Branch News

(See more news: NLAPW National Level News and Pen Women in the News.)

The Annual Pikes Peak Pen Women Flash Fiction Contest Invitational


The Pikes Peak Colorado Branch
of the National League of American Pen Women
announces its
Annual Pikes Peak Pen Women Flash Fiction Contest

January 15-April 30, 2017


We challenge writers to start 2017 by writing a complete short story using no more than one hundred words. Entries MUST be narrative in form and pertain to this year’s theme:

Life Interrupted

This contest is open to everyone. You do not need to be a Colorado resident nor an NLAPW member to submit. Men and teens are welcome.

All genres are encouraged, but no poetry. Multiple submissions are acceptable.


First Place–$125
Second Place–$75
Third Place–$50

Go here for complete contest information: Pikes Peak Pen Women 2017 Flash Fiction Contest


Special recognition among the Yucca Branch Pen Women

On Friday December 16, 2016 Yucca Branch presented a Letters Certificate to member Polly Dagas.

In the fall 2016 issue of The Pen Woman magazine Polly was recognized as the first Pen Woman to be honored in a 120th Anniversary series of articles titled Legends and Legacies.

National President Virginia Campbell sponsored Polly for the category of active letters to stand beside her long ago awarded certificate in art. To Polly’s delight and surprise, that request was fulfilled at the Yucca Branch December meeting.

Also on Friday, December 16, 2016 Jeannie Gibson of Los Alamos, New Mexico was awarded her Art Certificate and welcomed into Albuquerque’s Yucca Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, Inc.

Left to right: Esther Vigil, Yucca Membership Chair; Fran Krukar, Yucca President; Jeannie Gibson new member; Jane Maclean, NLAPW 5th Vice President and Jeannie’s Sponsor

NLAPW President Virginia Campbell commented that Jeannie has a “tremendous story” about recovering from a brain injury through her art. Jeannie’s sister Charly Potts is a Pen Woman, a member of the Pikes Peak Branch. Last year Charly brought Jeannie to Colorado to share her heart-stirring story with the Pikes Peak Pen Women.


City of Warrior library project inspires Birmingham, AL Branch

By Jan Harris, President
Birmingham Pen Women

In November, our newest art member, Sandy Mann, brought the needs of a struggling library to our attention. Sandy lives in a rural town in North Jefferson County with low-income residents and a tiny public library serving several small communities.

The City of Warrior sold a group of Warrior citizens an unused National Guard Army depot for $1.00 to turn into a multi-use library and art center. Currently the facility is huge but without central heating and air.

Several of us visited the center after our November meeting and were struck by the enthusiasm and determination of those working there. They have accomplished a lot but have a long way to go to achieve their goals. They run a bookstore to raise money and recently held a Christmas sale of donated Christmas items to sell as a money raiser.

We had enough funds in our treasury to donate $1000.00 to help support the Warrior Regional Library and Art Center. At our meeting on December 1, we gave a check for that amount to the executives of the board overseeing the renovation projects. We also plan to donate books and time to this struggling young library to help create the multi-functional center of their dreams.

Birmingham is rich with libraries and facilities for students. The outlying communities deserve no less opportunities for enrichment for children and adults alike. In the future, we may also tutor in reading and art but this is our first project thus far.

From the left: left: Winnie Cooper, Birmingham Art Chair; Mary Lempke; Virginia Franklin Campbell, NLAPW National President; Jan Harris, Branch President; two Birmingham Pen Women


Yucca, NM Branch secures new copy of NLAPW Charter

Branch corresponding secretary, Lyla Garcia, expressed thanks for the team effort required to resolve charter issues for the Yucca Branch. National administrative assistant, May-Mei, our accountant Wanda Wachter and President Virginia Campbell assisted in resolving issues to confirm the Yucca Branch Charter.

Thank-you letter: yucca-branch-letter_help-with-charter


Modesto, CA Branch Supports Youth Arts, Collaborations

by Lynn M. Hansen, Branch Past President

Modesto Branch recently supported youth art and literary contests as well as collaborations with local musicians.

Each year, the Stanislaus County Office of Education sponsors the Educationally Interpretive Exhibit, a visual arts contest open to K-12 students from local schools. Each class that enters the competition must demonstrate how they arrive at and develop a concept, which skills they use in the creative process, the role of imagination and how they make connections with other areas of knowledge.


