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   League of Women 
 Voters of Berrien 
 & Cass Counties

June, 2017
60th Anniversary Gala Celebration Deadline

Please Join Us

at our 60th Anniversary Gala


and Annual Dinner Meeting! 

Place: Sarett Nature Center, 
2300 North Benton Center Road, Benton Harbor, MI  
When:  5:30-8:30p.m., Thursday, June 15

Guests to be Honored for their Contributions to Participation in Community:
The Pokagon Fund
Calling All Colors
All God's Children Community Choir

Members of the choir will end the evening with songs celebrating the evening's theme: PARTICIPATION AND COMMUNITY.

Guests are welcome to arrive early and enjoy walking the nature trails as guests of Sarett. Accordingly, casual dress is encouraged.

Reservations required not later than May 31.   
Please join us!

To make your reservation and make payment by May 31, either (a) 
click here to pay by PayPal,
 or (b) mail your check now for $30 per person payable to "LWVBCC" at P.O.Box 1032, Niles, MI  49120. Be sure to tell us your name, address, email address, and names of those attending with you.

Taste-tested, 5-Star Menu. $30 per person:

Hors d'Oeuvres

Crudite' shooters - fresh cut vegetables nestled into a shot glass and served with a tangy herb buttermilk dipping sauce.

Bruschetta - lightly toasted baguette slices - brushed with olive oil and garlic. Served with plum tomatoes, garlic and olive oil and fresh basil.

Spinach Artichoke Dip - Savory spinach and cream cheese mixed with roasted artichoke heartsand baked with four different cheeses for a mouthwatering combination - served on artisan crackers.

Plated Salad: Fresh garden greens nestled with fresh berries, toasted sliced almonds and tangy goat cheese. Served with a raspberry vinaigrette. Warm bread and butter basket.

Dinner: Apricot Chicken - slow roasted chicken, baked with fennel, ginger, soy, apricot nectar until a beautiful mahogany color - served with rice, dried cranberries and green onions.

Pork Loin with Michigan Dark Cherries - our pork loin is sautéed in butter low and slow until golden brown - served with a compote of Michigan Dark Cherries and Port wine butter sauce served with our divine mashed potatoes with cheddar cheese and haricot verts (French green beans) with almonds

Pasta Primavera - Rigatoni covered in a roasted grape tomato sauce with roasted vegetables, pesto and Parmesan cheese - drizzled with olive oil

Dessert: An assortment of our delectable miniature cupcakes with sweet buttercream. Also featuring our double dutch chocolate brownie bites with walnuts , topped off with our dark chocolate buttercream.

Bon Appetit!

Annual Meeting Notes 

Proposed 2017-2018 Budget

This year, in the interest of saving "clutter", the proposed 2017-2018  budget is available by CLICKING HERE* and will not be available in  printed form at our meeting. Please review this information now.

You will be asked to approve this budget at our June 15 meeting. IF YOU  HAVE QUESTIONS or concerns, please e-mail me (chris_zilke@yahoo.com or  John Ripley at lwvbcc@gmail.com) for clarification prior to June 10. Thank you.

Proposed By-Law Changes

Proposed by-law changes are available by CLICKING HERE*. As with the proposed budget, if you have questions or concerns, please e-mail Marilyn Klawiter at klawiter@hughes.net no later than June 10. We will not be distributing copies of the bylaws on June 15.

Board Nominations

The following members of LWVBCC are nominated to a two-year term on its Board of Directors:
Linda Cheek
Kathleen Fleming (currently serving, having been appointed by the
     Board during the 2016-17 fiscal year to fill a vacancy)
Marilyn Klawiter*
Michad McCaffrey (new webmaster)
Dorothy Parker (currently serving, having been appointed by the
     Board during the 2016-17 fiscal year to fill a vacancy)
Jane Raymond
John Ripley*
Karen Ristau*
Christiana Zilke*
*Completing a two-year term and nominated to a new two-year term
Donna Dutton will continue on the Board, to serve the second year of her two-year term.

