 2021 benefit plans and answer any questions you might have. The presentations will be available in both a video/Zoom presentation, or via dial-in on your telephone.

Meeting Schedule and Telephone Meeting IDs and Passcodes will be included in your OE Guide. Find additional ZOOM Meeting information here:
Reminder: NO ACTION IS NEEDED if you want to maintain your current health coverage; your 2020 coverage will automatically carry over into 2021.
If you are unable to attend a presentation, Aetna’s dedicated Retiree Service Center is still here for you: 

Contact the Aetna Retiree Service Center
1-800-338-4533 (TTY: 711)
8:00 am to 6:00 pm ET, Monday – Friday
Literary Offerings
Johnson Museum Book Club: A Month in Siena
Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 4:00 pm

Join a free series of book reads that will explore Italy's influence on our imaginations, from art and light to food and wine, led by Museum educator Maryterese Pasquale-Brown and curator Nancy Green.
The first virtual adventure will be A Month in Siena. Libyan writer Hisham Matar was nineteen and studying in London when his father disappeared under Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. As a coping mechanism, Hisham began to visit the National Gallery during his lunch hour, spending time examining a single painting each day. Eventually he encountered the works of the Sienese School of painting from the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries. His memoir reflects upon the extraordinary month he spent exploring the art treasures of Siena. 

Save the dates! Additional Museum Book Club Zooms will be held on October 28 and December 2 at 4:00 pm (books to be announced).
Chats in the Stacks: The Comstocks of Cornell
Thursday, October 1, 2020, 4:30 pm

The original 1953 publication of Anna Botsford Comstock’s autobiography, The Comstocks of Cornell, has long been considered the definitive account of her life and that of her husband, entomologist John Henry Comstock. In fact, that publication was heavily edited --with major omissions and discrepancies from Anna’s original memoirs.
Karen Penders St. Clair has restored Comstock’s voice in her edited The Comstocks of Cornell: The Definitive Autobiography (Cornell University Press, 2020), which includes previously excluded descriptions of Cornell’s early days and Anna and her husband’s life and work.
In this live Chats in the Stacks webinar, St. Clair—who received her doctoral degree from the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell—will discuss the process of editing the book and her painstaking research into Comstock’s papers in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.
Online Book Discussion: Why They Marched
Thursday, October 22, 2020, 6:30 - 7:30 pm
Tompkins County Public Library will host an online book discussion of Why They Marched by Susan Ware. Selected in honor of the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the upcoming 2020 election, Why They Marched explores the stories of nineteen women activists, many of whom have been previously overlooked, who fought tirelessly for the right to vote. Copies of the book will be provided for registered participants. 
Please contact Meghan Molloy at with any questions. 
Community Book Discussion Group: Elderhood

Join Mary Ann Erickson, PhD and Ithaca College Gerontology students in a community book discussion group meeting virtually for 6 weeks to discuss geriatrician Louise Aronson’s Elderhood. In this book, the author urges us to re-examine the meaning of aging and to reframe our later decades to better prepare for and thrive during those years. In vivid and evocative writing, she speaks to doctors and laypeople, the aged and aging, their children and their children’s children—anyone who will be old one day (which in theory, is all of us). 
Ithaca College Aging Studies students will facilitate each discussion group.  New to Zoom but want to join?  Simply fill out the registration form and let us know you would like a student to reach out to you to provide assistance.
Discussion groups will begin meeting the week of October 12th.  

  • Group 1 will meet on Wednesdays from 3:00 - 4:00 pm: October 14, 21, 28 and November 4, 11, 18

  • Group 2 will meet on Thursdays from 7:00 - 8:00 pm: October 15, 22, 29 and November 5, 12, 19
Limited book scholarships available 
Fine Arts Activities
Cornell Concert Series Returns September 30th
The Cornell Concert Series is dedicated to presenting impactful, innovative programming and will be staging performances in a virtual format until they are able to safely reopen. 
Online episodes will feature artists performing and speaking about their music: offering insights into their repertoire, and discussing ways of creating, practicing, and enjoying music in a socially-distanced world. 
The Cornell Concert Series will solicit video and written questions from the Cornell and greater Ithaca communities to be presented to the artists. The episodes will be pre-taped, with submission deadlines advertised as the season progresses. 