Teacher Mary Beth Roe (right), receives prize for 5th grade at Von Renner Elementary School.


Teacher Amy Zschaber (right) receives prize for Whitmore Charter School, grades 9-12.


This year, the branch awarded a monetary prize to the fifth-grade class of Mary Beth Roe from Von Renner Elementary School, Newman-Crows Landing School District; and 9- 12-grade class of Amy Zschaber from Whitmore Charter School, Ceres Unified School District.



The Aileen Jaffa Youth Poetry Contest, named in honor of former Pen Woman Aileen Jaffa, was co-sponsored by the Modesto Branch and the Modesto/Stanislaus Poetry Center. More than 80 entries were received from K-12 students in Stanislaus County.


Modesto Aileen Jaffa contest winners

Grand Prize winner, Caroline I. McGuire between Nancy Haskett and Lynn M Hansen

Grand Prize winner, Caroline I. McGuire between Nancy Haskett and Lynn M Hansen







The K-6 winner was Caroline I. McGuire from Mary Ann Sanders Elementary School for her poem “Mother Nature” and the 7- to 12-grade winner was Amber Coston, a homeschooled student, for her poem “perspective.” A celebration reading for the winners took place at the Carnegie Center of the Arts in Turlock, California.

Three Modesto Branch Pen Women also participated in ekphrastic collaborations of poetry and music. (Ekphrastic is as a rhetorical device in which one medium of art relates to another medium, expressing its essence and form by interpreting, inhabiting, confronting, or otherwise speaking to the varied artworks.)

Michael Bernal, student composer and Louise Kantro, poet

Michael Bernal, student composer and Louise Kantro, poet

First, poet Louise Kantro teamed up with California State University Stanislaus music theory student Michael Bernal, whose composition explicated Louise’s poem “Siren Song.” Louise read her poem; then, Michael, a tenor, sang the piece at the 31st Annual Student Composition and New Music Festival at the Snider Music Recital Hall in Turlock.

In the second collaboration, Johansen High School students Jose Ramirez and Zac Grenig, respectively, selected “Spadefoot” by Lynn M. Hansen and “Sometimes I Mourn the Loss of Fog” by Nancy Haskett. The students composed music modesto_johansen-hs-student-jose-ramirez-lynn-m-hansento express the essence of each poem. Jose’s music was a lively marimba piece, while Zac’s was created for a saxophone quartet. As the poems were projected on a large screen, the world premiere performance of the music was played at the Spring Concert for Orchestra and Band at the Eleanor McKnight-Haines Theatre in Modesto.


Boca Raton Hosts Annual Luncheon

The Boca Raton Branch is hosting its annual Membership Luncheon on Oct. 20 at the beautiful boca-raton_playing-hookeyDelray Beach Golf Club. Along with a sumptuous buffet, the event will feature a silent auction including members’ art pieces, a giant treasure basket, theater tickets, and much more donated by Dr. Myra Levick, Pat Wilson, Joanie Sack, Bea Doone-Merena, Prue Carrico, Lidia Tohar, Carol White, Barb Capeletti, Barbara Bixon and Sheila Firestone.

Other Highlights

Prue Carrico has started a branch drive to collect unused eyeglasses and cases to be donated to the Lions Club International.

Boca Raton Branch ‘Worst Vacation’ Contest Results

  •  First place: Lea Hope Becker, Boca Raton Branch
    “A Vacation Not to Be Forgotten”
  • Second place: Barbara Bixon, Boca Raton Branch
    “From Bad to Worse”
  • Third place: Rose Perante, Sarasota Branch, “Airport Oranges”
  • Honorable mention: Jamie Morewood Anderson, Yucca Branch, “Holy Pinons”

Prizes were: $35, $25, $15 for first, second, third, and $10 for honorable mention. Blind judging by judges not affiliated with NLAPW.

Pensacola Presents Collaborative Exhibit

pensacola-florida-branch-participants-in-nobis-art-show-2016The Pensacola Branch, Florida, presented an art and poetry exhibit called “Nobis,” the Latin word for “us.” The exhibit represents the collaborative vision and creations of 26 branch members.

