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   League of Women 
 Voters of Berrien 
 & Cass Counties

July, 2017
President's Message 

Our annual dinner/60th Anniversary featuring a Community Participation and Contribution Celebration was a lovely event with a few surprises...all of them good!!  

The honoree representing The Pokagon Fund, Brian Daison, shared information many of us were not aware of about the many activities carried out by The Fund, but also honored us with a traditional song.  Terrific performance!
Larry and Sandy Feldman, founders of All God's Children Community Choir, introduced the group of 14 children, plus two of the group's directors.  Lovely 
group, lovely performance!  A real joy to hear.

Many thanks go to Board members Marilyn Klawiter and Karen Ristau for conceiving and shepherding the event; Liz Ennis and Annette Van Dusen for the individual table geraniums and beautiful awards for our honorees; Donna Dutton for the large florals at the serving tables; Dorothy Parker for introducing the Feldmans, Karen Ristau for introducing the Pokagons, 
and Dorothy and Melissa Clapper for checking guests in and to YOU for attending.

Undeniably, the best meal we've had at our annual dinner in several years was thanks to Melissa at Caitlan's Catering of Berrien Springs.  EVERYthing - from hors d'oeuvres to dessert - was delicious!  Thanks also to the group who helped set up and clean up.  

If you weren't there, you missed a fine evening of fun, good food and good company.  A FINE 60th Anniversary!
Judge LaSata's  "Swift and Sure" Program Presentation:  Don't Miss It!
     On September 7, 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 Sept. 7 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.
Important Dates!

Monday, July 17 10a.m. - Book Group -  
The group will meet at Ginny Burd's home.  Please call Ginny 269-465-3132 or email her at gviolin2@gmail.com by 7/15 if you plan to attend, to get directions, etc.  
Book recommendations are
"Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian Women"
by David Sales and Ghada Alatrash.  It looks very interesting and a high contrast to 
Sex and the Constitution, Religion the Law, the new book by University of Chicago Professor Geoffrey Stone But any reading you wish to do on sex discrimination worldwide is welcome.  And if you have not read Reading Lolita in Tehran
by Azar Nafisi, it should be read.
LWVBCC: Contact Us

P.O. Box 1032
Niles, MI 49120

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Thursday, July 13
League Board Meeting
Niles District Library
Monday, July 17
League Book Group
"Sex and the Constitution" by Geoffrey Stone, U. of Chicago Law School.  And "Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian Women," by David Salas and Ghada Alatrash.  Meet at Ginny Burd's home.  Call to let her know you are attending: 269-465-3132 by Saturday 7/15.
Thursday, Sept. 7
Presentation from Judge Charles LaSata on Berrien "Swift and Sure" program.
See details at left.
Board of Directors
Chris Zilke, President
Karen Ristau,  Secretary
John Ripley, Treasurer
Donna Dutton, Membership
Marilyn Klawiter, At Large
Linda Cheek
Kathleen Fleming
Michael McCaffrey, Webmaster
Jane Raymond

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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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