Morgantown-Monongalia Categories

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

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

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

April 2016 Morgantown Newsletter

KNOW YOUR PRIMARY CHOICES!

April Forums at South Middle School

CANDIDATE FORUMS 

Non-Partisan Candidates

The first candidate forum will be held Wednesday, April 13, 7-9 p.m. at South Middle School (500 E. Parkway Drive). For the first time, all judicial elections are now non-partisan, and will be decided during the primary. Many positions, which are by division, are contested. In the 17th Judicial Circuit Court, two candidates are running against Judge Susan Tucker and two candidates are running against Judge Philip Gaujot. Incumbents in three of the four Magistrate divisions are opposed. There is no contest for the Family Court Judges. The Board of Education is also decided during the primary, but this year the two positions are not contested (both incumbents are assured of election). The position of Conservation District Supervisor is contested. We have invited all the candidates for the contested seats to participate in the forum, and unopposed candidates have been invited to briefly introduce themselves. Bring your questions to be read by the moderator, and enjoy refreshments and conversation with the candidates after the forum.

State and County Candidates

The second candidate forum will be held Wednesday, April 27, 7-9 p.m. at South Middle School. We have invited candidates for all the contested positions: WV State Senate (District 13), WV House of Delegates (Districts 49 and 51), Sheriff of Monongalia County, and Prosecuting Attorney. Unopposed candidates have been invited to introduce themselves. There will be refreshments and time after the forum to talk with the candidates.

COUNTY LEVIES FORUM

Sandwiched between the Candidate Forums, we will hold a forum concerning the six County Levies that will be on the ballot at the May Primary, May 10. The forum will also be held at South Middle School, on Wednesday, April 20, 7-9 p.m. Details of the six levies can be found in this newsletter. Representatives of each of the Levy groups are invited to make presentations at the forum, and answer questions from the public about the need for the specific levy. There will be refreshments and tables with information and displays about the levies. 

 

OUR CHILDREN, OUR FUTURE

Saturday, April 22, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. OCOF Policy Summit and Annual Retreat at Pierpont Community and Technical College in Fairmont. Register for free at http://bit.ly/1TfAm7f .

  • Learn, discuss, and debate about the policies proposed for the Commitment to OCOF: our long-term legislative platform.

  • VOTE – on which policies will be included in the Commitment

  • Design the OCOF strategy for the year

  • VOTE – for our 2016/2017 steering committee

  • Get involved in initiatives like Student Chapters, Leadership and Organizing Trainings, Shared Use & Voter Engagement

  • Lunch will be provided 

About Our Children, Our Future:

Thirty percent (30%) of West Virginia boys and girls under age 6 live in poverty.  Our state also has the highest rate of 16-24 year-olds who are neither in school, nor in the labor force.  Research in brain development shows that social, emotional and cognitive development is shaped in early childhood and has a lifelong effect.  Poor kids are 5 times more likely to have children outside marriage, twice as likely to be arrested, and nearly 3 times as likely to have severe health problems. Poor kids also end up earning incomes less than half those of their counterparts.  Our prison population has tripled in the last 20 years, and we spend $23,000+ on each inmate – roughly the cost of providing full-time quality child care to 5 young kids. Taking care of our most vulnerable children is not only the right thing to do; it is the best way to help our state’s health, welfare, and economy in the long run.  To do this, OCOF is building an organized, statewide voice of kids, families, and allies to advocate for the changes we need.

See ocofwv.org website

Mission: The Campaign to End Child Poverty

http://www.morgantownwv.gov/yeartogogreen

On January 4, 2016, the Morgantown City Council unanimously declared 2016 to be the Year to Go Green: Path to a Cleaner Morgantown.  The Year to Go Green (YTGG) was initially proposed by the Morgantown Municipal Green Team and Friends of Decker’s Creek.

The Year to Go Green provides a framework within which a wide range of individuals, households, businesses, community groups, city committees and advisory boards, and other organizations can take action toward a cleaner Morgantown.

What is the Year to Go Green?

This yearlong citywide focus on clean air—clean water—clean energy—green space was created with the goals of:

  • Opening dialogue across the community
  • Unifying efforts toward environmental sustainability in the Morgantown area
  • Promote money-saving investments in sustainability
  • Encourage involvement of the wider Morgantown community

Six Levy Proposals for Consideration in the May 10 Primary Election

The League of Women Voters of Morgantown/Monongalia County has attempted to aggregate all levy information into one document to help voters make a more informed decision about whether to support them.

