Green Jobs and Renewable Energy in West Virginia

Video produced by the League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Monongalia County with help from Mike Ellis of West TV on November 17, 2016.

November 2016 Morgantown Newsletter

Membership Meeting: Green Jobs and Renewable Energy

Our Membership Meeting will be held on Thursday, November 17, 7:00 – 9:00 at the Aull Center. Dr. Jim Kotcon will be the guest speaker. He will be talking on the topic of renewable energy and jobs in WV, including energy efficiency.

Dr. Kotcon is Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences in the School of Agriculture at WVU. He teaches courses on Sustainable Living and Environmental Impact Assessment. Among his research interests are organic agriculture, biological control, and biofuel crops. He has been part of the solar co-op for over a year, was recently elected Chair of the West Virginia Chapter of Sierra Club, and is an active volunteer with the West Virginia Environmental Council, Union of Concerned Scientists and other organizations.

We will have a social time with refreshments and will provide information about membership and opportunities for participation. Renew your energy, renew your membership and renew your involvement!

President’s Message

Thank you, Voters Service!   Once again, I was able to cast my votes at the polling place in an informed, comfortable, and decisive manner with the added advantage that I often had the opportunity to talk to the candidates in person.  For 2016, we offered five candidate forums for all contested Monongalia candidates and the levies; additionally, the State League provided a voters guide for state candidates.  The forums and the voters guide can be found respectively at http://videos.lwvwv.org and http://voters-guide.lwvwv.org .   The National League establishes that invitation criteria should be nonpartisan, fair and applied objectively.  The State League once considered whether we would support the criteria of the WV Public Broadcasting that often relies on polling popularity.  The unanimous consensus was absolutely not!  We will only sponsor/host debates and forums where all candidates legally registered to run on the ballot have been invited to participate.  While this means hard work, this year we estimate at least 500 hours in local effort, it also means that we provide the best education for voters.  Kudos to the League!

pdf iconLWVMM October 2016 Newsletter

Video – House of Delegates Candidate Forum – Monongalia 2016 General

Video produced by West TV at the October 13, 2016 Candidate Forum organized by the League of Women Voters Morgantown-Monongalia County.

Video – Senate Candidate Forum – Monongalia 2016 General

Video produced by West TV at the October 13, 2016 Candidate Forum organized by the League of Women Voters Morgantown-Monongalia County.

October 2016 Morgantown Newsletter

CANDIDATE FORUMS

There will be three Candidate Forums in October, one sponsored by Our Children, Our Future (OCOF), and two sponsored by our local LWV.

State Candidates

The OCOF candidate forum will be held on Tuesday, October 4, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at Wesley United Methodist Church, 503 N High Street. District 51 Legislative candidates have been invited to hear concerns related to Our Children, Our Future issues.

The first LWV Forum will be held Thursday, October 13, 7-9 p.m. at South Middle School (500 E. Parkway Drive). WV State Senate candidates for Districts 2, 13, and 14; and WV House of Delegates candidates for districts 5, 49 and 51 have been invited. Candidates will have time to introduce themselves and respond to questions from the audience. Bring your questions to be read by the moderator, and enjoy refreshments and informal conversation with the candidates after the forum.

County Candidates

The second LWV candidate forum will be held Thursday, October 20, 7-9 p.m. at South Middle School. Candidates from the contested offices have been invited: Eldon Callen (D) and Sean Sikora (R) for County Commission; Carey Blaney (D) and Kyle McAvoy (R) for County Clerk; and Perry Palmer (D) and Richard Panico (R) for Sheriff. There will be refreshments and time after the forum to talk with the candidates.

Annual Meeting May 21, 2016

The Annual Meeting 2016 was held at Sargasso Restaurant on May 21. After the noon Luncheon, Jonathan Rosenbaum introduced the Guest Speaker, Stephen Smith, Executive Director for WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition. The title of his talk was “The Fight to End Child Poverty in West Virginia”, and his presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session. Jonathan then presented “Democracy in Action” Awards, to Mike Ellis of West TV, Catherine Lozier (in absentia), and Cynthia O’Brien. Each of the awardees gave a thank you speech (Shirley Rosenbaum read a letter from Catherine Lozier).
Here is the link to the Annual Meeting video:  https://youtu.be/WiKe9leHJoI

During the business part of the meeting, the Budget and Program for 2016-2017 were adopted.
Members approved the Budget Committee’s recommendation to increase dues to $48 individual, $72 household. The increase will go into effect in January 2017.

