Spring/Summer 2016

Tuara Newsletter

Our friend, colleague, and dedicated TUARA member, Dr. Dennis Charles James passed away Saturday, May 21, 2016, at Hospice of West Alabama after a long battle with lung cancer. When TUARA was in its formative stage, Dennis saw a need for a newsletter to record progress, document history, and communicate with members. He took this task upon himself. From its first edition to his final one, Winter 2015, Volume 12 Number 2, Dennis organized and guided each submission, read and edited each article, and steered the project to completion with love, care, and most importantly, with the God-given expertise of a talented writer and editor.

dennisPast President Sharon Shelton remembers Dennis with the following words:
It seems really strange to be writing an article about Dennis James since his role as the editor with TUARA news was to write about others. From the early years he was willing to take on the task of putting together our newsletter. He did so with tact and tenacity, always attending to deadlines for inclusion of pertinent information. At the same time, he would give a timely reminder of what was needed as well as the ways that we could continue to improve our communication with our membership. Dennis was the type of volunteer that organizations cannot do without if they are to grow and thrive. His wit and contributions will be sorely missed by all of us who were fortunate enough to work with him.



The Board of Directors requested that the membership approve the following changes to the TUARA BYLAWS. TUARA has not increased dues since its founding in 2003 while the cost of operations and events continue to rise. In order to keep up with increasing costs the TUARA Board proposed an increase of $5.00 to dues for all categories of membership from $20 per year to $25 per year.
Additionally, the Board of Directors requested to clarify in the Bylaws ARTICLE V. Membership Dues and Databases that the fiscal year will be January 1 – December 31. This clarification will aid the Treasurer in preparing and monitoring the TUARA budget.

Approved Revision to the BYLAWS:

ARTICLE V. Membership Dues and Databases
Section 1.

The amount of annual dues shall be based on the following categories of membership:
a) UA Retiree………………………………………..$25.00
b) UA Retiree and UA Retired Spouse…..$25.00
c) UA Retiree and Spouse……………………..$25.00
d) Surviving spouse of UA Retiree…………$25.00
e) *Prospective UA Retiree……………………$25.00
f) *Prospective UA Retiree and Spouse…$25.00
*within 5 years of retirement

Section 2. Dues Period and Time of Payment
Dues are payable between January 1 and March 1. Persons joining after March 1 shall pay the full amount for the fiscal year, January 1-December 31.



Education retirees, including TUARA members, had a double whammy this Spring. We were left out of a pay increase of any kind and our paycheck was reduced because of the action of the TRS/PEEHIP Board. Your first opportunity to find out the details from the source will be at the AERA District 3 Meeting to be held Tuesday, August 16, at Northport Civic Center. Registration begins at 9 a.m.; the meeting convenes at 9:30 a.m. and will conclude around noon. AERA Executive Director Janice Charlesworth and AERA President Joe Ward will be there. Representatives from PEEHIP and UnitedHealthcare® Group Medicare Advantage (PPO), will be available and on the program to share valuable insurance and prescription information.
Prior to the meeting, PEEHIP sponsored Free Wellness Screenings will be offered. Bring your PEEHIP or Southland cards offered by the TRS with you. These screenings will help identify health issues before they become health problems. If a nurse finds a potential problem, the retiree will receive a voucher to cover out-of-pocket expenses to see a doctor immediately.

Everyone in attendance will receive a 2016-2017 PEEHIP Booklet. Note that all retirees should have received a PEEHIP Open Enrollment Packet via mail in June. The PEEHIP Open Enrollment Period is July and August. The deadline for making changes is August 31, 2016. Changes will become effective on October 1, 2016. If you are not making any changes to your health insurance or optional coverage plans, NO response is required. Changes can also be made at Member Online Services. RSA’s online enrollment system is accessible at https://mso.rsa-al.gov/. the deadline for online changes is September 10.

area reports




If you have not taken a tour of the National Water Center (NWC), do so NOW! Every nook and corner of this spacious, modern building presents a new and innovative backdrop for the futuristic operation of this facility. On Thursday, May 26th, twenty-six TUARA members were amazed and impressed with the facility and mission of this new addition to the University of Alabama campus. While there will eventually be about 200 employees working at the NWC, it is now in the build-up phase for the agencies that will be housed within the facility. With few personnel, it was easy to see the spaciousness of the layout and observe the creative concepts utilized in building, furnishing and decorating. Keeping with NOAA’s strong environmental mission, the building itself meets LEED gold certification through the U.S. Green Building Council. The design is geared to accommodate an open, free flowing style of management that is utilized in companies such as Google and Microsoft. Most of the furnishings are multifunctional, ergonomic, and very comfortable. There are no pods or offices. There are large and small meeting spaces to encourage a collaborative work environment.