The visual artists were challenged to select a poem written by one of the branch poets and to paint a picture suggested by the poem. A beautiful show was hosted under the direction of chairperson Carol Loethen.

pensacola_anne-baehr-viewers-choice-award-at-nobis-show-mosaic-named-the-pensacola-branchpensacola-florida-branch-published-book-nobis“Nobis” is also the name of the branch’s recently self-published, 150-page book of photographs of selected paintings and other artwork, poetry and prose pieces, artists’ essays, and biographies. Photographer Anne Baehr played a dominant role in helping facilitate professional photographic reproductions of the art.

The cover art, “Dancers” by President Mara Viksnins, demonstrates that women artists, poets, writers, photographers, and crafters with divergent backgrounds, unique skills, and personal ideals can come together in perfect harmony.

Special gratitude is extended to Pen Woman Karen McAferty Morris and her colleague, Mac McGovern, who worked many hours to organize, compile, and create the book, which is available on Funds raised by the sale of the book will help sponsor art programs, scholarships, and merit awards for artists on the Gulf Coast.

Connecticut Pioneer Branch bestows Owl Award

submitted by Carol Nipomnich Dixon

Thalia Cokkinos displays her Owl Award

Thalia Cokkinos displays her Owl Award

At the annual meeting of the Connecticut Pioneer Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, held on June 15, Thalia Cokkinos was presented with the Owl Award. This honor is in recognition of and appreciation for her multiple contributions to the Branch through her well organized, knowledgeable role as treasurer and her numerous talented performances as a harpist, pianist, and singer at meetings over the years.

Thalia’s invaluable contributions to the community include her employment by the Town of Greenwich and the Perrot Library. She has been a member of the Round Hill Community Church Choir and belongs to the Pioneer Valley Harpers’ Guild. A graduate of the Music for Healing and Transition Program, she is a certified music practitioner.

Over the years, Thalia has appeared in theatrical performances, acting in community theater and presenting a one-woman show. She has performed solo voice and harp concerts at many area venues. A prolific composer of songs and instrumental pieces, she produced a CD of original recordings.

(Art works shown are some entered in the art show.)

"Swedish Birches," acrylic painting by art member Grace Le Vander

“Swedish Birches,” acrylic painting by art member Grace Le Vander

"Primavera," collage by Art Chair Elizabeth Vazquez

“Primavera,” collage by Art Chair Elizabeth Vazquez

Some of the highlights of other chapter programs during 2016 included a drawing and writing workshop offered by President Carol Nipomnich Dixon and Vice President Elvira Sisca; a presentation by Co-Music Chair Patti Preiss Harris that featured creative musical improvisation; a musical lecture on Richard Strauss’ opera Electra given by member Barbara Reis; and the May Arts Show “Bring Expressions”  held at the Gertrude White Gallery in Greenwich.

"Blue Collection," oil painting by art member Lucie Anderes

“Blue Collection,” oil painting by art member Lucie Anderes

At the Art Show reception, Letters members read their poetry and prose, while composers performed on the piano. Junior Awards were presented to several  young women who show extraordinary promise in writing, music, and the visual arts.

"On the Hudson," mixed media work by incoming Art Co-Chair Vivian Bergenthal

“On the Hudson,” mixed media work by incoming Art Co-Chair Vivian Bergenthal

"Into the Woods," oil painting by President Carol Nipomnich Dixon

“Into the Woods,” oil painting by President Carol Nipomnich Dixon



Manhattan-New York City Artists Featured in Exhibit

Twenty-two Manhattan-NYC branch artists enjoyed a three-month exhibition at the prestigious Samuel J. Wood Library. They invited the parents of recently deceased, developmentally disabled Howie Stone to exhibit some of his artwork. The parents accepted, and a memorial with his beautiful paintings was prominently displayed in the branch’s group show.

Pen Woman Julia A. Rogge is a former board member of The Association for the Help of Retarded Children, which provides programs that Howie attended. A large contingent of AHRC members came to the opening reception and subsequently included an article and photos in their newsletter.

The winning student photo entitled "Getting Ready for the Prom" taken by student photographer Dejah Cummings.