Board Members for 2016-2018 are:

1st VP Vicki Conner
2nd VP Catherine Lozier
Treasurer Lyndell Millecchia
Director Marlene Frich
Director Barbara White
Director Nancy Bird
Nominating Committee: Lyndell Millecchia, Janis Gunel, John Bird

Continuing Board Members (elected in 2015) are: Jonathan Rosenbaum, President; Penny Thomas, Director; and Shirley Rosenbaum, Director

Bylaws Change Recommended by LWVUS

A league amendment changes the Membership Types, from “citizens at least 18 years of age” to “persons at least 16 years of age” as a requirement for becoming a voting member of the League. Since the bylaw change was adopted at the national level, it does not need to go before our membership. At its August Board meeting, our board voted to accept the amendment and incorporate it into our local bylaws.

OCOF Workshop a Success!

The Workshop on Civic Engagement, hosted by our League, was held July 28. Our Children, Our Future leaders conducted the workshop. About 40 persons, many from area non-profit organizations, participated in discussions and activities throughout the day.

LEAGUE MEMBERSHIP

Membership in the League is open to all persons (both men and women) over the age of 16. Dues of $44 for an individual, $66 for a household, and $22 for a student are required annually. Dues paid in 2016 assure membership through the end of 2017.

Note: In January 2017, dues will be increased to $48 individual, $72 household, $24 student.
Dues may be sent to Lyndell Millecchia, 476 Lawnview Drive, Morgantown, WV 26505. You can also pay with your credit card at http://tinyurl.com/paylwvmm or you may send money from your PayPal account to mmtreasury@lwvwv.org .

Contributions are also welcomed and encouraged. Checks should be made out to “LWV Morgantown-Mon. Co.” (Membership dues and contributions to the League of Women Voters are not deductible as a personal or business expense for tax purposes.)

2016 West Virginia Election Dates and Deadlines

August 16 – November 2
Voting Absentee
All eligible voters may apply to receive an absentee ballot by mail

October 18
Voter Registration Deadline
You may register or update your registration online at https://ovr.sos.wv.gov/Register
If you prefer to complete your voter registration form by hand, you may download a blank voter registration form to mail or deliver in-person from https://ovr.sos.wv.gov/Register

October 26 – November 5

Early Voting is open during regular business hours at each county courthouse or courthouse annex. Early Voting is also available each Saturday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Any registered voter within Monongalia County is eligible for early voting beginning October 26th and ending November 5th. The official times and locations of early voting are as follows: Mountaineer Mall, Mason Dixon Park, Pierpont Landing, Westover Senior Center, and the WVU Alumni Center*.

  • Wednesday, October 26>
  • 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 27
  • 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, October 28
  • 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 29
  • 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Monday, October 31
  • 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 1
  • 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 2
  • 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 3
  • 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, November 4
  • 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 5
  • 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.*Please note that the WVU Alumni Center will only have an Early Voting Location from October 31st thru November 4th.

November 1 – November 8
Emergency Absentee Voting – Contact County Clerk
Eligible citizens may request an emergency absentee ballot until noon Election Day.

November 8
General Election Day polls are open 6:30am – 7:30pm

Review your West Virginia Voter’s Bill of Rights

Visit http://tinyurl.com/wv-voters-bill-of-rights to learn your rights. WV does not require Voter ID. However, poll workers may ask for identification at the polling place ONLY if you are a first-time voter since registering. Call 304-558-6000 or 1-866-SOS-VOTE for election violations. If for some reason your voter’s right to request a ballot has been challenged by the poll clerk, reasons may include:
• If the voter’s registration record is not available at the time of the election.
• If the signature written by the person in the poll book does not correspond with the signature on the registration record.
• If the registration record indicates any other legal disqualifications

You are permitted to vote using a Provisional Ballot, and you have the legal right under WV Code §3-1-41 to check the status of your Provisional Ballot at the Provisional Ballot Tracking page at the Secretary of State website.