First: What are the various classes of property?

Class 1 is personal property used in agriculture.

Class 2 is anything that is owner occupied, generally the person’s main house property.

Class 3 and 4 are the same class definition (anything other than owner occupied).  So it includes all vehicles, boats, RVs (anything taxed on your personal property tax ticket) and vacant lots or pieces of land, rental property, and business property.  The number 3 is used to designate those defined properties that are outside any municipality boundary.  The number 4 is used to designate those defined properties that are within a municipality boundary.

Second: What will each levy cost?

  Class 1 Class 2 Class 3 Class 4
Name Rate Rate Rate Rate
Fairs 0.05 0.1 0.21 0.21
Fire 0.42 0.84 1.68 1.68
Library 0.27 0.54 1.08 1.08
Parks/Trails 0.58 1.16 2.32 2.32
Transit 1.1 2.2 4.4 4.4
Baseball/Garden 0.06 0.12 0.24 0.24
         
Total* 2.48 4.96 9.93 9.93
         
*Cents per $100 of assessed value    

Most voters will probably be concerned with the rates each levy will assess on Class 2 property (owner occupied). The table above shows the cost IN CENTS per $100 of assessed value for each levy. (example: if the homeowner—Class 2—has a home assessed at $100,000, the cost of the VFD levy would be $8.40 per year) The cost of passing all levies for that homeowner would be $49.60 per year which would be added to their real estate tax statement.

According to the County Clerk’s office, it is important to understand that the levy rate applies to every tax ticket a person receives.  For example:  a person may receive two tax statements per year - one on their car and one on their house.  Each levy would apply class 3(4) rate to the value of the vehicle and class 2 rate to the value of the house parcel.  

So, to estimate the cost of a levy to an individual or family, you must know the assessed value of your home (if you own it) and the assessed value of your personal property. If the personal property for a Morgantown resident is assessed at $5000, the cost of passing all the levies would be approximately $5 per year. Add that to the cost of passing all levies when your house is assessed at $100,000, the total cost would be $49.60 + $5.00. (Remember, this is just an example, not a guarantee of the cost to you.)

Third: Description of each levy proposal and the impacts of passing or failing each levy.

Fairs: For the owner of the home assessed at $100,000, this levy would cost about $1 per year. If passed, this would be a 5-year levy and it would raise about $50,000 per year for the Mon County Fair and $20,000 for the Clay District Fair and for the Battelle District Fair. The levy is limited to these Fairs because they are the only ones that are members of the WV Association of Fairs and Festivals. Levy funds will allow Mon County Fair to have more facilities built for the Livestock Show and update the existing structure so the facilities could be scheduled and used by any county individual or group. Representatives of both the Clay District Fair and the Battelle District Fair report that without the levy, they will not be able to make needed improvements and repairs to their facilities. The Fairs will be forced to downsize and may face having to close.

Fire: For the owner of the home assessed at $100,000, this levy would cost about $8.40 per year. Money raised during this 5-year levy would be split among the 12 VFDs in Mon County, providing approximately $50,000 for each department per year. Funding would be used for training, protective clothing, radios, and possibly to replace aging fire trucks. At last count, there were 20 trucks in use that were over 15 years old. The VFDs also have expenses averaging $28,500 just for insurance and worker’s compensation. From this levy, all VFDs would receive the same amount of funding so that smaller companies would be able to upgrade their equipment and recruiting. Additionally, funds would go to the county’s hazardous materials team, to the county’s brush fire team and to the Volunteer Fire Companies Association which maintains the county’s two tanker trucks.

Library: For the owner of the home assessed at $100,000, this levy would cost about $5.40 per year. This 5-year levy would provide funding for the entire library system, which includes the Morgantown Public Library as well as Cheat Lake Public Library, Arnettsville Public Library, Clay Battelle Public Library, Clinton District Public Library and the Aull Center. The Library System has been underfunded for several years, and this levy would allow them to be open more hours and to expand their programs. In the past, the County Commission has provided about 16% of the funds for the downtown library and about 30% for the branch libraries. Without the levy to replace these funds, there will be reduced hours at all facilities and possible closure of some, reduced materials and services and potential charges for meeting rooms and programs. 

