Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

August 23, 2019
In This Issue:
Elayne Berger, At-Large
Nancy Dimattio, Recorder
Trish Farrington, Publicity
Bonnie Isman, Voter Service
Ann Kieser, At-Large
Phyllis Lehrer, Membership
Susan Millinger, E-bulletin
Deanna Pearlstein, Event Organization
Janice Ratner, Treasurer
Adrienne Terrizzi, Spokesperson
August 25, 10 a.m to noon, Women's Equality Day Breakfast,The Boylston Room, Keystone Mill, 122 Pleasant St, Easthampton. See below for info.
August 1-31, Library opening hours, Exhibit on the History of LWVA, Jones Library.
Sept. 4, 12 noon,   Naturalization Oath Ceremony,  Woodbury Room, Jones Library
Sept. 6, Byline with Stan Rosenberg begins its second season on Amherst Media.
Sept. 9, 1-3 p.m., Steering Committee Meeting, 496 Montague Rd.  All  LWV Members are welcome, but please give the host advance notice of your plan to attend.
Sept 9, 6:30 p.m., An Evening with State Rep Jen Benson, Anne T Dunphy School, Williamsburg. Registration necessary: see below.
Sept. 11, 1:30 p.m., Centennial Commemorations committee Meeting, Panera Bread. Join us to help plan celebratory events. All are welcome. Meeting day and time subject to alteration. Contact editor to check.
 Sept. 12, 5:15-6:45 p.m., Field Training Session led by  Voter ChoiceMA,  Classroom A, Unitarian Universalist Society, 121 North Pleasant St. See below for more information.
Sept. 16, 3 p.m. Book Group begins with Rilla Askew's Fire in Beulah, Applewood.
Sept. 19, Amherst's Block Party. Stop by LWVAmherst's Voter Registration table.
Sept. 20 Global Climate Youth Strike (See LWVMA News for more information.)
Sept. 24, National Voter Registration Day.
Sept. 26, 7 p.m., Opening Meeting, Amherst Woman's Club. Speaker Stuart Naifeh, Voting Rights Lawyer. See below for more info. Save the Date!
Sept 27-28, Connecticut River Conservancy's Source to the Sea clean-up. For info on Fort River clean-up Sept 27, see below.
Oct. 7, 1-3 p.m., Steering Committee Meeting, TBA .
Oct 17, 10 noon ,  LWVMA's Day on the Hill. Keynote Speaker: Senate Pres. Karen Spilka. More info in Sept e-bulletin.

To subscribe to the e-bulletin, visit and click on the blue tab "Sign up for Email Updates".
Don't forget to visit the Amherst League of Women Voters Facebook page and "like" us. Marla Jamate, our Facebook editor, does a great job and deserves a wider LWVA audience!


A message from this month's chair, Trish Farrington

   On July 1 the boxes of books started arriving at the Fort River School gym.  50,000 of them.  For the next month dozens of us, members and non members alike, set up, culled, sorted, carried, organized, categorized, publicized, helped children make books, put up posters, sweated, argued, laughed at each other's jokes, saw old friends, made new ones, greeted, cashiered, and at the end cleaned and readied the gym for the new school year. 

     A success...yet again.  Thanks especially to Cynthia and Jerry Brubaker and Kathy Campbell who led this endeavor with their unceasing effort, decision making, and problem solving.  Henry, our young indispensable hiree, needed little direction and never stopped working. Andre, a helpful substitute, was one of the other young, strong, accommodating guys there on clean-up day to make a hard job easier.  The large dramatic banner strung up downtown, a first, must have helped too!

     Many in the community equate the League with our annual book sale. And that's a good thing.  But as you'll read in the rest of this bulletin there are other events in September for you to get involved in--just as much fun and a lot less work.

BOOK SALE: some pictures
Incoming, July 3

Sorters at work July 17

Learning how to make books
Cullers at work, late July
Full tables, late July.

Browsers at sale 7/28

Break down with great helpers
Found: are they yours?

Members and their guests are invited to gather at 7 p.m. at the Amherst Woman's Club for a program in celebration of the Centennials of the LWV and the Women's Suffrage Amendment.  
Our speaker will be Stuart Naifeh, a voting rights lawyer working to reduce barriers to political participation in the United States, particularly among people whose voices have traditionally been marginalized.  Mr. Naifeh is currently senior counsel at Demos. 

Through advocacy and litigation, Mr. Naifeh works to ensure compliance with the National Voter Registration Act's requirement that states offer individuals who apply for public assistance the opportunity to register to vote.  Mr. Naifeh also works to redefine the role of business in American society by challenging traditional understandings of social progress and reducing the influence of corporations in the political process.

