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   League of Women 
 Voters of Berrien 
 & Cass Counties

May, 2017
President's Message 

Our Nominating Committee is meeting to put forward a slate of officers for the 2017-2018 fiscal year which begins July 1.  If you are ready to step up and serve on the board, please contact Donna Dutton to offer your time, energy, and knowledge to LWVBCC.  If you've not yet put your name "in the hat" and are contacted and asked to serve, please say "Yes, I will!"  I can assure you you'll be happy you did.

Four of us will be attending LWVMichigan biennium this month.  The event is being held in East Lansing and, along with all the usual business being conducted, a number of new or updated initiatives will be brought forth for discussion and action.  One request for action will be presented by the Leelanau chapter related to Enbridge's Line 5 which runs under the Straits of Mackinac.  You will recall that our group hosted a showing of the documentary "Great Lakes, Bad Lines" in November concerning age and safety-related issues of this tar-oil-sands-carrying pipeline.  I do believe action will be taken and we will be able to advocate our representatives concerning this issue.

If you haven't already done so, please put the June 15  60th anniversary celebration/annual dinner event on your calendar. 
Looking forward to seeing you soon ...
Important Dates!

     M onday, May 8  - League Board meeting, 1:00, Niles District  Library.   Please note date and location change.  
     Friday, May 19 to Sunday, May 21 - LWVMI Biennium in Lansing.  A ll LWVBCC members may attend. Go to http://lwvmi.org   for details and registration information.
     Thursday, May 25 - Pokagon-sponsored in-service on "Tell Your Story, Measure Your Impact" Go to https://pokagonfund.org/upcoming-events to sign up as required.
     >>>Thursday, June 15 -  LWVBCC 60-year celebration and recognition  dinner, Sarett Nature Center.  Many details to follow!!<<<
     Monday, July 17 - Book Group - 
We will be reading Sex and the Constitution, the new book by University of Chicago Professor Jeff Stone, but any reading you wish to do on sex discrimination worldwide is welcome.

Substance Abuse in Southwest Michigan: Seeing the Problem and Finding Solutions
      The problem is severe. The number of deaths from drug overdose in the United States is close to the number of deaths in the Vietnam conflict.  Only nine states exceed Michigan in the number of deaths from overdose. 
     At a luncheon hosted by Lakeland Health Systems on April 26, professional staff, led by Dr. Lowell Hamel, Lakeland's Chief Medical Officer, described the scope of the opioid  problem and Lakeland's efforts to address it.          Brandi Smith Gordon's presentation      Before that discussion got underway, Brandi Smith-Gordon, President of Lakeland Health Foundations (above), showed a brief video of plans and goals for construction currently underway at Lakeland's St. Joseph campus.  The focus of the plans, she said, is to improve health outcomes by incorporating into the design an understanding of the ways patients heal.
     Then the focus shifted to one area of healing: pain relief and the abuse of opioids.  Dr. Christopher Harvey, head of the Lakeland Controlled Substance Committee, described  locally-developed guidelines for treatment of chronic pain.  The guidelines focus on working with patients to set realistic goals for treatment of pain, understand the risks of various options, and commit to using only one provider to manage their opiate therapy.
     Dr. Robert Nolan, Lakeland's Emergency Services Chief, acknowledged the proper but very limited use of narcotics for short-term relief of severe pain, the ways in which those limits have been exceeded, the role of pharmaceutical marketing in the development of the problem, and what is being done to rein in those uses. One concrete step in emergency services has been to limit the number of pain relief tablets prescribed and the time during which they are taken.
     Michael Getty, Lakeland's Director of Integrated Analytics, emphasized the use of statistics, gathered in part through coordinated computerized health care records, in addressing these problems.  The goals, he said, are (1) don't start people on narcotics in the first place; and (2) get people who are on narcotics off them.  Statistics can play a significant role in working toward those goals.
     Dr. Hamel then opened the floor to questions from the audience.  His responses-based, as at the beginning, on statistics-made clear the alarming scope of the problem of too many prescriptions for opioids, the exacerbation of the problem by the interaction with mental health issues, the inadequacy of local current treatment options, and Lakeland's continuing commitment to addressing the problems in the best way it can.  --Marilyn Klawiter
Ways to Live More Sustainably
     Every day we make choices in our lives that affect the environment, the climate and other species.  Among those choices, here are a few that are easy to practice:
     1. Think twice before shopping.  Every product we purchase has an environmental  footprint, from the materials used to create it to the pollution emitted during manu-facturing to the packaging that ends up in landfills.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
     2. Make sure big purchases have big environmental benefits .  Buying a new refrigerator, washer, dryer??  Look for the Energy Star label to find the most efficient appliances.
     3. Ditch the plastic.  Plastic never goes away.    Bring reusable bags when you shop.  Ditch one-time use water and other drink bottles.  Avoid products made from or packaged in plastic whenever possible.
     4. Boycott products that endanger wildlife.  Shop conscientiously and look for products made from sustainable materials - never from endangered wildlife.
     5. Pay attention to labels.  When possible, choose goods to support companies dedicated to sustainable production and paying laborers a fair wage.  Buy organic food whenever possible.  Support your local farmers markets.
     6. Be water wise.  Skip bottled water and soft drinks.  Take shorter showers, fix leaky toilets.  Keep  pollutants out of your groundwater and watershed.
     7. Drive less, drive green.  Walk, bike or carpool whenever possible.  Combine errands to make fewer trips.  Keep your car in shape with regular tune-ups and tire inflations.  Tune-ups can increase fuel efficiency.
     8. Green your home.  Add adequate insulation and energy-saving windows.  Use a programmable thermostat for more efficient heating and cooling, energy-saving light bulbs for more efficient lighting, etc.

And...We Invite 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 269 449 2225 or e-mail chris_zilke@yahoo.com.
LWVBCC: Contact Us

P.O. Box 1032
Niles, MI 49120

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Next League Board Meeting:
May 8
Niles District Library, Niles
LWV Michigan Biennial Convention, May 19-21
Kellogg Convention Center, 
East Lansing.  All LWVBCC members may attend.  Go to http://lwvmi.org
for details and registration information.
Thursday, May 25 - Pokagon-sponsored in-service on "Tell Your Story, Measure Your Impact" 
to https://pokagonfund.org/upcoming-events to sign up as required.
LWVBCC 60-Year Anniversary Celebration, June 15
Sarett Nature Center 
Special Announcement and invitation 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 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