Parks and Trails: For the owner of the home assessed at $100,000, this levy would cost $11.60 per year. This 5-year levy would fund parks and recreation throughout Mon County. Plans include Morgantown Ice Arena additions, renovations, and upgrades; Camp Muffly operating expenses plus swimming pool, pool house and historical cabins; Chestnut Ridge Park operating expenses plus dredging of Harris Lake and improvements to the ski slope; Mason-Dixon Historical Park operating expenses plus upgrading playgrounds and hiking and mountain biking trails; Mon River and Deckers Creek Rail-Trails operating expenses and maintenance; Westover Park improvements to four baseball fields, bleachers and pavilions; Cheat Lake and/or Laurel Point soccer fields and equipment. 

Mountain Line Transit: For the owner of the home assessed at $100,000, this levy would cost about $22 per year. Funds generated by this 5-year levy would partially be used to replace the $456,000 that has been provided by the County Commission from the coal severance revenue. That represents about 10% of Mountain Line’s operating budget. Additional money from the levy would replace federal funding which is also declining. Levy monies would allow for replacement of some buses plus allow for adding new service routes to Mylan Park, Suncrest Towne Center and other developing areas of the county. Without the levy, rural routes out in the county will be eliminated. Although routes which are financed by the City of Morgantown and by WVU will not be affected, failure of the levy will have an impact on everyone, as county residents will have a much harder time finding transportation into the city for work, healthcare, and shopping.

Baseball/Botanic Garden: For the owner of the home assessed at $100,000, this levy would cost about $1.20 per year. The Morgantown Pony Baseball League involves over 1000 young baseball players and is currently 100% funded by community and corporate sponsors. This 5-year levy would provide about $80,000 for maintenance and improvements to eight BOPARC baseball and softball diamonds in White, Krepps, Marilla, Valley View and Jack Roberts parks. The levy would also provide $25,000 annually for upkeep and improvements to the Botanic Garden. Since 2000, the Garden has grown to over 80 acres of beautifully maintained gardens and trails that provide enjoyment for anyone seeking a quite hike or organized activity. Levy funding would be used to pay a portion of the costs of keeping the Garden open to the public, at no charge, 365 days a year. These costs include utilities, insurance, supplies, staffing, maintaining the new public restrooms and Welcome Center, trails, plantings, etc. As the Garden grows, the operating costs also grow. The current budget is nearly double that of 2013, and while the City of Morgantown and County Commission have provided some funding, private contributions have covered most of the costs. The levy funds will provide a reliable base of support for the Garden.  

LWVMM Newsletter April 2016

 

December 2015 Morgantown Newsletter

TALK TO YOUR LEGISLATORS!

On Thursday, December 10, from 7 to 9 p.m. our League will host a Legislators Forum. It will be held at Suncrest United Methodist Church, 479 Van Voorhis Road. The forum is designed to let the legislators tell the public what their priorities and proposals are for the upcoming Legislative session, and for them to hear from you about your hopes, needs and concerns. In the past this forum has led to very fruitful discussions between the public and the legislators.

The legislators will be given four minutes to discuss their interests in the upcoming session, and the public will then have the opportunity to voice their requests. After the forum there will be refreshments and time to talk individually with the legislators. Please plan to come!

President’s Message

Democracy is tough, people always seem to be in disagreement, and, to the untrained observer, nothing seems to get done. Maybe that is why people tell me on an increasing basis that politics do not interest them anymore.  Nobody said it was going to be easy; a government ruled by the people has always been difficult from the very beginning, but the alternative was to be ruled by a monarchy where the voice of the common person would not matter.  Some people want lots of change, and that’s OK, and other people don’t want any change at all, and that is OK too, because through the convening of humans, good government ultimately does succeed in seeking out the Goldilocks Zone, where our life can happily exist regardless of the differences in the views of our representatives.  This is why the League is enamored by people who choose to exercise their right to vote, because that very right, so hard won, is the foundation on which people can have a voice in their own government. – Jonathan Rosenbaum

NATURAL RESOURCES

Members from the Natural Resources committee went to the Green Team presentation on Recycling in Morgantown and Monongalia County. The message was that single stream recycling offered by Republic Services to the city has been very effective in increasing tonnage of materials recycled from 198 tons in 2012 to 892 tons in 2014. However many citizens of Morgantown are still not recycling, even though they are paying for it. They recommend that we encourage our neighbors to recycle. The Republic representative also said that they removed the recycling bins from many student neighborhoods because the students were using them as garbage cans and contaminating the recycling materials.