No More Straight Ticket Voting

During last year’s WV legislative session, a change was made to WV Code eliminating the option of voting a straight party ticket in the General Election (§3-6-2 (g)). Effective this General Election:
There is no straight-party ticket voting
West Virginia voters will no longer be able to vote for all candidates in a political party by making a single mark on the ballot
Every voter will need to individually select each candidate they wish to vote for

Other Ballot Issues

School Levy ballot item. This is a five year excess levy, a continuation of the levy that is currently in effect. Passage requires a 50% majority.

Sunday Hunting ballot item. Currently there is a ban on Sunday hunting. In 2001, the Legislature repealed the ban on Sunday hunting, but decided to let each county determine whether to repeal the ban. 22 counties now allow Sunday hunting on private land. Monongalia County has the referendum on the ballot this year to allow Sunday hunting on private land. Passage requires a 60% majority.

Sunday Brunch ballot item. Currently alcohol can be sold only after 1 p.m. on Sunday. In March, Governor Tomblin signed the so-called Brunch Bill, which allows alcohol to be sold on Sundays starting at 10:00 a.m. instead of 1:00 p.m. Making this change does require the support of county voters in the form of a referendum. The County Commission has placed the Brunch Bill on the November ballot. (Morgantown City Council is also trying to pass the bill via Home Rule.) Passage requires a 60% majority.

pdf iconLWVMM October 2016 Newsletter

October Candidate Forums for Monongalia County

Press Release from the League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Monongalia County

September 28, 2016

The League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Monongalia County is hosting two forums in October. The first on Thursday, October 13 is a candidate forum for candidates running for WV State Senate (Districts 2, 13 and 14) and WV House of Delegates (Districts 5, 49 and 51) will be held at South Middle School from 7 to 9 pm.

On Thursday, October 20, a candidate forum for candidates running for County Clerk, County Commission and Sheriff will be held at South Middle School from 7 to 9 pm.

The public is encouraged to come and ask questions and inform themselves before the election on November 8.

State Candidate Forum – October 13, 2016
County Candidate Forum – October 20, 2016

July 27 – Information Workshop – North Central WV Solar Co-Op

The League supports predominant reliance on renewable resources.  We are co-sponsoring this upcoming event and want to encourage you to attend.  Please remember the Civic Engagement Workshop is the next day on Thursday!:

The North Central West Virginia Solar Co-Op is launching! Check out the first informational meeting to find out how you can get involved and save money on your energy bill! The meeting will be held at the Morgantown Public Library, Wednesday July 27th, 6 pm.

The response to the first Morgantown Solar Co-Op was substantial. Over 100 people signed up for roof reviews and 24 installations were completed. These installations represent 141 kW of new installed solar capacity, which is approximately 7% of the total installed solar capacity in West Virginia.

Also, see,

FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/275816152776582/

Morgantown Magazine article: http://www.morgantownmag.com/morgantown/June-July-2016/Cooperative-Sun-Harvest/

Register for OCOF 2016 Civic Engagement Workshop in Monongalia County

Registration is open for the OCOF 2016 Civic Engagement Workshop in Monongalia County that we are hosting!

Spots are filling up quickly.  Please register soon at https://actionnetwork.org/events/ocof-2016-election-workshop-monongalia-county .

May 2016 Morgantown Newsletter

ANNUAL MEETING – Saturday, May 21

T he 2016 Annual Meeting for the Morgantown-Monongalia County LWV will be held Saturday, May 21, at Sargasso Restaurant, 215 Don Knotts Blvd, from 11:30 -3:00. After the noon luncheon, our special speaker will be Stephen Smith, (pictured left), the current WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition Executive Director. Prior to coming to Healthy Kids, Stephen was the director of organizing for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and is the author of Stoking the Fire of Democracy: Our Generation’s Introduction to Grassroots Organizing.  A graduate of Harvard University and the London School of Economics, Stephen has worked with a wide range of communities – from running a for-profit bakery operated by people with disabilities to founding a youth advocacy organization that won victories on health care and financial aid.  Born in Charleston, WV, Stephen and his family are thrilled to be back home in West Virginia. The title of his talk is: “The Fight to End Child Poverty in West Virginia”.