Violinist Jennifer Koh, recognized for her intense, commanding performances, kicks off the series on September 30th.
Each episode will premiere on at 7:00pm, where it will remain viewable for 14 days. Episodes will be available for future viewing by logging in to our ticketing site.
Cornell Cinema Offers Virtual Screenings
This fall, through November 19th, Cornell Cinema is presenting FREE virtual screenings of all films. Reservations are required, the number of free views available for distribution is limited. 
Films available to view, October 2 - 8th (click title to make a reservation):

  • Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint (2019): Hilma af Klint was an abstract artist before the term existed, a visionary, trailblazing figure who, inspired by spiritualism, modern science, and the riches of the natural world around her, began in 1906 to reel out a series of huge, colorful, sensual, strange works without precedent in painting. The subject of a recent smash retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, af Klint was for years an all-but-forgotten figure in art historical discourse, before her long-delayed rediscovery. Director Halina Dryschka’s dazzling, course correcting documentary describes not only the life and craft of af Klint, but also the process of her mischaracterization and erasure by both a patriarchal narrative of artistic progress and capitalistic determination of artistic value. In Swedish, English & German with English subtitles.
  • Change of Life (1966): Paulo Rocha’s haunting second feature, Change of Life, tells the beautiful and deeply felt story of a young man, a veteran from the war in Angola, who returns home to his remote fishing village to discover that his former sweetheart is now married to his brother. The film recalls Visconti’s epic La Terra Trema (1948), about Sicilian tuna fishers and has "aesthetic roots both in Italian neorealism and the French New Wave" (New York Times) and features stunning black and white cinematography. 
Three-Part Portrait Drawing Class
Tuesdays, October 6, 13, & 20, 6:00–7:30 pm

A free three-part series of classes, hosted by the Johnson Museum, will be taught by Bill Benson, Cornell Class of 1972, a nationally known portrait and landscape painter. With a focus on capturing a likeness of the head, each session will build on the previous class. Participants will practice three viewpoints—straight on, three-quarter view, and profile—working from photographs. Students will focus on perspective, the alignment of features, and the measurements of the facial features which make us individual. Bill will be working with charcoal but students can use the drawing material they feel most comfortable with or have available.
Registration is required to attend via Zoom. Enrollment is limited; registered students will receive a confirmation email, model images, and instructor materials prior to the first class.
Senior Troupe of Lifelong
Join the Senior Troupe of Lifelong for four weeks of improv and storytelling. Open to all ages, the virtual meetings begin Thursday, October 8, from 2:00-3:00 pm. Gather for fun improv and to read the stories from our lives we create each week. The class meets on Thursdays from October 8th to October 29th. To register, email or call Lifelong at 273-1511 by September 29th.

The cost of the workshop is $20 or pay what you can.
Additional Online Resources
Prepare Your Garden for Next Year
It's not too soon to prepare your garden for next year! Cornell Cooperative Extension offers two classes to get you started on great crops for next spring.

  • Improving your Garden Soil: Tuesday, Sept. 29, 6:30-8:30pm - Learn tips and tools for working in all kinds of soil, including our area's tricky, clay soils. Main topics include: improving your soil fertility, tilth, microbial and fungal diversity, using tools such as sheet mulching, compost and vermi-compost, cover crops, compost teas and juices, biochar, broad forking, double digging, and more. In addition, we'll look at different styles of compost bins and tumblers and chat about the pros and cons of each. Register

  • Winterizing Your Garden: Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 6:30 - 8:30 pm The key to GREAT spring gardening is good fall preparation. Learn how to "put your garden to bed" for the winter: prepare your property and protect your soil from winter cold and spring rains, ensure optimal nutrition and soil tilth for great gardening the rest of the year. Register
Hubble's Greatest Hits: 30 Years Of Images From The Hubble Space Telescope
Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 3:00- 4:00 pm

Martha Haynes, Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy at Cornell, will talk about the Hubble Space Telescope launched into orbit on April 24, 1990. She will review some of the most enigmatic images taken with the Hubble over the last 30 years, explore what their shapes, colors and other clues tell us, and discuss their significance to our understanding of the universe and our place in it.
Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) Offerings

Science in the Virtual Pub is a bi-weekly program where you can grab a drink and engage in some friendly science! Every other Thursday at 7:30 pm PRI will present a speaker followed by rich conversation on an interesting aspect of science. Meetings are held on Zoom and links to join are sent upon registration. More information can be found here.

Fossil Mania (National Fossil Day): PRI will be celebrating National Fossil Day on October 14th with a live virtual event at 6:00 pm. The Museum of the Earth Prep Lab’s manager, Maureen Bickley, will lead participants through an exploration of the interesting fossils currently being prepared in the lab. Her guest, world-renowned Carnegie Museum of Natural History paleontologist Matt Lamanna, will discuss the dinosaur fossils in the lab and the history of each.