In the county there are two places to do single stream recycling: the Walmart on Hornbeck Road every Saturday from 7 to 11 a.m. (except not the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 28); and in Westover next to the City Building on Dupont Road, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. County Commissioner Tom Bloom reported that right now that is probably what will be available for some time, since having Republic pick up once a week in each of these places is what the County can currently afford.

Another issue that the Natural Resources committee is studying and wants to take action on is climate change and reducing greenhouse gases. John Bird presented an overview of the subject at the Natural Resources meeting on November 11. Members resolved to become more informed on the subject, to become better at educating others about the dangers of human activity, to lobby our legislators to take action, and to write letters to the editor. The National League is also encouraging all League members to lobby our members of Congress to support Obama’s Clean Power initiative.

There were a few NR members at the Water Forum sponsored by the Green Team: Linda Yoder, Judith Wilkinson and Jonathan Rosenbaum. Basically, the most interesting tidbit we learned there is that currently Monongalia has the cheapest water bill rate in the state.  The new increase will push us up slightly to the 6th cheapest place in the state.

Here are links to the Green Team videos:

How Clean is Morgantown’s Air and What Can We Do About It? – https://youtu.be/pmm3fQCEN3Q

How Clean is Morgantown’s Water and What Can We Do About It? – https://youtu.be/cSUNR0NDVq4

Is Recycling Working in Morgantown and What Can We Do About It? – https://youtu.be/2P2Jl4Xpggc

OCTOBER MEMBERSHIP MEETING

The Secretary of State’s office and the League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Monongalia County are calling attention to two very important changes for voters in WV. A new law was passed in the 2015 Legislative session which makes the May 10, 2016 Primary Election even more important than ever. That law requires that the election of justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals, circuit court judges, family court judges and magistrates be on a nonpartisan basis and that candidates for those positions will be elected on the same date as the primary election.

At our Membership Meeting October 14, Briana Wilson, Communications Director for the Secretary of State’s office, informed attendees that the process for electing judicial candidates will follow the current process for electing school board members. On May 10, Mon County voters will be electing one Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals, three circuit court judges, two family court judges and four magistrates. The Secretary of State’s office and the League of Women Voters will be distributing further information reminding voters of this important change. Ms. Wilson also introduced the new on-line voter registration process, which is available at https://ovr.sos.wv.gov.

Members and the public meet at the Aull center to hear about changes in the 2016 Primary Election

LWVMM Newsletter December 2015

October 2015 Morgantown Newsletter

MEMBERSHIP MEETING – PRIME TIME 2016 – PRIMARY ELECTIONS!

Our first fall meeting will be held Wednesday, October 14, 7-9 p.m. at the Aull Center. We hope to have a big turnout for the evening, as we prepare for the coming election year! All of you know that the Board of Education has its final, non-partisan election during the primary. But do you realize, because of Legislative Action, that all the judicial positions (Judges, Circuit Court, magistrates) at the state and county levels will also be non-partisan, and they will be elected during the primary election? This is a significant change! The Secretary of State is sending a representative from the office of the Election Administrator to tell us about these changes and answer questions so we can inform the public and help ensure a good turnout at the primary in May, 2016! A lot of people will be focused on the presidential race, and rightly so, but we must be sure that the electorate is well aware of the importance of these local races. It will be vital for us to know about these changes as we help educate voters in the spring election.

The first meeting of the fall is always a special time to meet and greet one another. The meeting is open to the public, but a personal invitation is always better. Do try to bring a guest! As always, we will be collecting dues –still $44 individual, $66 household. We have allowed plenty of time for hearing from the Secretary of State’s representative, plus time to hear about items important to the league in our program areas, plus time for refreshments and socializing. We plan to finish up before 9 p.m. so you do not have to worry about your meter running out.

If you do not want to drive to the meeting, we will be happy to find someone to carpool with you. Please call Vicki Conner at (304) 292-2640. Also, the Aull Center has a lift at the back, if you have trouble with stairs. Call Lyndell at (304) 599-0904 and she will watch for you and help with the lift operation.

Voters Service Committee

We will be setting up a table at the Morgantown Farmers Market on Saturday, October 17, 8:30 a.m. to noon. If you can help, please contact Jonathan.