“Getting Ready for the Prom” photo by Dejah Cummings

Young Artist Recognized

Branch Membership Chair Nancy Miller, art teacher at Erasmus High School, strongly encouraged her students to participate in the Diversity Lens Project, an annual photography undertaking that culminates in an exhibition of student work at the New York City Department of Education’s Tweed Courthouse in Manhattan.

The photos of Miller’s student, Dejah Cummings, were among those chosen, and Pen Women awarded her with $100 and an Achievement in Photography certificate.





Central Ohio Branch Kicks Off the Year With a “Diva”

Submitted by Bev Goldie

Peggy Kriha Dye, Artistic Director, Opera Columbus, Ohio

Peggy Kriha Dye, Artistic Director, Opera Columbus, Ohio

The Central Ohio Branch kicked off their year with a presentation from Artistic Director of Opera Columbus, Peggy Kriha Dye.  Ms. Dye, an opera diva herself, has revitalized the local opera scene by introducing collaborative efforts between Columbus’ Ballet Met and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.  This talk was open to the public as an evening event and was promoted among the various art organizations in town.  It allowed our members to publicize NLAPW, invite prospective members and be inspired by a woman leader in the arts.  Ms. Dye’s collaboration with various forms of art made her a natural fit as a speaker for us.

We followed up the evening with information about NLAPW and invitations to a coffee two weeks later to share more about it.  Our local and National brochures, agenda of programs for the next six months and guest registry will be on hand. (Guests were encouraged to sign the guest book for follow-up by our Membership Chair.)

We funded an honorarium for our speaker from two donations from members who felt it worthy of their patronage.  Our regular budget is healthy, but we wanted to make sure we provided adequate compensation for such an important speaker.

Having an evening “celebrity” speaker for our first meeting was a very successful formula for attracting new members and promoting NLAPW last year when we first tried it with NLAPW Past President Candace Long as our speaker.  We hope it continues to engage and enrich our own members as well.

Chesapeake Bay, VA Branch Exhibits Seeds of Inspiration

submitted by Mary Jo Beswick and Martha Anne King


“Painting, Poetry, and Prose, a Creative Encounter” exhibition by the Chesapeake Bay Pen Women.

Chesapeake Bay Pen Women art show

Martha Anne King and Joyce Stedelbauer

The Chesapeake Bay Branch of Virginia completed a 10-month-long “seed and response” inspiration project that culminated in a surprising and fun exhibition called “Painting, Poetry, and Prose, a Creative Encounter.” The project started in July 2015, when the call went out to our 35 members and eight prospective members asking for “seeds” of inspiration.

Writers were to submit one-page stories or poems; artists were asked to submit digital images of their paintings, fiber art, or sculpture.

Suspense grew over the next six months while members worked in solitude and secrecy, not knowing if their seed had inspired a response or not. Finally, on June 4 at the opening reception, everything was revealed in an amazing exhibition of the surprise responses hanging next to their seeds of inspiration!

The 2016 exhibit not only heightened community awareness of the NLAPW, but also attracted new members to join the branch and potential members to seek mentorship to qualify for membership, and inspired 77 new works to be created. And if that were not enough, we assembled a 50-page commemorative booklet containing all the works in the 2016 exhibition as a souvenir for the Chesapeake Bay Branch members. It’s surprising what can happen when Pen Women share some seeds of inspiration!

Vero Beach, FL Branch hosts juried art competition

Vero Beach art group

Some of the artists whose work was accepted. First-prize winners Gail Jaffe and Lee G. Smith are on the far left, front row.

The Vero Beach, Florida Branch presented its inaugural Juried Art Competition for women artists 18 or older  residing in Indian River County, Florida. The exhibit was hosted in May and June at The Foyer Gallery of Art in the Emerson Center/Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach. Heather Kelley, a well-known artist and teacher from Melbourne, Florida, was the judge for the competition.


The works of 24 women were accepted and 14 of the artists won prizes of ribbons and certificates. vero-beach_gouche-1st-prize

The top three prizes went to Rita Ziegler (oils), Lee G. Smith (acrylic), and Gail Jaffe (mixed media). In addition to ribbons and certificate, each of them received a $50 gift card from local businesses. A grand opening night to meet the artists was vero beach hummiston park 1st prizehosted on July 6, with refreshments provided by the artists and the Vero Beach Branch.

