February 2019 Newsletter
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Co-President's Message 
by Fran Kapinos and Judy Lotas



February has been a busy month for our League:
  1. Lunch, Film and Fury on Feb. 1- Judy Lotas led the discussion following the viewing of the film "Legalize Equality" and updated us on the status of the ERA in NC.  Judy has copies of the film for anyone who would like to share it with others. Contact Judy at judylotas@gmail.com
     
  2. Willo Kelley presented a Forum on the Homeowners Insurance Rate Filing on Feb. 13, motivating the public to write to Insurance Commissioner, Mike Causey, with reasons why he should deny the NC Rate Bureau the 30% rate increase they are suggesting for the coastal areas.  A positive response from Causey was reported in the Coastland Times following our meeting- "Causey Disagrees with Proposed Homeowners Rate Increase, sets hearing date".

  3. Michael Flynn of the NC Coastal Federation presented information on Seismic Testing and Off Shore Drilling on Feb. 27. Be informed about what we can do about stopping it now before it is too late. This will be recorded and can be viewed on our You Tube page and the Dare County Gov Channel.
     
  4. Carole Butscher has gathered a crew to distribute 7,000 copies of our 2019 Dare County Citizens Guide.  Thank you to Carole and her volunteers, especially to Carole for undertaking this tremendous task for the past several years. 
Upcoming Events - March
March 5 - ERA Bills to be introduced in Raleigh!  We need you to join our OBX group, dress in white, decorate a sash with Judy and let her know ASAP.

Celebrate International Women's Day

When: March 12th, 2019 6:00 PM
Where: Mako's (formerly Mako Mike's)
            1630 N. Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
What: Plans are underway for our league to join with members of the Virginia Dare Business & Professional Women's Club (BPW) on Tuesday, March 12 at 6 PM at Mako's.  We are looking for a speaker or two who could speak on the status of women internationally. If you know of anyone in our area, the Elizabeth City or Tidewater area who we could ask to make a presentation on this subject, please let us know ( fkapinos@aol.com or  judylotas@gmail.com)


Board Meeting

When: March 19th, 2019, 10:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Where: Kill Devil Hills Town Hall
             102 Veterans Drive, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
What:  The League's regular board meeting.


Rally in Raleigh

When: March 30th
, 2019, 1:00 - 3:30 PM 
Where: Raleigh, NC - Exact location TBA
What:  Rally in Raleigh  from 1 to 3:30 PM to prevent offshore drilling in our state.
Please fill out this Google Form so we can gauge attendance for our Rally in Raleigh on Saturday, March 30th from 1 PM to 3:30 PM, which will help us choose a venue location as well as mark potential attendees on our contact list. We will be renting vans to transport some folks to and from the event, but if you can also provide your personal vehicle for our carpool, we would greatly appreciate it.


Please be sure to put these informative, important events on your calendars and plan on attending.  


See our full calendar of events for February and March 2019  HERE.

Reminder - Membership Renewal

If you haven't renewed your membership yet, now is the time to do so! We need you! 

$55 individual,  $80 family 

Checks payable to: LWV Dare, PO Box 689, Kitty Hawk, 27949

You can pay online through PayPal  HERE. Follow the link to the page then scroll to the bottom. 

HELP WANTED
by Lorelei DiBernardo

Looking for a LWV Dare member who is interested in participating on the state-wide Immigration League Action Team (LAT).
 
Requirements:  Interest in supporting the Immigrant community & and in Immigration reform
 
Time Commitment:   Monthly 1-hour phone conference calls, which include team members from around the state and updates from their League Chapters
 
To Learn More visit  https://lwvnc.org/immigration/
 
All interested parties, please contact Lorelei DiBernardo at  ltd32@charter.net


Membership Update
by  Susan Merrill
 
Please click on the link below to view our presentation welcoming new members to the League. It's a good refresher on our history, who we are and what we do.

