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   League of Women 
 Voters of Berrien 
 & Cass Counties

August, 2017

Message From Your Board 

Part-time help needed! Flexible hours. Invigorating work environment. Ample vacation time. Compensation: Satisfaction of doing important work for the good of our democracy.  


All of us, I think it's safe to say, joined the League of Women Voters because we are committed to what the League stands for: taking principled positions on matters of public policy and encouraging informed and active participation in the political process. The reality, though, is that competing demands put significant constraints on the amount of time many members can devote to League projects.

Recognizing that fact, the Board of LWVBCC is putting new emphasis on an active committee structure. The hope is that even very busy people, as many of our members are, can -- and will! -- find time for a committee meeting or two every once in a while.

Some committees will focus on areas of particular interest to members: energy and the environment, public education, health and social services, and voter services. The focus of interest-area committees will be fostering public awareness of current concern and suggesting programs to inform our communities about them. Other committees will deal with the nuts and bolts of the organizational structure such as membership, special events, budget and finance, and nominations.

Each committee will determine the frequency and timing of its meetings. Some (such as budget and nominations) may need to meet only once or twice a year. Others likely will want to meet more frequently (perhaps every couple of months) to design public forums to bring concerns to public attention.

Within the next few weeks, members of LWVBCC will receive a questionnaire asking what their interests are, what committees they are willing to take part in, suggesting any additional committees they would like to see created, and soliciting ideas on how to stimulate active participation in furthering the goals of the League.

As a member, please take time to complete the survey, and be generous in the commitment of time to at least one committee. Even if you are among those away from Berrien and Cass counties for months at a time, you can participate when you are here.  You will be welcomed. We need you.  And if not a member, we need you to join and participate!

Update: Judge LaSata's  "Swift and Sure" Program Presentation:  
Don't Miss It!
     Now rescheduled for October 5 at 6:30p.m., the Hon. Charles LaSata will lead a public forum on Michigan's "Swift and Sure" probation program.  
     In 2012, Berrien County was one of three Michigan counties to participate in this pilot program.  Because of its success, Swift and Sure now functions in 23 courts covering 26 Michigan counties, including Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren.  Judge LaSata is in charge of Swift and Sure for Berrien County. 
      Swift and Sure targets felony offenders at high risk of winding up back behind bars because they fail to follow the rules of their probation.  The program is designed to help probationers develop personal responsibility and accountability through additional monitoring and support.  
     A central tenet is an immediate sanction for any violation-- two or three days in jail for drug use, for example.  The sanction is to be fair, swift, certain, consistent, and proportionate.  The broader goal is a behavioral change for the better.
     In 2016, eight people in Berrien County were graduated from Swift and Sure and released from probation.  State Senator John Proos, who was instrumental in establishing the program, was present and spoke at the graduation.  He has been invited to participate in LWVBCC's September 7 forum along with Judge LaSata, but as of this date, it is uncertain whether he will be joining us.
     The forum will be held Oct. 5 from 6:30 until 8:00 p.m. at Berrien RESA -- 711 St. Joseph Ave., Berrien Springs.
     The "Swift and Sure" sanctions probation program (SSSPP) is an intensive probation supervision program that targets high-risk felony offenders with a history of probation violations or failures. It is modeled on Hawaii's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program, which studies have shown to be very successful in improving the rate of successful completion of probation among high-risk probationers. 

     We thank Judge LaSata for making himself available for this presentation and will keep you posted as the date becomes finalized.

Important Dates!

The next meeting of the LWVBCC book group is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Monday, October 9, at Emelie Shroder's house. Two books have been selected for discussion: "Climate of Hope" by Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope, and "Strangers in Their Own Land" by Arlie Russell Hochschild.
      Both books, to a greater and lesser extent, offer insights on climate change.  The emphasis, though, is quite different.  Climate is at the heart of Bloomberg and Pope's book, as they describe the issue, highlight its seriousness, and offer creative ways to address it.  Hochschild, on the other hand, tells of her experience with people in Louisiana's bayou country whose livelihoods and way of life have been severely impacted by a sinkhole caused by a drilling accident.
      Participants are encouraged to read either or both of these books, or another of their choice dealing with related topics.
      Then please call Emelie to let her know you will be attending.  Her telephone number is 269-266-7299.

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

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Tuesday, August 8
League Board Meeting
1:00 p.m.
Location: Lincoln Township Library, 2099 W John Beers Rd, Stevensville, MI 49127
Members are welcome to attend Board meetings.
Thursday, Oct. 5
6:30 p.m.
Presentation from Judge Charles LaSata on Berrien "Swift and Sure" program. At  Berrien RESA in Berrien Springs.
Monday, Oct. 9
League Book Group
10:00 a.m.
Meet at Emelie Shroder's home. Call to let her know you are attending: 269-266-7299 by Saturday 10/7.

Board of Directors
Marilyn Klawiter, President
Dorothy Parker, Vice President
Karen Ristau,  Secretary
John Ripley, Treasurer
Donna Dutton, Membership
Michael McCaffrey, Webmaster
Linda Cheek
Jane Raymond
Christiana Zilke

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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 
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