Click here for more information on our speaker.                     
Women's Equality Day Breakfast, Sunday, August 25

The Breakfast was started last year to honor women's leadership in the Pioneer Valley in hopes of inspiring greater participation in all levels of government. This year is the 99th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, so the focus of the event is A Celebration of the Right to Vote.

Amherst resident and LWVAmherst member Lucy Wilson Benson, former President of the National League of Women Voters and HHS Secretary under Governor Dukakis, was honored in 2018. This year an award in her name will be given to Hampden County Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney. Both Lucy and Judge Sweeney have shown leadership in their respective fields with their professionalism and grit. As it turns out, both local women have also had a national impact through their work. 

 League members are invited to attend the breakfast, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Boylston Room in Keystone Mill, 122 Pleasant St, Easthampton. Tickets are $25 in advance; $30 at the door. Click here to purchase tickets. All proceeds from the event go to support the Women's Equality Day Breakfast.


      Naturalization Ceremony, September 4

 League members: we have been invited to attend the naturalization ceremony on September 4 at 12 noon in the Woodbury Room of the Jones Library.

Judge Katherine A Robertson will preside at the ceremony as we celebrate new Americans joining our community. Join us for an event which promises to be especially moving this year.
An Evening with State Rep Jen Benson
Northampton Area LWV has just informed the editor, as this ebulletin is being wrapped up, that State Rep Natalie Blais is hosting a visit from Rep Jen Benson, the sponsor of important environmental bills H2808 and H2810. Rep Benson will be speaking at Anne T Dunphy School in Williamsburg starting at 6:30 p.m. on Sept 9. Registration is necessary: register here.

Given the importance to LWVMA of the climate emergency, this is an excellent opportunity to hear and show support for Rep Benson and her bills, especially 2808, an Act to promote green infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions, which LWVMA supports. Benson represents 37th Middlesex, a district which includes Harvard and Shirley.
              Ballot Question Petition Collection Time Approaches!
               Training Session September 12 

Want to be a better collector of signatures on ballot question petitions? A more effective canvasser or phone-bank participant whether for a candidate or an issue campaign? Attend the training session offered to League members and open to the general public provided by VoterChoiceMA. Thursday, September 12, 5:15-6:45 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Society's Classroom A. 121 North Pleasant St. This event is free and open to the public.

VoterChoiceMA is a nonpartisan organization advocating for Ranked Choice Voting: our keynote speaker at last fall's Opening Meeting was from VoterChoiceMA. By September 4th we will know if a Ranked Choice Voting question will be on the 2020 ballot. However, the  training is applicable to any issue or candidate campaign.
Photo thanks to the Connecticut River Conservancy
Connecticut River Source to Sea Clean-up September 27 & 28 --Fort River Watershed Clean-up Sept 28, 9:30-noon

The Connecticut River, New England's longest river at 406 miles, needs our help. The Source to Sea Cleanup, organized by the Connecticut River Conservancy, provides that help every year. Our own Interleague Connecticut River Committee urges us to participate.

Last year's Source to Sea Cleanup on the entire length of the River removed 46 tons of material. This amount included 1,150 tires, 22,101 beverage containers, construction materials, other auto gear, styrofoam, pharmaceuticals & personal care, scrap metal, 18 mattresses, electronics & appliances, 49 pieces of furniture, and numerous toys. This astonishing amount was removed from the River by 2,853 volunteers and 187 participating organizations.

This year, as part of the Conservancy's cleanup, the Fort River Watershed Association will host a cleanup in Amherst on Saturday, September 28, 9:30 to noon. This Amherst gathering will concentrate on work in the Fort River watershed area. The Fort River (Hadley), Mill River (Hadley) and Bachelor Brook (South Hadley) are the three local tributaries of the 148 tributaries of the Connecticut River. This event will begin in Groff Park, Mill Lane at Route 116. .
For more information go to the Conservancy's website or contact Elizabeth Davis ( Please consider participating in this event in September, or tell your friends, children or grandchildren about it.

News from LWVA's Committees
New Opportunities: New Committee and New Task Force
On-going Committees Active 

To commemorate the Centennials of the National and State Leagues as well as the Suffrage Amendment, a committee is being organized: please consider joining it

The Centennial Commemoration committee held its first meeting on August 13, starting to develop plans for events we can create, co-sponsor, or collaborate on. Its members would like to organize a conversation of current members' experiences of the Amherst League of earlier decades for a view of our earlier history. Involving students, from middle school to college, in the celebration of woman's suffrage is a priority. Here perhaps we can collaborate with teachers with the same goal. Could we have a field trip to sites associated with workers for woman's suffrage? These are some of the ideas the committee is considering.

Come and join us, bringing your own ideas and expertise. Contact one of the members: Barbara Pearson, Jessica Ryan, Adrienne Terrizzi, or Kathy Vorwerk, whether to join the committee, provide suggestions about commemorative events, or simply learn more.