Welcome to the League


Citizen's Guide 2019
By Carol Butscher

The 7000 Citizens Guides have been delivered!  This huge undertaking could not be accomplished without the help of many our members.  On February 13th we bundled the guides for distribution.  Many thanks to Carole Kimmel, Laura Singletary, Monica Thibodeau, Arlene D'Agosto, and Yvonne Duiker for helping.  The guides were distributed to the various towns by Colleen Shriver, Janice Smith, Marion Midgett, Nancy D'Andrade, Francene Kelly, Earl Keel, Laura Singletary, Debbie Taylor, Mary Jane Slesinski, and Susan Merrill.  The presentation to the town councils and Board of Education will be done by Marion Midgett, Lorelei DiBernardo, Monica Thibodeau, Susan Merrill, Jessica Loose, Colleen Oaksmith, and Nancy Birindelli.  

We are also publishing 200 copies of the Spanish version of the guide.  These will be be printed and distributed in March.  If anyone needs additional copies of either guide, please call Carol Butscher at 261-6983



LWVNC Celebrates Board of Elections Call for New Election in District 9
by Craig Merrill

New Election Restores Fairness for Voters

RALEIGH, NC - Yesterday, the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) unanimously voted to hold a new election for the 9 th  Congressional district. This decision comes after claims involving absentee voter manipulation arose following the 2018 midterm election. The claims led to an investigation and an eventual request by candidate Mark Harris for a new election.

"The evidence was overwhelming, but the decision was made easier by Mr. Harris's concession that the election was tainted," said  Janet Hoy, co-President, League of Women Voters of North Carolina. "The League of Women Voters endorses this decision and thanks the Board and their staff for their diligence in fully investigating this issue considering all the other challenges they faced in finalizing elections across the state."

The investigation centered around alleged suppression and tampering of absentee ballots in North Carolina's 9 th District Congressional race, which was the last undecided contest from the 2018 midterm election.

"This is a fair decision for North Carolinians in the 9 th District," said  Karen Bean, co-president of The League of Women Voters of North Carolina. "The League watched this issue very closely from the beginning and will work with the impacted voters and election officials to ensure that future elections are protected from this kind of tampering. Voters must have assurance that their votes are counted and their elections are fair."

To learn more about the rescheduled election, visit lwvnc.org.

ALSO

The LWV NC held a leadership forum at the end of January. The goal was to develop relationships between local and state league leaders, and to develop a mission statement that meets the needs of North Carolinians. The results are being assessed by the meeting facilitator and results should be out in a few weeks. 

Education Report
by  Marion Midgett


During December 2018,  and January, and February 2019, the Dare Board of Education has been busy dealing with routine matters, learning about new initiatives from the superintendent and central office.

November's election brought back two incumbent board members, Margaret Lawler and Joe Tauber, and added a new member, Frank Hester, all of whom began their four-year terms in December.  In 2020 the four other seats will be up for election.

At the December meeting the Board was reorganized. This is the practice after each election.  Bea Basnight was reelected to the chair position. Mary Ellon Balance was elected to the vice-chair position, replacing  Margaret Lawler.

Bits and Pieces: The following is a re views of initiatives presented, updates, and announcements.
  • During the fall and winter the County Commission Chair, Bob Woodard and Superintendent Farrelly have been making the rounds of PTO's and PTA's providing information about dual enrollment opportunities for high schoolers at College of the Albemarle.  At the same time he was able to promote the overall benefits of attending our local community college. Getting the word out to parents of younger students about the dual enrollment initiative is very important.
     
  • School Improvement Plans, submitted by each school each year, now include "confidential" safety sections.
     
  • "Dare to Innovate"- Professional Learning Developed by Teachers for Teachers is the result of a digital learning grant announced  in December 2017. The grant supported activities to further digital learning competencies of teachers and students.  A group DCS teachers designed online professional development activities aligned with Instructional practices and existing tools available within the district.  The program was launched in December 2018. The flexibility that this learning model allows is very welcome.
     
  • Kitty Hawk School won a US Dept. of Education Blue Ribbon School award last fall.  It was one of 340 nationwide and eight in North Carolina. The school applied for this and met a large number of criteria.
     
  • The Manteo High School staff was recognized by the BOE for the school's being in the top 3% of schools in the state to receive an "A" rating by the state of North Carolina last year.
     
