LWVUS New open logo only
   League of Women 
  Voters of Berrien 
   & Cass Counties
  Please click above on "Display images below"

April, 2019

Let's Talk!
Civil Discourse: WHAT It Is, 
WHY We Need It, and HOW to Do It
     What works better: shouted invective or rational argument? Surely the latter. Why, then, do we seem to hear so much more of the former these days? 
     It's not good!
     We seem to be witnessing the breakdown in cultural norms in how we talk with and treat one another. Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, called it "Our Culture of Contempt" in a recent issue of the New York Times. "What we need," he said, "is not to disagree less, but to disagree better."
     To begin addressing the problem, LWVBCC will host a public forum on May 15. We will hear from several people who are or have been involved in government, the political process, and other roles given to conflict. They will help us understand how civil discourse figures in their work, any changes they have seen over the years, its impact on how they do their jobs, and ideas on what works best. There will be an opportunity for questions from the audience.
     Mark your calendar now: Forum on civil discourse at Berrien RESA, 711 St. Joseph Avenue in Berrien Springs, 6:30 p.m. May 15, 2019.

Book Group: Civil Discourse Theme
     Since reviving Civility takes a village, you will be reading to enhance and then share your knowledge of Civil Discourse.
     Civil discourse is the free and respectful exchange of different ideas. It entails  questioning and disputing, but doing so in a way that respects and affirms all persons,  even while critiquing their arguments.
     Please select a book from the following list and then come to discuss it with other  League members on May 6:
    Alda, Alan. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? Random House, 2017.
    Holland, Sarah & Beth Silvers. I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening) A Guide  to Grace-Filled Political Conversations. Thomas Nelson, 2019.   
    Hoggan, James. I'm Right and You're an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public  Discourse and How to Clean It Up. New Society Publishers, 2016.
    Sasse, Ben. THEM Why We Hate Each Other - And How to Heal. Martin's  Press. 2018.
    Steele, Claude. Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can  Do. W.W. Norton, 2010.
    Traister, Rebecca. Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's AngerSimon & Schuster, 2018.
     When we meet on Monday, May 6, at 10:00 a.m. at Marilyn Klawiter's home, we  will be exchanging the various ideas put forth by the authors. Please join the group and
help us practice civil discourse by sharing our viewpoints and listening to others.  
     Please call or text Marilyn at 269-362-1871 to let her know that you plan to attend.                         --Anita Rutlin
100th Anniversary Planners Needed!
Mark Your Calendar for April 3:
A Meeting to Plan the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Getting Women the Right to Vote!
    The sun is shining, and Michigan's weather is clearing. Really. Time to put our heads together and begin planning for our suffragette celebration. 
    I just saw "Doll House 2" at the Steppenwolf, and I was reminded of how much we owe to those who came before us for our liberty and, most importantly, for THE RIGHT TO VOTE.
     Can you please join us on Wednesday, April 3rd, at 4:00 pm at Lake Street Eats, 4228 Lake Street, Bridgman, to begin planning?
     Bring your razor-sharp ideas to the meeting!
     See you on April 3!                                   -- Judy Scully    
Environmental News and Concerns
    Many Lake Michigan beach cleanup activities have already taken place this year and, as has been the case for many years, the amount and variety of trash is astonishing. 
    Fall storms and winter ice buildup and subsequent melt contribute to tree trunks, balloon remnants, parts of once private-property stairs, tires, fish and other animal carcasses, and all manner of plastics, etc., get tossed ashore.
     Even more important are the small items washed in--or left over from picnics last year: bottle caps, plastic straws, balloons, food wrappers, etc. Such things contribute to a large and growing problem and can be life-threatening for birds, deer and other animals that visit the shore year round. 
     As important as the group clean-ups are, it will help if next time you're looking for that special stone or piece of beach glass, you take along an extra bag and pick up small items that simply don't belong on our beautiful beaches.
     Our warming climate is resulting in existing and growing problems for the waters of the Great Lakes and, therefore, for our health as well. More on this topic next month. 
     Now some good news: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has declared unconstitutional the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority Law (Public Act 359 of 2018). This pertains to the battle over Canadian company Enbridge's 66-year-old oil-and-gas-carrying pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. The battle may not be over yet, but a big fight has been won.