And don't forget:

80th Anniversary Celebration Continues: Display at the Jones Library

The League continues its 80th Anniversary celebration with a display in the Jones Library during the month of August. The event also serves as a kick off for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage and of the founding of the League of Women Voters.
New Task Force on Funding Requests Looking for Members
How should the Amherst League respond to requests for funding? How large a sum of money should be available for grants? What groups or causes should we fund? What process should be followed? These are the sorts of questions that the new Task Force on Funding Requests has been given. If you are interested in joining the Task Force to develop answers to these questions, contact Ann Kieser

Bylaw Review Committee Looking for Member Volunteers

Another short-term committee looking for additional members is the new Bylaw Review Committee. Whether you're already familiar with LWVA's bylaws, would like to learn what they are, or are anywhere in between, the committee would like you as a member. For more information and/or to express interest in joining, contact Adrienne Terrizzi.

Affordable Housing News

Advocates continue to work on affordable housing. There will be a forum on October 28; in the meantime, for the East Street project, (family housing at the site of the East Street School) - the town has issued a request for proposals.  While the official deadline for responses is the beginning of October but that may be extended.  This "request" is to find out who would want to actually build the units and the configuration they think is realistic.

East Street School.
Health Care for All:
From the Department of "Small Successes"   
In addition to participating in health care advocacy at the local level, I participate with about 20 colleagues from around the country in a League Health Care Reform committee (HCR4US).  One of our 2018-2019 projects was to get to update its "Other Issues" >> "Health Care Reform" page to reflect the League's longtime support of health justice through Single Payer/ Medicare for All initiatives.  The current page includes more non-health info than health care -and hasn't been updated since 2017.  So, several of us (chaired by yours truly) wrote several times to the Director of Communications and Digital Strategy with suggestions for minimal additions to the text and some examples of "Featured Content" items.  Well, we didn't get what we asked for, BUT we *were* given a spot on the League Management site for a "Toolkit for Healthcare." (Link at bottom right of home page, then "Other Issues Tools in Depth.")  It's a start (!)
Meanwhile, closer to home, watch for fellow Health Care Committee member Diana Stein and me to appear on the Friday September 13 8 pm "Byline with Stan Rosenberg."  Topic: Resolution of support.
--Barbara Pearson 
 And this year are celebrating their 25th anniversary!
Book discussions began in 1994, organized by Liz Chilton and Alice Epstein.
 Phyllis Lehrer, the current organizer, has been a member since the beginning   
Phyllis reports that the first book was  Artist in the Floating World, by Nobel Prize-winning British author Kazuo Ishiguro.

Here is the book list for the coming year:
Sept. 16: Fire in Beulah, Rilla Askew
Oct. 21: Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
Nov. 18: Sisters-in-Law, Linda Hirshman
Jan. 20: A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
Feb. 17: U nderground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
March 16: Sweat, Lynn  Nottage
April 20: A Man Called Ove. The movie is based on the book of that name by Fredrik Backman
May 18: The Rose and Fall of Adam and Eve, Stephen Greenblatt
June 15: Becoming, Michell Obama
July 20: Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

Occasionally bad weather leads to a cancellation and even a postponement of a discussion to another month. So keep an eye on the e-bulletin's Calendar, which lists the book of the month.
The group meets at 3 p.m. at Applewood except in January. and February, when it meet at 2:30 p.m.
Would you like to join? Read the book and come to Applewood.

Following an energetic 8 months and 30 programs chronicling the transitions and issues facing the new Town government under the Home Rule Charter, 'Byline with Stan Rosenberg" will launch its second season on Friday, Sept. 6th. It will continue working to help build public knowledge of structuring an entire new form of government while meeting the daily challenges of town business.

This is your League program! Kicking off our Fall Season #2 is Town Council President Lynn Griesemer's update on the Council's upcoming agenda and the capital projects on everyone's mind. This interview will be followed by our very own League Health Care Committee members Diana Stein and Barbara Pearson advocating for a Resolution Supporting an Act Establishing Medicare for All in Massachusetts - S693 and H1194-- to be discussed by Council later this fall.  
Other programs scheduled for September include the newly constituted Energy and Climate Action Committee, Assistant Town Manager David Ziomek on his town roles, our quarterly Beacon Hill update with Rep. Mindy Domb and others. Watch this space in the September e-Bulletin for the full schedule.
Pictured is Angela Mills, Executive Administrator to the Town Manager and Community Participation Officer. Her interview, 
broadcast on August 9, concluded Byline's first 8 month, 30 program season. This informative episode highlights the late August and September activities of the CPOs. It can be found at, along with all prior broadcasts,

Report of Town Council Meeting of July 1, 2019    
 League Observer: Barbara Pearson 
  Board Members: All present but Bahle-Milne of District 5

