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   League of Women 
 Voters of Berrien 
 & Cass Counties

April, 2017
Newsletter
President's Message 

All our luncheon speakers have been excellent, and Carl Macpherson's presentation to us was well received, generated many participant questions, and provided in-depth background as well as current information on indigent defense in Berrien County.  Mr. Macpherson is a dedicated, determined, hard-working asset to Berrien County. 

There have been many interesting Letters to the Editor in the Herald-Palladium in the past month.  I am hopeful that you see this local newspaper (although circulation is limited outside of the north Berrien County area.)  If you share the views of a particular writer and know the person, call them to show your support.  We must continue to support a free press and freedom of expression.

Due to illness, we are losing another Board member.  It is difficult for a limited number of people to do the work we feel is required for a vibrant and effective Board.  Please consider volunteering for a position on the LWVBCC Board.  Contact any one of us.  Believe me, we will be receptive; just believe that you can and will be an asset.

Our annual Membership Directory -- this year in a bright, salmon color -- has been mailed, and if you did not receive yours, please notify us at lwvbcc@gmail.com.  

As you read the newsletter, please note dates of upcoming events, mark your calendar, and give as mu
ch priority as possible for attending League-sponsored events.
Important Dates!

Tuesday, April 11 -  League Board Mtg. 1pm, Three Oaks Library
Wednesday, April 19 - Great Lakes Line 5 Lobby Day, Lansing;  For
additional information, go to http://www.oilandwaterdontmix.org .
Wednesday, April 26 - Lunch at Lakeland Hospital, 12noon
Wednesday, April 26 - Pokagon-sponsored mtg. N ew Buffalo Lib. 
     8:00 to Noon
Saturday, April 29 - Kalamazoo People's Climate March                    Sponsored by the Michigan League of Conservation. For further
information and to sign up, go to   http://www.michiganlcv.org  .
Monday, May 7 - League Board meeting, 1:00, Niles District
     Library.   Please note date and location change
Tuesday, May 9 - League-sponsored trip to Grand Rapids Gerald         Ford  Museum and Meijer Gardens.  Registration due  NOW.    
Friday, May 19 to Sunday, May 21 - LWVMI Biennium in Lansing.  A ll LWVBCC members may attend. Go to http://lwvmi.org  
     for details and registration information.
Thursday, May 25 - Pokagon-sponsored in-service on "Tell Your Story, Measure Your Impact" Go to https://pokagonfund.org/upcoming-events to sign up as required.
>>>Thursday, June 15 -  LWVBCC 60-year celebration and recognition  dinner, Sarett Nature Center.  Many details to follow!!<<<
Access to Justice
     The presumption of innocence is the bedrock of our criminal justice system.  According to Carl Macpherson, it also is the guiding principle of Berrien County's new Public Defenders Office--a service that has been in place only since December 15, 2016.  Mr. Macpherson, the county's Chief Public Defender, spoke at an LWVBCC luncheon at Coach's restaurant on March 16.  His presentation may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_vtStUeYf0 .
     A Michigan native, Mr. Macpherson has spent virtually his entire legal career in indigent defense-from one coast to the other, and now in between.  The Berrien County Public Defenders Office is staffed with nine attorneys, two secretaries, an office manager, and a part-time investigator.  Mr. Macpherson, who said the organizing principle of the office is collaboration and teamwork, hopes to add staff as funding becomes available.  The case load now is heavy--partly because 77 percent of felony charges, he said, are against indigent individuals.
     With the advent of our Public Defenders Office, an indigent client now may have access to an attorney at his or her initial court appearance, the arraignment, at which important decisions such as pleas and the setting of bond are made.  This, according to Mr. Macpherson, is a particularly important component of his office's work.  Without access to legal advice at an arraignment, a defendant can make decisions that prove disadvantageous in later proceedings--decisions that may have been avoided with timely access to legal advice.
     Berrien County is one of only eight counties in Michigan that have offices for indigent defense.  Elsewhere, legal services are provided, as they were here until last December 12, only by attorneys in private practice working under contracts with the court system to provide specified services.  Because the cost of incarceration is high--about $28,000 per incarcerated person per year--improving outcomes for indigent defendants is not only just and fair; it also can be cost-effective in the long run.
     More information about the Berrien County Public Defenders Office and principles and practices that gave rise to it can be found at https://www.berriencounty.org/PublicDefender  --Marilyn Klawiter
Luncheon at Lakeland
     Good News! As you can see in our Calendar at right, the date is April 26 in Upton Rooms 5 & 6 for the luncheon at Lakeland Hospital on the subjects of "Pain Management and Opioides."
     There is a new Pavilion being built at Lakeland now, and we will hear an update on this new project. The parking situation is not good.and will not be good for another four years. Any members needing handicap accessibility can park on campus. 
     Lakeland is making arrangements for alternative parking for us with shuttle service to the hospital. A shuttle service will pick us up beginning at 11:20 at Cedarwood Medical Center, 820 Lester Avenue. Please park in the lot and wait underneath the building overhang for pick up. The shuttle will come at approximately 11:20, 11:30, and 11:40. We will be dropped off at the corner by the parking garage. That same shuttle will take us back beginning about 1:15pm.
     Our arrival time for the luncheon should begin at 11:15. Lunch will be provided at 11:40. Dr Hamel and other doctors will give their presentation from 12:45 to 1:30 and then allow time for Q&A. Space is limited to 80.
     Our thanks to Lakeland for extending this wonderful opportunity to us. RSVP to  donnadutton95@yahoo.com
League Book Group
April Book Group.  We will discuss "The Meaning of Michelle:16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires our Own." Since some of our members had not read Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" or "Dreams from My Father," any book by or about the Obamas will be open for discussion. If you plan to attend, please call Donna Dutton at 269-469-9763 or 269-420-9256 (c).
Grand Rapids Field Trip
Hurry! Tickets are going fast for the League's day trip to the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum and Meijer Gardens.  We are looking so forward to spending the day with members and their friends.  Reservations are limited for the May 9 event.  The price could simply not be better.  Fifty dollars paid in advance by close of day on Friday, April 21, will guarantee your seat and entry fees to both venues.  Such a deal!  Lunch will be on your own at the Meijer Gardens.