Natural Resources

The Natural Resources Committee is following the Monongalia County Commission as they work with Republic Services on their contract. We are especially interested in what they decide about recycling in the county. A Commission work session which included people from Republic Services, scheduled for Wednesday, September 23, was cancelled because the Republic representatives did not appear. We plan to attend when the meeting is rescheduled.

A meeting for the Natural Resources Committee will be held in October, the date to be announced. Contact Catherine Lozier at (304) 599-8233 or at the contact form if you are interested in working on this committee.

Please read the complete newsletter by clicking on the link below:

LWVMM Newsletter October 2015

May 2015 Morgantown Newsletter

Annual Meeting: Special Speaker Barbara Howe

Annual Meeting 2015 promises to be an interesting and enjoyable event. At the Aull Center on Wednesday, May 13, at 6:00 p.m. we will begin with a Meet and Greet social session, followed at 6:30 by a special presentation by Barb Howe, “Evolution of the Voting Rights Act (up to 1965)”. Barb Howe taught American women’s history and women’s studies at WVU and has taught classes in women’s history for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). She is a member of the Community Coalition for Social Justice’s steering committee and developed a timeline on expanding the right to vote for CCSJ-Main Street Morgantown’s Ninth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Celebration on “The Road to the Vote” in January 2015.  Her presentation for the League of Women Voters is based on that work. This would be a great opportunity to bring a friend!

CALENDAR

May 13 Annual Meeting

Wednesday 6:00-9:00 p.m. Aull Center
351 Spruce Street (Garlow House)

May 18 Board Meeting

Monday 6:00 p.m. Pot Luck
Lyndell Millecchia’s Home
476 Lawnview Drive
 

For the second time, we will be giving awards to certain organizations or people who have done important work that furthers the democratic values of the League of Women Voters. Come and be surprised!

The wonderful finger foods and sweets for which the League has long been famous will be provided by you, our faithful League members, with beverages provided by the Hospitality Committee.

During the Business portion, the League will elect officers and board members, discuss and accept the proposed Local Program for 2015-2016, and discuss and accept a budget for the coming year.

 

We welcome your dues at the Annual Meeting!

Dues are $44 for an individual and $66 for a household.Checks should be made to LWV Morgantown-Mon County and, if you do not attend the meeting, may be mailed to: Joseph Marshall, 194 McCormick Hollow Rd., Morgantown, WV 26508You can also pay online with your PayPal account or credit card at  http://tinyurl.com/paylwvmm or you may send money from your PayPal account to mmtreasury@lwvwv.org .

Voters Service 

Our League co-sponsored the OLLI Legislative Wrap-Up & Reception on March 31 at the Mountaineer Mall. It was the first time OLLI planned an event like this, and it was very successful. The refreshments were wonderful, and the center-court location worked out very well. Most of the Legislators from our area attended. They reported on their successes and impressions of the Legislative session, and responded to participants’ questions. We are planning to continue this collaboration with OLLI next year.

The local League held a City Council candidate forum this April, at South Middle School. The venue pleased attendees, and both the candidates and the audience were very grateful to the League for holding the forum. The meeting was filmed by West TV as a service to the community and may be watched at:

http://www.lwvwv.org/2015/04/20/video-morgantown-city-council-candidate-forum-2015/

 

Local Government Committee

Currently we are looking for a member from the League to volunteer to chair the committee so that it may continue moving forward from where it left off last year, after making notable progress.

Natural Resources 

On March 25, four members of the Natural Resources Committee met with Tim Ball, the Director of MUB.  The committee was interested in his views on the two new gas wells to be fracked across from our water intake by Northeast Energy.  He was somewhat reassuring that they are using practices that will protect the water as much as possible.  However, they are planning to use a synthetic drilling fluid that may have some unknown results as it is relatively new. Tim has concerns about the synthetic fluid and continues to meet with Northeast Energy to present his concerns. He has stated that he has maintained good communication with the company.

The committee plans to meet with Tim Carr, the head of a WVU study of horizontal drilling which will be using these wells as the object of their research.

We welcome new member Judith McBride.

Those of you who participated in the Public Library financing study and consensus held in in our league in September, 2014, will be interested in the final consensus from the State LWV, as follows:

PUBLIC LIBRARY FINANCING CONSENSUS

Adopted 11-8-14

The LWVWV believes that public libraries are essential in communities for both children and adults. Therefore, the primary sources of fundingfor West Virginia’s public libraries should be tax based. This tax-based funding should be adequate, predictable and sustainable.

