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   League of Women 
 Voters of Berrien 
 & Cass Counties

January, 2017
President's Message 

    I've de cided to start the year by quoting from two books I'm currently reading.  The first is Aldo Leopold's "A Sand County Almanac."  I had no idea who Aldo Leopold was, and when, part way into the book, I read, "Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.  Despite nearly a century of propaganda, conservation still proceeds at a snail's pace; progress still consists largely of letterhead pieties and convention oratory."  I checked to see the publication date. I was stunned to see that this book was published in 1949!
     Another line:  "Wilderness is a resource which can shrink but not grow.  Invasions can be arrested or modified in a manner to keep an area usable either for recreation, or for science, or for wildlife, but the creation of new wilderness in the full sense of the word is impossible."
     From Naomi Klein's book, "This Changes Everything" (our League book group discussion book on Jan. 9): "When historians look back on the past quarter century of international negotiations, two defining processes will stand out.  There will be the climate process:  struggling, sputtering, failing utterly to achieve its goals.  And there will be the corporate globalization process, zooming from victory to victory:  ..."  

     The League's Position on Natural Resources is lengthy and covers many aspects.  Very briefly, it states, "Resource management decisions must be based on a thorough assessment of population growth and of current and future needs. The inherent characteristics and carrying capacities of each area's natural resources must be considered in the planning process.  Policy makers must take into account the ramifications of their decisions on the nation as a whole as well as on other nations." 
     Please consider becoming more active in the work being done by the League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties and any other organization to which you belong that is promoting conservation, protection of species (including our own), fairness, equality and basic human rights.
    Anticipating a hopeful and positive start to 2017.
Important Dates!

Though our next Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 5, the Board has decided, starting on February 14, to meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month rather than the 3rd Tuesday.  All meetings will begin at 1:00 p.m.  The January 5 meeting will take place at the Three Oaks Public Library.  This is the annual Planning session required by LWVUS.  All members are strongly encouraged to attend at 1:00 p. m.
A general-membership consensus meeting on updating the LWVMI position on Taxation and Budgeting will take place on Wednesday, February 8, at 10:00 a. m. at the Niles District Library.  Please plan to attend.  We will have a speaker to help us understand local budgeting issues and to answer questions for us.  It is important to have many members present.  Please mark your calendar and give this event priority.
The LWVMI Biennial Convention is scheduled for May 19-21 at the Kellogg Convention Center, East Lansing.  Always interesting, always informative, an excellent opportunity to learn more about the workings of the League.  ALL members are welcome.  Another date to schedule onto your busy calendar.  More information will follow in next month's newsletter.
League Book Group
The book selection for  10:00 on  Monday, January 9, is "This Changes Everything:  Capitalism vs The Climate" by Naomi Klein. Whether or not you can get to Annette Van Dusen's for this discussion, read this book.  In "This Changes Everything," Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn't just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It's an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Let Annette know if you'll be there by calling her at 
Beyond Our Dues:
Our League Needs Your Help, Too
It seemed like every charitable organization I ever knew of asked for a donation in December.  I understand there is an attraction to making one's donations before the year ends.  Often we understand the need but know there is a limit to the number of groups we are able to support.  When it comes to the Berrien/Cass League of Women Voters I decided to use my on line bill payment program as an easy way to make a monthly donation which will add up to a significant amount at year's end.  Of course, another easy way is to donate through our arrangement with the Pay Pal system. 
We have made it very easy:  Click here to go to the "Support the League" section in our website.  Now just click on the "Donate" button.  You will see a place to make a one-time donation and/or a place to make a checkmark to "Make this Recurring (Monthly)."  Then click the word "Continue" below and just above the images of all the credit cards.  There you will have a chance to "Pay with Credit Card or Log In [to PayPal which isn't necessary].  And follow the prompts from there.  No amount is too large or too small.
If you have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to call our Treasurer, John Ripley, at 847-363-1179 (his mobile phone) or email lwvbcc@gmail.com.
Our local League is committed to educating citizens about issues important to us all: open government, money in politics, voter rights, environmental issues and many other topics which we believe are vital to educating voters.  Please help us purchase materials, host speakers and deliver programs. We will use your donation(s) prudently.  Thank you. -- 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 me at 269 449 2225 or e-mail me at chris_zilke@yahoo.com.
LWVBCC: Contact Us