Our group will travel by way of 21 EXPRESS, a small bus for 25 persons.  We have traveled with this driver in the past and had a great time.  Our departure is 9 o'clock sharp!  Meet the group in Benton Harbor at the Celebration movie theater parking lot.  We will be to the side of the lot.  Just look for the bus.  Our return will be at approximately 5:15 pm.

Snail mail, email, or phone John Ripley or Liz Ennis to make a reservation.  Your new 2017 League Directory was just sent to you so we will be easy to find.  Nonetheless, John is at P. O. Box 1032, Niles, MI 49120 or  lwvbcc@gmail.com. Liz has the email of  lennis34@hotmail.com. Send us your check now and come along.  We don't want you to miss out!                                    -- Liz Ennis

And...We Need Your Participation!
We wish to increase the number of members on the Board and are appealing to you to give this serious consideration.  We get along well, have good discussions, help others with project arrangements and details, etc.
 
Board Responsibilities are:
Attend Board meetings (give notification if unable to attend).
Assist in overall planning and decision-making.
Support and attend League activities.
Explain and promote the League in your community.
Understand and maintain the League's political (non-partisan) activity policy.
Attend state and regional League meetings.
Assist in fund-raising activities.

Please give joining the LWVBCC Board sincere consideration.  Call 269 449 2225 or e-mail chris_zilke@yahoo.com.
LWVBCC: Contact Us

P.O. Box 1032
Niles, MI 49120

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Calendar/Notes
Next League Board Meeting:
April 11
1:00-3:00p.m.
Three Oaks Library, Three Oaks
_______________________
Great Lakes Line 5, April 19 
Lobby Day, Lansing
For more information see
_______________________
Luncheon with Lakeland
Noon, April 26
Upton Rooms 5 & 6 for the
luncheon on the subjects of 
"Pain Management and 
Opioides."  See more information
at left.
_______________________
Pokagon Seminar
April 26 New Buffalo Library
$20 in advance
8am-noon; "Building a High-Functioning Board" with Karen Kuchar and Keith Sarber
_______________________
Kalamazoo People's Climate March, April 29.
To sign up, go to   http://info@michiganlcv.orglcv.org
_______________________
League Board Meeting
May 7, 1pm
NILES DISTRICT LIBRARY
1pm-3pm
_______________________
Field Trip - Grand Rapids
Ford Museum and Meijer Gardens, May 9
Registration Due Now
See more info at left
_______________________
LWV Michigan Biennial Convention, May 19-21
Kellogg Convention Center, 
East Lansing.  All LWVBCC members may attend.  Go to http://lwvmi.org
for details and registration information.
_______________________
Welcome New Members!
Laura Desilets
Pauline Furner
Kimberly Kuriata
Matthew McClintock
Dorothy D. Parker
Jessica Riddle
Mary Tobin
Jeannine Warner

LWVBCC
Board of Directors
Chris Zilke, President
Karen Ristau,  Secretary
John Ripley, Treasurer
Donna Dutton, Membership
Bette Pierman, Environment
Liz Ennis, Health & Social Serv.
Marilyn Klawiter, At Large


Webmaster Mike McCaffrey

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The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.
Interested in joining the League?  Go to our website or 
email our Membership Chair  Donna Dutton