 

The public is invited to come to hear the speaker at 1:00, or make reservations to attend the luncheon at noon. We welcome everyone; bring a guest! To make reservations for the luncheon, please call Shirley Rosenbaum at 304-599-2370. Sandwiches, choice of soup or salad, and beverages will be served. See menu on next page.

The business meeting will begin at 2:00. A dues increase will be proposed (to begin January 2017). Most of the current $44 individual membership payment is sent to the LWV-US ($32) and the LWV-WV ($11), leaving only a dollar to support our local league. The proposed increase to $48 will help cover the costs of the newsletter mailings. The dues increase will have to be approved by 2/3 of the members attending the annual meeting. Other business will be adoption of the budget, the proposed local program, and the election of officers. Please plan to attend this important meeting!

Annual Luncheon 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

11:30 a.m.

Sargasso Restaurant

215 Don Knotts Blvd 

Menu

Full Sandwich or Wrap with Choice of Soup, Salad, or Fries $14.00

Choice of Turkey, Ham, or Tuna Salad, served on Sourdough, wheat, gluten free bread, or wrap

or Tuna Melt (open-faced on English Muffin)

Dessert

Selection of Cookies 

Beverages and Gratuity are included 

***Give your reservation to your caller, or call Shirley Rosenbaum (304-599-2370) before Thursday, May 19

Please plan to pay your dues when you come to the annual meeting!  Currently dues are $44 for an individual, $66 for a household (two at the same address), and $22 student. Checks should be made to LWV Morgantown-Mon County.

Dues may be mailed to: Lyndell Millecchia, Treasurer, 476 Lawnview Drive, Morgantown, WV 26505. You can also pay with your credit card at http://tinyurl.com/paylwvmm or you may send money from your PayPal account to mmtreasury@lwvwv.org .

Note: we will also be giving “Democracy in Action” awards at the Annual Meeting!

 

OCOF and the LWV

The League of Women Voters and Our Children, Our Future (OCOF) wants you to vote twice this month. Vote once in the Primary, then vote a second time by May 10, Election Day, to choose the ISSUES that you want to be part of the Our Children, Our Future 2016 Commitment (see photos below).

You can vote at http://www.ocofwv.org/vote-now/ To explore the OCOF issues on the ballot, 

visit http://www.ocofwv.org/explore-the-issues/

 

On May 21, at our Annual Meeting luncheon at Sargasso, OCOF Executive Director Stephen Smith will be our keynote speaker; he will talk about The Fight to End Child Poverty in West Virginia, how you can become involved, and the OCOF process about how issues are vetted, developed into bills, and presented to the West Virginia Legislature. OCOF has amazing success in turning many bills into law.

 

On July 28th, 9am to 3pm, we are hosting an OCOF Electoral Workshop at the Hazel Ruby McQuain Conference Center at Mon General. Registration will soon be available at http://ocofwv.org/electoral.

 

In the meantime, if you are interested in helping your League with this highly useful public event, please email Jonathan Rosenbaum at jr@lwvwv.org.   

  

 

 

VOTERS SERVICE

The three forums held by the League at South Middle School (Wednesday April 13, 20, and 27) were very well attended – about 75 came to the third one for the contested offices.  All the forums were filmed by Mike Ellis from West TV, and can be viewed on our website at http://videos.lwvwv.org . Two of the LWV forums will be broadcast next Saturday, May 7, on Channel 3, Comcast. The forum on the six levies will be broadcast beginning at 10 a.m.  The forum with prosecuting attorney, sheriff, delegate and senate candidates will be broadcast from 11 a.m. until noon.