The LWVWV believes that there should be a basic state funding level for WV public libraries, based on the population of the area served by the library.

The LWVWV believes that additional local tax-based funds should be provided from those agencies which authorize libraries; that is, County Commissions, municipalities and/or County Boards of Education.

Further Guidelines

Other state options the LWVWV supports are:

  • Adjust the local share of the school aid formula to fund public libraries in each county.
  • Designate a state tax or percentage of a tax for public libraries.

The following local funding options are acceptable:

  • Require these local governing authorities to contribute a given percentage of local property taxes for libraries, as required in existing “special local laws.”
  • Increase the property tax rate with the resulting revenue going to libraries.
  • Require Boards of Education to include a defined level of funding for libraries in the county in excess levy elections.
  • Permit Boards of Education, County Commissions and municipalities to impose an additional levy on property for libraries.

The LWVWV does not support a constitutional amendment to allow public libraries to form tax districts and ask voters to assess themselves to support libraries.

The LWVWV does not support library user fees at the state or local level.

The LWVWV believes public libraries may form county-wide or multi-county systems. (11/8/14)

 

LWV Morgantown-Monongalia County

Proposed 2015-2016 Local Program

 

  1. Local Government:
    1. Study of County Government, including:
  1. Laws concerning the number of County Commissioners, their responsibilities and authority.
  2. Taxation, revenues and budget disbursements.
    1. Organize a public meeting with the County Commission on County Government issues.
    2. Revive Observer Corps
  1. Planning: Action to promote orderly development in Monongalia County and monitor the work of the Monongalia County Planning Commission.
  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: Continue to advocate for open access to registration and voting.
  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. Study Source Water Protection Program (SWPP).
    5. Strategize and act to promote an efficient county solid waste recycling program.
  1. Social Justice: Create a Social Justice committee; explore local collaborations.

 

Mark your Calendars!

Wednesday, May 13, 6:00pm Annual Meeting at the Aull Center!

LWVMM Newsletter May 2015

October 2014 Morgantown Newsletter

Morgantown-Mon Candidate Forums October 9 and 15, 7-9pm

 
Prior to Election Day, November 4, the League of Women Voters is hosting two candidate forums in October at the  Suncrest United Methodist Church.

The following candidates have been invited to the October 9th forum:

State Senate:

  • District 2 Jeffrey-Frank Jarrell (C) Larry Edgell (D) Kent Leonhardt (R) 
  • District 13 Harry V. Betram (AFP) Bob Beach (D) Kris Warner (R)
  • District 14 Stan Shaver (D) Dave Sypolt (R)

County Commission:

  • Bill Bartolo (D) Ed Hawkins (R)

The following candidates have been invited to the October 15th forum:

House of Delegates
District 51:

  • Democrats: Tony Barill, Barbara Fleischauer, Nancy Jamison, Charlene Marshall, John Williams
  • Republicans: Bill Flanigan, Cindy Frich, Brian Kurcaba, Amanda Pasdon, Joe Statler
  • Libertarian: Ed Olesh

District 49:

  • Mike Manypenny (D) Amy Summer (R)

The public is invited to both forums, which will be from 7 to 9 pm at the Suncrest United Methodist Church on Van Voorhis Road. Each candidate will have the opportunity to present her/his position on campaign issues, and to answer questions submitted by the audience. Refreshments will be served after the forum, continuing the public meeting with the candidates informally.

FOR INFORMATION:
 Catherine Lozier
 345 Virginia Avenue, Morgantown, 26505
 304-599-8233
 email: clozier@gmail.com

A Note on Candidate Debates

The League of Women Voters strictly refuses to participate in, endorse, or be involved in any way with candidate debates or any Voter Service activity that excludes third party candidates or creates any other impression of partisanship. The WV League therefore has refused to cosponsor debates and presentations in this election year, which exclude third party candidates.  For every election the State Board does produce an on-line Voters Guide for all candidates.  The League of Women Voters of West Virginia’s candidate questionnaire responses for the November 4 General Election for congressional and statewide offices will soon be posted on this website.

National Voters Registration Day – September 23, 2014

From left - Shirley Rosenbaum and Vicki Conner

The League participated in National Voters Registration Day at the Westover Farmers’ Market.  Five people updated their voter registration information!  Shirley Rosenbaum, Evelyn Ryan, Cindy O’Brien, Vicki Conner, and Jonathan Rosenbaum helped out at the table.