  • The 2018-2019 Spanish Dual Language Immersion classes for kindergartners and 1 st graders have been well received at Manteo  Elementary, Nags Head Elementary, Cape Hatteras Elementary, and Kitty Hawk Elementary.  With a mind to moving ahead, information sessions were held in January for parents of rising kindergartners at those schools.  There was a First Flight Elementary session for rising kindergartners and 1 st graders to gauge interest in possibly starting a program there in the coming year.
     
  • The three high schools have two Carolina College Advising Corps near- peer counselors this year.  The first two years one man, Seth Rose, served three schools, plus Alternative students.  This program aims to help low-income, first generation, and under-represented students from North Carolina attend college by providing advisors who assist students with educational decisions, admissions, financial aid, and scholarship; applications.  Dare is very fortunate to have the advisors.

ERA News
by Judy Lotas


ERA BILLS TO BE INTRODUCED MARCH 5 IN RALEIGH
YOU'RE INVITED!

Bills will be presented in both the Senate and House on Tuesday, March 5. League members are coming from around the state.  We will dress in white with our ERA sashes, greet legislators and speak to our own about the importance of co-sponsoring and supporting ratification.  Just one more state needed and NC can and should be the one!

Please contact me asap if you can join us.  It's a day trip, there and back on the 5th in Danny Couch's van if we get enough takers.   judylotas@gmail.com

LWVNC is sponsoring our mobile billboard!
It will circle the Legislature Building all day on the 5th!  Cross fingers for good press coverage.

ALSO

On Sunday, March 3rd at 9:00 PM, MSNBC will be premiering "This Happened: On Account of Sex, The Battle for Equal Rights. You can find a link to the preview HERE.

Letter from the Editor
by John Towler

Once upon a time I served as a legislative assistant for Congressman Tim Johnson of South Dakota. I lucked into the job; my name pulled from a towering pile of resumes that all congresspeople receive. I made the cut because he was one of the few offices using Apple based computer systems. For my fellow Star Wars nerds it was like when C3PO was saved from the Jawa's because he spoke the language of moister vaporators and Bocce. I knew my way around Mac's and had the ability to write complete intelligible sentences so they hired me. 

Congressman Johnson was a Democratic congressman from a very red state but he was no blue dog Democrat. He was incredibly bright, knew farm issues inside and out, and after 5 minutes with him you knew he really cared about the people he represented. (South Dakota was one of those states with such a small population that they have one congressman and two senators.) He was not a bomb thrower or rabble-rouser. He was there to work on behalf of his constituents and he listened to what they had to say.

We have recently been asked to weigh in on two issues of great importance to our area. The first is the proposed rate increase the insurance companies want to stick us with for homeowners insurance. The second is the proposal to open our waters to offshore drilling. These two issues get more remakes than "A Star Is Born." We've fought these fights and generally have done alright in the outcomes. But here they are again and many people are wondering "Is anybody listening?"

The answer to that is hopefully. In Congressman Johnson's office EVERY postcard, letter and phone call received a written response from the congressman. Yes, we had form letters for the big issues that would regularly cause agitation in the constituency. Gun control, abortion, animal rights, prayer in school all showed up as concerns in our mailbox. People's positions were duly noted, tabulated and replies were sent even to the folks who sent us form post-cards. If visitors arrived from the state, every effort was made to get them face time with the congressman to hear their issues. I would say roughly 80% of the other congressional offices operated the same way. 

Now, my time with Congressman Johnson was before emails, Facebook, Twitter and all the other modern platforms for communication. I don't know if congresspeople today can keep up the same way we used to. But I'd bet dollars to donuts that they are mindful of which way the wind is blowing based on what sort of input they are receiving from the public. 

Yes, we have fought these fights time and again. Yes, there is some level of fatigue from having to return to the ring for yet another round. But maybe in some small way it helps knowing that your voice is being heard. Not as an individual, more than likely. But the mass of opinion can move the needle even for representatives who may not share your political values. It is important we be heard and heard in great numbers. So keep up the good fight, send those cards and letters, be a thorn in the side and a bee in the bonnet and hopefully we'll come out on top again. 





League of Women Voters of Dare County | | lwvdare@gmail.com | http://lwvdarenc.org/



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