Though we are non-partisan, we can take positions on issues.  Our League has a consensus position in favor of adequate funding for Libraries, including Levies.  Member Lyndell Millecchia, President of the Morgantown Library Board of Trustees, made the presentation for the Library Levy at our Levy Forum.  Among her comments are the following:

In addition to the Downtown Library, there are five branch libraries: the Clay Battelle Library in Blacksville, the Cheat Area Library, the Clinton District Library, the Aull Center for History and Genealogy, and the Arnettsville Library in the Arnettsville Community Center.  The Board of Trustees has made great efforts over the past 52 years to bring library services to the entire county.  Without the levy, however, it is unlikely that the branches can continue operating.

There is a long list of the tangible benefits provided by the Public Library System.  Books, movies and audio books can be checked out; computers are available; there is free Wi-Fi access.  Our library stays current with new technologies, providing wonderful collections of e-books, streaming media, and e-magazines.  It offers amazing local history and genealogy resources.  The libraries in our system are dedicated to bridging the digital divide and ensuring that all citizens have access to online government information, job applications, and more. 

The library offers many daytime and evening programs and story times for children.  These programs provide critical support for early literacy.  The summer reading programs help children maintain their skills so they are better prepared to do well in school in the fall.

The library is much more than just the materials that can be checked out. It is a source for community interaction and outreach, providing meeting space and adult programs on a wide variety of topics. Over 300 non-profit organizations meet at the library at no cost. The library puts a face on our community and brings intangible benefits over and above the traditional role of a place to get books.

Levy funds will not only improve our core mission of promoting reading and literacy, but also aid the continuance of access to information regardless of socio-economic status.  From toddler to senior citizen, from University and High School student to Home Schooled family, your libraries are anchors in the community that provide entertainment, information and a local bond to community events through public information space and social gathering space. They are truly essential for community growth and vitality.”

Jan Bagby

Our condolences go out to the friends and family of long-time member Jan Bagby,who passed away in April. Jan was a vital member of the local league, often serving on the board and providing expertise on International Relations. She was always involved in League activities, especially with Voters Service. She always added to our meetings with her humor, intelligence and charm!

LWV Morgantown-Monongalia County

Proposed 2016-2017 Local Program 

  1. Local Government:
    1. Study of County taxation and revenues, in light of the reduction in coal severance funds.
    2. Revive Observer Corps
  1. Planning:
    1. Action to promote orderly development in Monongalia County and monitor the work of the Monongalia County Planning Commission.
    2. Encourage adoption and implementation of a Comprehensive Plan for Monongalia County, including impact fees.
  1. Transportation:
    1. Monitor and take action where needed with regard to improving traffic conditions, including pedestrian and cyclist safety.
    2. Monitor the implementation of the Complete Streets legislation so that the design of our transportation system can be inclusive of all forms of transportation.
  1. Voters Service:
    1. Continue to advocate for open access to registration and voting.
    2. Monitor new legislation on voter registration and voter ID.
  1. Natural Resources:
    1. Study water quality in the Monongahela River including Morgantown Utility Board and Department of Natural Resources testing and their relation to Marcellus Shale gas extraction processes and coal mining.
    2. Study current state regulation of Marcellus Shale gas extraction. Work with legislators to amend the Marcellus legislation with regard to those issues that still need regulation.
    3. Study current municipal and county ordinances related to extractive industries. Work with local officials to ensure that the strongest ordinances possible are promulgated to protect the health and safety of citizens.
    4. Monitor Source Water Protection Program (SWPP).
    5. Strategize and act to promote an efficient county solid waste recycling program.
  1. Social Justice:
    1. Continue our collaboration with the Community Coalition for Social Justice (CCSJ).
    2. Continue our collaboration with Our Children, Our Future (OCOF).

LWVMM Newsletter May 2016

Video – Partisan Candidate Forum – Monongalia 2016 Primary

Prosecuting Attorney
Sheriff of Monongalia County
WV State Senate (District 13) and WV House of Delegates (District 49 and 51)

Videos produced by West TV at the April 27, 2016 Partisan Candidate Forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters Morgantown-Monongalia County.