Membership Renewal

Please keep your LWV membership up to date. For membership renewal or a new membership, deadline for annual dues is the end of December. $44 individual membership; $66 for household membership. Checks should be made to LWV Morgantown-Mon County and mailed to:

Joseph Marshall
194 McCormick Road
Morgantown, WV 26508

Save Paper and Printing Costs!

We always send the electronic version of this newsletter to our email list as well as post it online. If you wish to opt-out from
receiving the paper version please contact Lyndell Millecchia with your request. Thank-you!

Reminder…..

The LWVUS League Update is a free online newsletter emailed each Thursday to members who sign up to receive it. The League Update is filled with interesting and helpful information. You may subscribe at http://www.lwv.org by completing the “Get Involved” box.

State Library Financing Consensus Meeting – September 17, 2014

 

From left: Lynn Castro, Evelyn Ryan, Dawn Jackson, Nancy Bird, Clay Pytlik and Kitty Lozier

From left - Evelny Ryan, Dawn Jackson, Nancy Bird, Clay Pytlik

We have been participating this year in the State Study on Public Funding of Libraries in West Virginia. The four local Leagues and MAL (Members at Large) have been studying the issue of library funding so that the WV League can come to a consensus position and lobby the Legislature as it develops legislation on library funding.  Twenty people, four of them guests, attended our Consensus Meeting.  Participants discussed unbiased factual research of the Local Library Financing Study committee presented by Clay Pytlik, Dawn Jackson, and Nancy Bird. Special guests Sharon Turner (Director of Morgantown Public Library) and Penny Pugh (WVU Libraries) acted as special resources to answer participant’s questions. Kitty Lozier acted as facilitator and Catherine Prody as recorder. Other participants included Shirley Rosenbaum, Fran Nelson, Lyndell Millecchia, and Jonathan Rosenbaum. Our three presenters, responsible for researching, deserve special recognition: first, Clay who brought years of experience and wisdom to the process, and Dawn and Nancy who are both new members.

After the meeting, the results recorded on the flip chart were sent for review and accuracy to the Local Library Financing Study committee.  Then they were sent for approval to the Local Board.  Currently, our results are with state study chairman Carolyn Watson. Her committee will develop a consensus position based on input from the four Local Leagues and MAL (Members at Large) who participated in the process. Assuming the committee can construct a consensus position, it will be sent to the state board on November 8 for approval. If the board approves, the League will be ready to take action on the question of library funding in West Virginia.

LWVMM Newsletter October 2014

September 2014 Morgantown Newsletter

September 17 Fall Meeting – Library Consensus

We have the good fortune this fall to participate in the State Study on Public Funding of Libraries in West Virginia on Wednesday, September 17. We will gather for refreshments at 7:00 p.m. at the Suncrest United Methodist Church, lower level classroom, for refreshments and time to catch up with one another after our summer break. But we will then quickly begin our important task, with presentations from the Library Study Committee members who have been reading the study materials in detail. The consensus itself follows the questions developed by the State League.

We hope that in studying this issue we can reach a position to enable us to lobby the Legislature as it develops its legislation on library funding. Only members of the League can participate in the consensus itself, but guests are welcome to come and socialize, and listen to the presentations. Study and consensus are at the core of the League decision making process, and we encourage every member to make an effort to attend. Consensus meetings are lively and never boring! Parking is plentiful at the church (479 Van Voorhis Road), and there is an elevator to the lower level.

If you would like background information on the study, the West Virginia LWV has recently published a new 9-page booklet, titled: “A Study of Public Library Financing in West Virginia.”  The booklet offers an explanation of the current laws and rules which govern the funding of the state’s 97 public library systems.

Annual Meeting May 2014

The Annual Meeting began for League Members and the many guests with refreshments provided by League Members. President Jonathan Rosenbaum began the meeting by introducing the new “Democracy in Action” Awards. Jonathan introduced the first award, to Christiaan Abildso, for his citizen work efforts for public safety, and presented a framed certificate. Kitty Lozier introduced the second award, which went to the Dominion Post for their efforts over many years in voter information. Randy Vealey, Opinion Page Editor, received the award for the newspaper. Lyndell Millecchia introduced the third award, to League member Nancy Treat, for long work in voter’s service and in planning and zoning.