***Environmental News FLASH*** 
     The history-making lawsuit, Juliana, et al. v United States of America et al., has been given a green light to proceed. This is a suit originally filed in 2015 on behalf of 21 youth plaintiffs. It is a climate-change lawsuit that could change the way the fossil fuel industry operates on public lands.
      Google Juliana v. United States to learn all about it and the young people who have banded together as plaintiffs. Very exciting!!                                    --Chris Zilke
Michigan's Economy: 
Challenges and Opportunities
Highlighted in Forum with John Austin
At a public forum hosted by LWVBCC on March 21, John Austin drew a vivid verbal portrait of our area's economy.
    He told the very engaged audience about the history that made Michigan the center of economic change beginning in the 19th century, the role of innovation and industrialization in transforming the region's economy, changes than still have repercussions today, tough challenges, and current opportunities.
     Threading through the history, Mr. Austin sees the importance of education, and the central role of education and our educational institutions in preparing Michigan residents-young and old-for the new economy. He has a rich store of knowledge about education in our state, having served for 16 years on its Board of Education, including 6 as its president. He now is the Director of the Michigan Economic Center.
     Many thanks to Mr. Austin for a stimulating session.

Gerrymandering Litigation
      Nation-wide, the League of Women Voters has advocated vigorously to end the practice of political gerrymandering.  
     On March 26, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two gerrymandering cases: Rucho v. Common Cause, out of North Carolina, and Lamone v. Benisek, out of Maryland. Decisions are expected by the end of June.
     The Michigan gerrymandering case, League of Women Voters of Michigan et al v. Johnson, is awaiting decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division. Trial was completed in February. LWVMI is asking to have the current districting maps redrawn before the 2020 election.
     Decisions in all three cases are eagerly awaited.
Annual Dinner 6 p.m. June 12
Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant

     You won't want to miss LWVBCC's annual meeting because of:
  • The venue: beautiful Vineyard Room at Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant;
  • The menu: salad and your choice of raspberry chicken, cedar-wrapped salmon, or orecchiette pasta (vegetarian);
  • The company: fellow members of the League (who know how to celebrate); and
  • The special guest--Judy Karandjeff, president of the Michigan League. 
      You are welcome to bring guests who are not members of the League, as well.  
     So make your reservation now by remitting payment ($30 per person) either (a) by check mailed to LWVBCC, P.O. Box 1032, Niles, MI 49120, or (b) by PayPal: click here for Annual Meeting registration .  Either way, please include the name of each person attending and his/her choice of entrĂ©e.
State Convention May 17-19

     The 2019 Convention of the League of Women Voters of Michigan will be held May 17-19 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Livonia.  Members of LWVBCC also are members of the Michigan League.
      If you would like to attend the convention, please email lwvbcc@gmail.com for more information.
Non-Partisan Policy
The League as an organization does not support or oppose any political party, candidate for elected office, or any group that supports candidates. As individuals, though, but not as representatives of the League, members are encouraged to participate in political activity and to run for office.  Our non-partisan policy does require two Board members--the President and the Voter Service Chair--to totally abstain from partisan political activity.  

LWVBCC: Contact Us

P.O. Box 1032
Niles, MI 49120

Like us on Facebook


Weds., April 3
4:00 p.m.
Suffragette Event 
Planning Session
Lake Street Eats in Bridgman

Tuesday, April 9
6:00 p.m.
LWVBCC Board Meeting
Wheatberry Restaurant
15212 N. Redbud Trail

Monday, May 6
10 a.m.
                 Book Group
        Marilyn Klawiter's home
Please call ahead or text
if you will be attending:

Weds., May 15
6:30 p.m.
Civil Discourse Forum
Berrien RESA Conference Center
Berrien Springs
Open to the Public
See article at left for details.

May 17-19
State League Convention
Livonia, Michigan

Wednesday, June 12
6:00 p.m.
LWVBCC Annual Meeting 
and Dinner
Tabor Hill Winery

Board of Directors
Marilyn Klawiter, President
Karen Ristau,  Secretary
John Ripley, Treasurer &
        Communications Coordinator
Linda Cheek
Kathleen Fleming
Michael McCaffrey
Jane Raymond
Anita Rutlin
Judy Scully
Christiana Zilke

Quick Links

Joe Jilek
Insurance Agent
(269) 695-2200

Visit This Sponsor
Terrace Room

Visit This Sponsor

Visit This Sponsor
Bentwood Ad 2012

Visit This Sponsor


The League:  Helping to Make Democracy Work Since 1920!
And about to Celebrate our 100th Anniversary!
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?  
Please go to our website or 
click here to email us.