*       Eleven citizens commented on the Northampton Road Studio Apartment
project (9 in favor, 2 opposed) and one citizen commented about creating a town committee on refugees.
  *       The council approved a $500,000 bond to support the Northampton Road
Project (11-0-1-1).
*       Appointments to many commissions and committees were approved
*       Athena O'Keefe was voted in for Clerk of the Council, the position
having been separated from the Town Clerk position.  She was then sworn in by
President Griesmer,    
For the Observer's detailed account of this meeting, see the LWVA website.
On the website are links to the agenda, meeting packets, Amherst Media recordings and (after approval) official minutes of each meeting.  Agenda and meeting packets are posted in advance on the Council web page.
Openings on Town Committees and Boards
  Town Manager Seeks Members for Boards & Committees
The Town Manager is seeking volunteers to serve on numerous Town Boards. Boards and Committees that have vacancies:

Public Art Commission (interviews yet to be scheduled)
Disability Access Advisory Committee (interviews scheduled for 9/4)
Registrars of Voters (interviews scheduled for 8/26)
Water Supply Protection
The Town Manager will also be scheduling interviews later in September for:
Cultural Council
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Advisory Committee
Community Preservation Act Committee (CPAC)
Leisure Services and Supplemental Education Commission (LSSE)
Munson Memorial Building Trustees
Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC)

For information on these committees, click here

The Town Manager seeks residents who have relevant expertise or experience. The Town Manager is especially seeking individuals of diverse backgrounds to serve on all boards, committees, and commissions. If you are interested in volunteering to serve, please fill out a Community Activity Form here.

If you have questions, reach out to our Community Participation Officers by visiting their page at the Town of Amherst website.
LWVMA Official Co-Sponsor of MA Youth Climate Strike
  A Global Intergenerational Climate Strike is set for Friday, September 20, 2019.  As part of LWVMA's commitment to addressing the crisis of climate change, LWVMA has signed on as a co-sponsor of the Boston Youth Climate Strike. The September 20 strike is one of many global events leading up to the U.N.'s Climate Action Summit, in New York on September 23.
The Strike is a global effort powered by youth from around the world. Hundreds of students have been striking on Fridays since March to bring meaningful attention and political action on the climate emergency confronting us. These youth are asking for our help as adults. LWVMA is doing its part to support their effort as part of the larger plan of action.  
LWVMA asks us to register to participate in the Youth Climate Strike on September 20th, share information about the Climate Strike and the event registration link widely within your networks, and stay tuned for more specific details as they develop! 
For more information, click here or here.
LWVMA's Climate Emergency Plan of Action

At the June LWVMA Convention, League members unanimously supported a  Climate Emergency Resolution. (See the July e-bulletin for its text.) To begin acting on the resolution, the LWVMA Environmental Action and Advocacy Committee developed a plan of action, approved by the LWVMA Board on July 26, 2019.

The plan, available as a pdf at (search for Climate-Emergency-Plan; or go here and scroll to the 4th paragraph for the link ), sets two immediate goals of developing a detailed mobilization plan, including proposed actions at both the state and local levels, and developing a communications plan.

To meet the goals, the committee is offering seven specific actions for state and local Leagues to work on, i ncluding supporting the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20, asking local governments to adopt climate emergency language, including climate emergency questions at candidate forums, and developing ways to raise awareness of the climate emergency issue within our membership and throughout our communities.

New She is Me Campaign just launched by LWVUS "to re-introduce the League of Women Voters to new audiences in our 100th year. This campaign... features stories of our real League members, their work, and their commitment to defending democracy with our organization." Click here for more information.

LWVUS' statement on Climate Change: "Global climate change is one of the most serious threats facing our nation and our planet today. Increasingly severe consequences are projected for more people and more regions of the world unless we act now -- as individuals, as communities, and as a nation. For its part, the League is calling for prompt action to cut this country's GHG emissions, freeze construction of new coal-fired power plants, invest in a new clean energy economy, and help the world's poorest countries tackle the challenges of climate change."

Toolkit for Climate Change is available here; LWVUS Position on the Green New Deal is here.
E-bulletin Staff and Contributors in August 
The Editor of the LWVAmherst e-bulletin, Susan Millinger, can be contacted here. The Associate Editor is Trish Farrington; Janice Ratner proofreads the issues; Kay Fite checks the links. Contributors to the August 2019 e-bulletin include LWVA members Elisa Campbell, Elizabeth Davis,Trish Farrington, Phyllis Lehrer, Barbara Pearson (writing on Heath Care for All as well as Observer Corps reporter) and Adrienne Terrizzi.
This monthly message is for anyone interested in the League, not just members. If you know someone who might be interested, forward this message and invite them to subscribe themselves, using the link below.