Vero Beach Branch President Rosemary Brofus and League member E. Marie Francis (the director of The Foyer Gallery of Art) organized the event.

Previous branch news:

NLAPW President Virginia Campbell encouraged by
the Columbus, Georgia Pen Women

Columbus Georgia Branch of the National League of American Pen Women

Columbus Branch Pen Women, September 6, 2016 luncheon.

Comments about Virginia’s presentation:

“You gave some valuable information about Pen Women and ways to help our organization.  Sometimes, I think we just get in a rut and need some enthusiasm to get motivated again.  You did that!”  – Diane Cox Osbourne

“Yesterday was outstanding!  Thanks to you and Verne…what a team!”  – Geri Davis

Columbus Georgia Branch of the NLAPW

Columbus Pen Women luncheon, members and guests.

More Columbus Branch photos on the NLAPW National Level News page.


Portland, Oregon Branch Awards Music Scholarship

Members and guests at the Portland August luncheon. Back row: Anne, Doreen, Annette, Roberta, Laura. Front row: Barbara, Linda, and Jane.

Members and guests at the Portland August luncheon.
Back row: Anne, Doreen, Annette, Roberta, Laura. Front row: Barbara, Linda, and Jane.

Portland_MirandaOregon City High School student Miranda Parrish, who plays the trombone, was the recipient of our $200 music scholarship this year. After Joanne contacted the school and made the arrangements, the school printed the certificate, which Miranda received along with the check at the June ceremony. Ms. Parrish played trombone in the marching band, honors band, and jazz band. She is a vivacious, friendly young woman who plans to attend Southern Oregon University and major in Veterinarian Science and minor in Performing Arts. She was pleased and honored to receive the scholarship. Congratulations, Miranda!

Muncie, Indiana Branch gets second wind

After nearly losing the branch in May 2015, with only eight members and no other officers, President Barb Kehoe and Treasurer Cathy Shouse called a meeting on June 24 to decide whether to disband.

Barb Keno's Strawberry Spinach Salad

Barb Keno’s Strawberry Spinach Salad

Barb and Cathy pressed forward with a rousing agenda for the meeting. Barb catered the luncheon herself and they brought in special guest speaker, career newspaper journalist and novelist Donna Cronk, whose work in the smaller town of New Castle has won state awards for newspaper features and columns.

Inspiration must have infused the room, touching the attendees – two other members and some guests. A first-time visitor stepped up to join. It was “a glimmer of hope” that inspired Barb and Cathy, and they recommitted as officers for another year.

We commend this dedicated team for their dauntless spirit, and for bringing their story to us so that we might encourage them in their efforts.

Sarasota Branch Awards Scholarships

The Scholarship Awards Program, an outreach project of long standing with the Sarasota Branch, Florida, to award money to high school senior students in Sarasota and Manatee counties, took place recently at the Laurel Oaks Country Club in Sarasota.

Sarasota Branch_Art Award winners

Art Awards Chair Audre Marans (left) and the art award winners.

Monies were awarded to students for first-, second-, and third-place prizes. One donor was the Altman Foundation, in honor of a beloved art member who passed away a few years ago.



Sarasota Branch Music Award winners

Music Chair Ellen Di Piazza and music award winners.

Sarasota Branch_Price Writing Award winner

Sylvia Price with Angela Clavey George, who received the Dr. Sylvia A. Price Writing Award.

High school students from more than 20 public high schools in the area competed for awards in letters, art, and music. Branch members were judges and each judged candidates’ work in their respective fields.



The art of all winners was displayed, compositions were read, and music was performed at the luncheon for the enjoyment of the guests.

At the luncheon, the branch announced another outreach project, the Pen Women Mentoring Project, and encouraged students who won awards to choose a volunteer mentor to work with during their college years at no cost to them. Mentors will be available to encourage emerging artists to continue their creative efforts as creative individuals as well as in becoming professionals in their chosen art fields.

Many of those winning awards were women who might be interested in becoming members of the NLAPW in student categories as well as adults as they continue forward on  their creative journeys.

Boca Raton Branch Installs New Officers, Chairs

Our closing luncheon featured installation of new officers and chairs, plus a beautiful fashion show presented by local clothing store, Patchington.