We gathered in the large, comfortable amphitheater style auditorium for an introductory presentation. We learned that this first-of-its-kind facility is designed to house hydrological forecasting operations and research under one roof. The NWC will serve as a channel to assimilate and influence the potentials of federal water partners to expand and improve river and flood forecasting, improve water resource management, hasten the transition of research-to-operations, create a Common Operating Picture among federal water agencies, and provide a single portal for water resources information. It is expected that The University of Alabama will develop a collaborative partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).

The electronic, engineering technology throughout the building is state-of-the art. There are world-wide and satellite connections available on multiple screens, big and small, on a constant basis. There is a control center configuration available for weather disaster situations. It is anticipated that the new, improved availability of data could also help in forecasting droughts such as the one currently gripping the West Coast.

With star-struck eyes, and pride that UA has garnered such a prestigious facility, the tour group of TUARA members moved to Manderson Landing to enjoy an outdoor picnic beside the Black Warrior River.


pic nwc


A southern knight

The title “Knight” typically conjures up the image of a heavily armored warrior on a white horse. Today’s Knight neither wears heavy armor nor rides a white horse. Today’s Knight is a select person who is distinguished in some way—letters, academia, business, military, science, etc. Our Southern Knight is Dr. Lawrence A. Clayton, Professor Emeritus of History. Dr. Clayton, TUARA member, colleague, and friend, was “knighted” along with 35 other distinguished gentlemen into the Imperial Order of Carlos V. The Order was created within the Spanish Heraldry Society in order to properly commemorate the fifth centenary of the discovery of America.

In addition to the awesome honor, the process of being knighted is in itself a unique and prideful experience. Dr. Clayton’s knighting ceremony took place at the imposing fortress, Alcazar de Segovia, in Spain. At seven p.m. on the evening of November 14th, 2015, members of the Imperial Order and future gentlemen, dressed in tails and wearing glittering decorations, gathered at the gate of the Alcazar. The group crossed the drawbridge and passed into the castle, reaching the Hall of the Kings, where the Master of Ceremonies of the Order explained the ritual. At the knighting ceremony, each new member of the Order was accompanied by a gentleman of a higher grade of the Order who were designated as a sponsor. Kneeling at a pew, each new member pronounced the oath of the knights as he stood before the Grand Master, His Royal Highness Prince Don Enrique de Bourbon, the Master of Ceremonies, and a Chaplain of the Military Order. Each gentleman responded to the question, “Why have you come here?” with the answer “I request admission to the Imperial Order of Carlos V.” The Oath of the Order, a pledge to live by the principles of the Order was affirmed. “Do not fear your enemies, be brave and upright that God loves you. Always tell the truth even if it leads to death. Protect the helpless and do no evil: this is your oath …” After the oath, the Grand Master raised his ceremonial sword to invest the new knight in a ritual from medieval times. The sword was first laid on one shoulder, then the other, in the name of Santa Barbara, and the Lord our God and the Emperor Carlos V. Then the new Knight rose, shook hands, and received a warm embrace into the Order. Dr. Lawrence A. Clayton is now known as a Knight Commander of the Hispanic Imperial Order of Carlos V.

The exciting and memorable evening did not end with the ceremony. Festivities moved from the Alcázar to the Hotel Candido where a splendid Gala Dinner took place. Following custom, there was the obligatory inclusion of roasted suckling pig. The evening was filled with many speeches and numerous toasts to commemorate the honorees.
Each year the sword ceremony for new knights being inducted into the Hispanic Imperial Order of Carlos V, (IOHCV) is celebrated to reward the achievements of those who have distinguished themselves in their lifetimes and careers, in promoting the Hispanic heritage and the work of understanding and advancing the peoples of the Hispanic community of nations. Today, the Order has knights and ladies in Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Italy, Estonia, Slovakia, Russia, Holland, Sweden, England, USA, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Argentina and Venezuela. By this award, the Order also remembers the life of the Emperor Charles V, the king who laid the foundations of the modern Hispanic world of empire and culture.

Dr. Clayton was recognized for his lifework in academia and his many accomplishments. Dr. Clayton was head of the Department of History at the University of Alabama for many years, Director of History Graduate Programs, and also director of the Latin American Studies Program. Dr. Clayton is regarded as a renowned Spanish-American scholar. He has participated in numerous Congresses of Americanists across the Americas and Europe and is the author of several history books such as the chronicles of Hernando de Soto, the Adelantado of Florida, and others on the Viceroyalty of Peru as well as books on other areas of Latin American studies like relations between the United States and Latin America. Dr. Clayton has also participated in conferences of Church history with special focus on Father Bartolomé de las Casas and the evangelization of the New World. He is a Corresponding Member of the Royal Hispanic Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, a Corresponding Member of the Historical Research Center of Guayaquil, Ecuador, and a member of the American Historical Association of the United States and the Association of Historians of the state of Alabama.

TUARA and the UA community congratulate Dr. Clayton on his achievement. We address him as Sir Clayton with pride.

dr. clayton


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