Making Democracy Work

Helping to Make Democracy Work Since 1920!

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.

Lunch with the League Wednesday, September 9

Come to Coach's Bar & Grill on September 9 to hear Brian Kissman, local/international educator, speak on America's Literacy Crisis. The public is welcome as well as members but an RSVP is appreciated for planning purposes. See the News page and the Calendar page for more information.

LWVBCC & Fernwood Sponsor "A Conversation on Poverty"

Pictured here left to right are Pat Lauth, LWVBCC board member and one of the meeting organizers, Chris Zilke, LWVBCC president, and Robin Emenaker, Steering Committee member of Cass County Bridges Out of Poverty. Bridges was the organization providing the presentation at this special worshop at Fernwood on July 14.

We all learned a lot about poverty, about the hidden rules and what you can and cannot buy with food stamps and about how clever and resourceful poor people are in their struggle to provide for themselves and their families. We also decided the problem is massive and requires fundamental changes in public policy.

Judge Butzbaugh Speaks at June 16 Annual Meeting

Judge Alfred M. Butzbaugh, retired Chief Judge of the Berrien County Court, was the featured speaker at the Annual Meeting & Dinner held the evening of June 16 at Orchard Hills Country Club in Buchanan. The Judge spoke to a full house on "Poverty and Justice". Also attending and speaking briefly were Patti Ceresa Assistant Prosecutor of Berrien County, Mary Drolet of Legal Aid of Western Michigan and Dee Kuelbs, Director of the Self-Help Legal Resource Center.

LWVBCC is studying poverty and decided poverty and the legal system merited a very special speaker like Judge Butzbaugh. While Chief Judge, Butzbaugh instituted the Court's staffed Self-Help Center and the Mental Health Court. He continues to have a strong interest in the plight of those unable to afford a lawyer in both the criminal and civil courts.

Hard copies of the LWVBCC Annual Report for the 2014-15 year were distributed at the meeting. The electronic version of the Report is available here.

"Saving Lake Michigan" Lunch Meeting at Fernwood May 28

Almost 50 members and friends gathered at Fernwood on May 28 to hear the presentation by three members of the LWV of the Lake Michigan Region on the many threats to the lake. These range from excessive nutrients causing algae blooms, to stormwater contamination, to zebra mussels and Asian carp. Besides the big picture issues, the panelists talked about things we can each do to protect our creeks and lakes.

Notable was Jeanette Neagu, the old warrior who for years has fought tirelessly on behalf of Lake Michigan and who says she is too old to beat around the bush. As she spoke, her third grandchild was being born. Clearly on her mind, but it didn't keep her home. Jeanette is on the left in the picture. Also speaking was Cheryl Chapman (far right above next to Chis Zilke) and Henrietta Saunders, president of LWVLMR, substituting ably for Krista Grimm (next to Jeanette).

LWVBCC Sends Large Team to LWVMI Convention

A delegation of seven represented LWVBCC at the LWV of Michigan Convention May 15-17 in Kalamazoo. Pictured left to right are Liz Ennis, Earl Bickett, Susan Gilbert, Pat Lauth, Chris Zilke, Melissa Clapper and John Ripley. Also attending but not as delegates were Carla Ripley, Nancy Calme and Geoff Gilbert.

At the end of the convention, Sue Smith passed the gavel to the new LWVMI President Judy Karandjeff. Judy was formerly VP for Advocacy.

Four LWVBCC members received Belle Ringer Awards (named for the first President of LWVMI Belle Brotherton). Present to accept were Liz Ennis (advocacy) and John Ripley (voter service), pictured here. Others to receive awards were Donna Dutton (membership) and Ginny Washburn (development). A 5th award will be presented at the LWVBCC Annual Meeting. Also, photo at right of President Chris Zilke at the podium.

LWVBCC Newsletters

View our informative e-newsletter, published almost monthly. The July 2015 newsletter is now available. It is a copy of an e-newsletter and does not have the same professional appearance as the original. If you would like to join our mailing list email