*For Windows 10 users, you may have to click on these two links, then save the documents to your desktop.  Click on them there and the documents should open for you from the desktop.
President's Message 

Dorothy Parker, John Ripley and I attended the LWVMichigan biennium this past weekend at the Kellogg Center on the Michigan State University campus.  Leagues from throughout the state sent a total of 121 delegates to convention.

The central theme was set forth last year by LWVUS:  Making Democracy  Work.  
Core issues are 
1.  Voter Protection and Mobilization
2.  Election Reform
3.  Money in Politics, Constitutional Convention,                                        and Redistricting

Zoe Clark
Three energized speakers - each of whom energized us! - were Gilda Jacobs, MI League for Public Policy; Zoe Clark, program director of Michigan Radio; and Chris Hackbarth, Michigan Municipal League.   Mr. Hackbarth spoke to us about Michigan's broken financing system and said much of his time is spent educating members new to our congress and senate (83 new faces as of January) about current laws on the books. He noted that surprisingly (or perhaps not??) some new legislators don't understand where the money comes from, where it goes, even how it's appropriated. He cited statistics concerning cities, towns, villages and townships and the hardships created for these entities because of legislative decisions - or lack thereof.  His was an eye-opening presentation.

Workshops included Voter Registration, Engaging our Membership, Natural Resources Update, Moderator Training, League Fundraising and From Program to Advocacy. 

Saturday Plenary Session
W e all learned a lot and intend to use new and updated information to continue working to improve LWVBCC.

You've gotten multiple invitations/reminders about our June 15  60th anniversary celebration/annual dinner event.  If you haven't done so, please make your reservation today.  Deadline is June 1. 
Looking forward to seeing you there ...
Convention Report: Dorothy Parker

I had the opportunity to attend the LWVMichigan convention. It was a very enlightening and educational experience.  I was able to talk with members of other leagues in the state and discuss strategies that may improve league participation. 

Suggestions included having meetings in the evenings, providing child care and using social media & technology to attract the millennials. It was also stated that there may be individuals who are unable to attend meetings but are willing to work on things at home, such as making phone calls. There was discussion on the importance of the upcoming midterm elections and redistricting for the state legislature. LWVMichigan supports the "formation of an independent redistricting commission in lieu of the legislature as the primary redistricting body."
I attended the workshop on Voter Registration. This workshop discussed new and traditional venues to register voters. Below are a few highlights from that workshop:
  • Venues: Community events, colleges & university, community agencies, housing complexes, farmers markets, public library, senior housing complexes
  • Mock elections in schools
  • Go into class rooms to register seniors and inform them of the election process/youth voter registration program
  • Take sample ballot and list of public officials when doing voter registration and education
  • Information on voting rights can be obtained from the ACLU
  • Supplies for voter registration can be found on the Secretary of State website
Watch for Marilyn Klawiter's  Upcoming Report on 
Judge Charles LaSata's Presentation on his "Swift and Sure" Program

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. 

More to come (time, place, details for the September 7 meeting) next month from Marilyn.
Important Dates!

Thursday, June 15 -  LWVBCC 60-year celebration and recognition  dinner, Sarett Nature Center. 

Monday, July 17 - Book Group - 
We will be reading Sex and the Constitution, the new book by University of Chicago Professor Geoffrey Stone, but any reading you wish to do on sex discrimination worldwide is welcome.

LWVBCC: Contact Us

P.O. Box 1032
Niles, MI 49120

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LWVBCC 60-Year Gala Anniversary Celebration, Thursday, June 15
Sarett Nature Center 
See details at left
Tuesdau. July 11
League Board Meeting
Niles District Library
Monday, July 17
League Book Group
Details to follow
Thursday, Sept. 7
Presentation from Judge Charles LaSata on Berrien "Swift and Sure" program.
Details to follow.
Board of Directors
Chris Zilke, President
Karen Ristau,  Secretary
John Ripley, Treasurer
Donna Dutton, Membership
Liz Ennis, Health & Social Serv.
Marilyn Klawiter, At Large

Webmaster Mike McCaffrey

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The League:  Helping to Make Democracy Work Since 1920!
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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