The cost for this virtual event is $5 for a general link or free for PRI members.
Online Discussion Series with Ithaca College Gerontology Department
Ithaca College Gerontology Department faculty and guest speakers invite individuals over the age of 60 to join them for an online discussion series entitled “Common Threads: Intergenerational Dialogue Series." Please join us for an opportunity to discuss important topics with Ithaca College students.
Each one-hour session will be held on Zoom with a facilitator and a content expert(s). The full group will meet for 20 minutes and then be broken into smaller intergenerational groups for more in-depth discussion.  
Save the Dates:
  • Mindfulness & Contemplative Practices: Tuesday, September 29, 7:00 - 8:00 pm
  • Media Literacy: Monday, October 5, 7:00 - 8:00 pm
  • Social Isolation: Tuesday, October 20, 7:00 - 8:00 pm
  • Ageism: October 20, 7:00 - 8:00 pm

Visit their website to get more information on this series and other upcoming events.
Caring for Others
Advance Care Planning Webinar Series with Hospicare
Join this webinar series to take a “deep dive” into important aspects of planning for the future and end-of-life. Panelists will include Dr. Lucia Jander and members of Hospicare’s interdisciplinary team as well as experts in financial planning and estates.  

  • Estate and Financial Planning: September 29th, 4:00 - 5:30 pm
  • How to make Tough Decisions and Have the Conversations: October 6th, 4:00 - 5:30 pm

Each session will include a presentation and live Q&A session. Events are free, open to the public, and will be held via Zoom.  For more information, visit their website. Register online or by calling 607-272-0212. Contact Sara Worden with questions.  
Understanding and Responding to Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 2 - 3:30 pm

Behavior is one of the primary ways for people with dementia to communicate their needs and feelings as the ability to use language is lost. However, some behaviors can present real challenges for caregivers to manage. Join us to learn to decode behavioral messages, identify common triggers, and learn strategies to help intervene with some of the most common challenges of Alzheimer’s disease.

Join this free event hosted by the Cortland County Area Agency on Aging’s Caregiver Resource Center. Call 315-472-4201 x227 to register.

* Please note this Program is being held virtually by the Alzheimer's Association, Central New York Chapter. When you register you will be given instruction and sent an email on how to join. 
Cornell Caregiver Support & Education Network
You are warmly invited to attend virtual meetings of the Caregiver Support & Education Network. Caregivers connect monthly to share the challenges and joys of caregiving, exchange resources, and occasionally listen to speakers on topics of interest to caregivers.

Our caregiving meetings, workshops and webinars are made available through Zoom so you can join us from the privacy of your own office or home. Registration is required. Email and a Zoom link will be sent prior to the meeting. 

The next meeting will take place on Thursday, October 22nd.
Opportunities to Support Our Community
Cancer Resource Center 1st Annual Soup-er Supper Fundraiser
Join the Cancer Resource Center for their first Soup-er Supper fundraiser on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 (orders due by Oct 20th). Pickup or delivery (within city limits, $5 delivery fee) available between 10:00 am-6:00 pm.

$30 includes:
  • 1 quart of soup
  • Bread from Wide Awake Bakery
  • 1 raffle ticket (see prize description below)

Soup Choices:
  • Chili (meat)
  • Black Bean (vegan)
  • Corn Chowder (vegetarian)
  • Ragmann’s Broccoli Cheddar (vegetarian)

You can also purchase soup to be donated to Loaves and Fishes.

Raffle (drawing Friday, October 30th):
With every quart of soup you purchase, you will automatically be entered into a raffle for a Stand-up Paddleboard generously donated by Puddledockers ($800 value). You can buy additional raffle tickets for $5/each. You can also JUST purchase raffle tickets. 

Once you have placed your soup and/or raffle ticket order, you will receive a confirmation email. If you have any questions, email, or call 607-277-0960. 
Mentor a Student Veteran
The Student Veteran Advisor & Program Manager is looking for retired staff who are veterans or veterans’ advocates to volunteer as mentors for current Cornell student veterans enrolled in the Veterans' Seminar.

For more information about the mentorship program or to volunteer to serve as a mentor, contact Mary Fisk at  
Dairy Industry Perceptions Survey
Fill out this 15 minute survey online and enter into drawing for one of five Cornell-branded merchandise prizes worth $20 each. This study is designed to evaluate consumer perceptions of Dairy farmers and processors and is being led by the Sensory Evaluation Center (Manager: Alina Stelick) Food Science Department at Cornell University.

Drawing to be held on December 4, 2020. The winner will be notified on Monday, December 7th.
Miscellaneous Articles
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