P.O. Box 1032
Niles, MI 49120

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League Board Meeting:
Planning, Thursday, Jan. 5
Three Oaks Library. 
League Book Group
Monday, Jan. 9, 10 a.m.
Van Dusen/Ennis residence, 1220 W. Indiana, New Buffalo. "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate"
Dues Payment Deadline
Tues., Jan. 31
Individual $60; Household $85. Payment will keep you in our directory. Join us!
New Board Meeting Schedule. Begins Feb. 14. 
As of  Feb. 14, we will meet on the 2nd Tues. of each month rather than the 3rd  Tuesday.  Board meetings are at  1:00pm.
LWV Michigan Biennial Convention, May 19-21
Kellogg Convention Center, 
East Lansing.
Welcome New Members!
Laura Desilets
Pauline Furner
Kimberly Kuriata
Dorothy D. Parker
Jeannine Warner
LWVBCC Board of Directors
Christiana Zilke, President
Karen Ristau, Secretary
John Ripley, Treasurer
Dutton/Stepanek, Membershp
Bette Pierman, Environment
Liz Ennis, Health & Social Svc
Marilyn Klawiter, At-Large

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

Webmaster Mike McCaffrey

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December Holiday Party

The Stepanek residence was a perfect setting for our December League party -- warm, inviting, lively.  It's so pleasant to socialize with such a fine group of members away from our more "official" functions. Thank you so much, Lorraine and Jim, for offering your beautiful home for this gathering which featured more than 30 members and guests on a night memorable for its blowing snow and shivering temperatures.

A Few Dues Envelopes Are Dragging Their Feet! 
Perhaps Yours is One of Those Stuck in an Outbox???
Our highly valuable League Roster goes to press in early February.  To be in the Roster for the 2017 calendar year, your dues must be received by 
January 31, 2017.  Our U.S. League and MI League dues are based on members who are "current."  So... to avoid a Dreaded Phone Call Reminder by one of your oh-so-friendly Board members, please write your renewal check today or renew via Paypal. Just Click Here.  AND if your address, phone number, e-mail address or other relevant information has changed, please let us know BEFORE January 31. Your continued membership is more important than ever and valued greatly. 

Environmental News
President Obama on December 20 moved to secure his environmental legacy by withdrawing hundreds of millions of acres of federally owned land in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans by permanently banning off-shore drilling and exploration. This was an issue promoted by the LWV, so we can be grateful that more protections are now in place. This action was coordinated with similar steps taken by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to shield large areas of that nation's Arctic waters from drilling. (Neither measure affects leases that are already held by oil and gas companies and drilling activity in state waters.)

The Southwest Michigan Group of the Sierra Club's Michigan Chapter is asking residents to contact Governor Snyder to express concern regarding bills that would disallow local regulation of plastic bags and increase Michigan's speed limits.

Canadian company Entergy announced that it is closing Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in Oct., 2018. This has caused great discussion in this state as to how the energy production can be replaced and the loss of 600 jobs that will leave a hole in the area's economy. There will be much work to do as this plant closes involving the decom-missioning efforts. Hopefully, clean, renewable-energy production facilities will be invited to locate in the area to help fulfill these needs.

Finally, if you have been paying attention, our environment -- and those who have been working so tirelessly to protect it -- is going to be facing major challenges in the coming months and years. The talk of deregulation and undoing of existing protections that have been in place does not bode well for future generations. The LWV members will need to be ready to act as needed.  Happy New Year!
-- Bette Pierman
News from LWV Lake Michigan Region
LWVLMR meets quarterly -- three times a year in Chicago and once, the annual organizational/general/membership meeting, rotating among the four member states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin). 
Though we'll be a bit "off schedule" in delaying the next annual meeting until November of 2017, the benefit is that it will be held in conjunction with the State of Lake Michigan Conference in Green Bay, WI.   Other groups that will be represented are HOW (Healing our Waters) and the Great Lakes Beach Association.  It is anticipated that several other Great Lakes affiliated organizations will sign up.  The LWVLMR Board will firm up at its March meeting the exact dates for our own participation and meeting(s).    
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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