Boca Raton Branch officers

Board officers, left to right: Barbara Bixon, Treasurer; Prue Carrico, Recording Secretary; Sheila Firestone, President; Etta Schaeffer, Vice President, Fundraising; and Marlene Klotz, Vice President, Programs.









Other new board members:

Alexandra Goodwin, Corresponding Secretary, Letters Co-Chair
Carol White, Publicity, Letters Co-Chair
Barbara Capeletti, Art Chair
Vera Ripp-Hirschhorn, Poetry Chair
Dayle Herstik, Membership Chair
Louise Mirkin, Yearbook Committee
Betty Elster, Historian
Elaine Bossik, Webmaster
Dr. Barbara Lunde, Chaplain

A special Poetry Scholarship was created by our Branch from the sale of Marlene Klotz’s poetry book, “Love. Life. Laughter.” This anthology includes poems from members who attended Marlene’s poetry workshops.  Contact the Boca Raton Branch for more information.


Wellesley Branch Members Stage Dramatic Play

Wellesley Branch members_play

Standing from left to right: Sage Stossel, CW Duncan, Priscilla Cogan, Nancy Poydar, Steve Engler, and Sharon Engler (seated).

Members of Wellesley Branch, Massachusetts, did a dramatic reading of Priscilla Cogan’s second play, “Nothing But the Truth,” in April. They were assisted by two spouses.

The production was complete with props, including a stuffed gorilla that was a stand-in for a corpse. Much fun was had by both talented readers and audience!




June 2016

Des Moines, Iowa Branch

Laura Walth with Congressman David Young 3rd District Iowa

Laura Walth with Congressman David Young 3rd District Iowa

Laura Walth, NLAPW National Outreach Chair, met with Congressman David Young from the Third District of Iowa when she was in Washington DC for her first Board of Directors meeting. She introduced the concept of promoting the arts in schools by sharing with him the guide, “Creating Students who Soar Higher Through the Poetry in the Schools Project,” created by the Pikes Peak Branch in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The Congressman was also open to visiting the Des Moines Branch of NLAPW when he is in Des Moines for the weekend. Laura believes it is important to close the gap between political parties when it comes to supporting the arts in education. We as Pen Women can help promote the arts by reaching out to our congressman to let them know we are here to help regardless of their political affiliation.

Also from the Des Moines, Iowa Branch:

Elaine Erickson accepting 2016 National Music award from Laura Walth

Elaine Erickson accepting 2016 National Music award from Laura Walth

Elaine Erickson won first place in the 2016 48th Biennial Music Competition. Elaine received the NLAPW National award at the Des Moines Iowa Branch meeting May 14th at the Des Moines Social Club.

The title of Elaine Erickson’s music composition for flute and piano is December Celebration. It was performed at the Iowa Composers Forum Music Festival at the University of Northern Iowa, March 2015, and at the Westkirk Presbyterian Church in January 2016. The theme running through her piece is a Christmas song called, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”. There are dissonant atonal passages in this piece that resolve into that tune like darkness moving to light.

2016 Biennial Music Competition winners

1st place  :  Elaine Erickson, Des Moines Branch for “December Celebration”

2nd place:  Eugenie Rocherolle, Member At Large

3rd place:  Dr. Alice Moerk, Sarasota, Florida Branch

Minnesota Branch

Member Marjorie Alexander shares her news (Minnesota Branch Newsletter, May 2016):

"The Web" - Marjorie Alexander

“The Web” – Marjorie Alexander

My piece, “The Web” was chosen for the current National Pen Women exhibit in Washington, DC. I believe it is on exhibit at the Democratic Club in Washington. Also, I just heard that my entry into the NLAPW art exhibit has been accepted. I am awaiting instructions of sending the piece into Washington. The second piece is in a juried exhibit held in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. It is a book illustrating the poem Birches, a poem by Robert Frost. The title of the exhibit is “Words.”

2016 Election results announced at NLAPW Biennial May 2016:

Virginia Franklin Campbell

First Vice-President
Lorna Jean Hagstrom

Second Vice-President
Sheila M. Byrnes

Third Vice-President
Maureen Stack Sappéy

Fourth Vice-Presdent
Ronni Miller

Fifth Vice-President
Jane Maclean

Recording Secretary
Mary Pat Canes

Evelyn B. Wofford