Linda Yoder introduced the speaker of the evening, playwright, journalist, and columnist Sean O’Leary of Harper’s Ferry. Sean addressed the audience on the topic “Words Unhinged from Facts: The Decline of Public Discourse in West Virginia.” He fielded many questions during his stimulating presentation. The video of his speech is now online for viewing. After a break for more refreshments, the business meeting was held, with adoption of the budget and program for 2014-15, and election of new board members.

Board Members for 2014-2015

At the annual meeting the following board members were elected:

2nd Vice President:  Catherine Lozier
Secretary:  Linda Yoder
Treasurer:  Joseph Marshall
Director:  Marlene Frich
Director:  Nancy Treat
Director:  Cathy Prody
Director:  Penny Thomas
Nominating Comm: Kelly Palmer, Don Spencer, & Fran Nelson

Continuing Board Members (elected in 2013) are Jonathan Rosenbaum, President; Gloria Sofranko, 1st Vice President; Kelly Palmer, Director; and Shirley Rosenbaum, Director.  Lyndell Millecchia was appointed as a Director.

Voters Service Committee

If you would like to help with the Candidate Forums to be held in October, please contact Voters Service chair Catherine Lozier at clozier@gmail.com or call her at 304-599-8233.

Shirley Rosenbaum and Lyndell Millecchia ready to register voters at our table. - July 4, 2014

A great day to register voters! - July 4, 2014

On Tuesday, September 23, the local League will have an information table at the Farmers Market in Westover from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. We will inform people about the League and in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day, we will have voter registration forms available. Contact Board member Shirley Rosenbaum  or call her at 304-599-2370 if you would like to help.

League Members in the News

Jonathan Rosenbaum accepting Award.

Congratulations to Positive Spin for receiving the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Celebration of America on July 4. Jonathan Rosenbaum, president of Positive Spin, accepted the award on behalf of Positive Spin.

Natural Resources 

The League has a strong public policy position supporting energy-efficiency. 

Recently Downstream Strategies released the results of their Green House Gas Inventory study, and as a result they have developed the Morgantown Residential Energy Consumption and Efficiency Survey to help identify and quantify specific energy efficiency needs and improvement opportunities across different Morgantown neighborhoods. Ultimately, their aim is to promote the most cost-effective energy efficiency programs and increase awareness of cost-saving energy consumption and efficiency practices.

Please participate with their survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MorgantownEnergy , and spread the word to other people you know living within Morgantown City limits.

Guide to Government Officials

The updated League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Monongalia Guide to Government Officials, July 2014 is now available online.

If you haven’t paid your dues for 2014, or would like to join the League…

Usually members pay dues at the Annual Meeting in the spring or the Membership Meeting in the fall. However, if you pay your dues anytime in 2014, you will be a member through 2015. Final deadline is the end of December. Dues are $44 for an individual and $66 for a household.Checks should be made to LWV Morgantown-Mon County and mailed to our new treasurer:

Joseph Marshall
194 McCormick Road
Morgantown, WV 26508 

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.

We will be having two Candidate Forums in October – Details will be in our next Newsletter!

LWVMM Newsletter September 2014

May 2014 Morgantown Newsletter

Annual Meeting: Special Speaker Sean O’Leary

Annual Meeting 2014 promises to be a lively event. At the Aull Center on Wednesday, May 14, at 6:30 p.m. the fun begins. Our highly acclaimed speaker will be Sean O’Leary, of Harpers Ferry, a journalist whose columns appear in the Martinsburg Journal and Spirit of Jefferson.

The League will also elect officers, discuss and accept the proposed Local Program for 2014-2015, and discuss and accept a budget for the coming year. For the first time, we will be giving awards to certain organizations or people who have done important work that furthers the democratic values of the League of Women Voters. Come and be surprised!

The wonderful finger foods and sweets for which the League has long been famous will be provided by you, our faithful League members, with beverages provided by the Hospitality Committee.

Sean O’Leary has offered to speak on a topic of current concern to the League: a serious decline of public discourse in West Virginia. “Words Unhinged from Facts,” he calls it, and offers many examples. He uses issues such as the fracking boom, the state budget deficit, the “war on coal,” healthcare policy, and economic policies to show how leaders in West Virginia regularly make patently false assertions without being challenged or questioned by the media.

O’Leary’s recent book, The State of My State: A Native Son’s Search for West Virginia, was reviewed by Poet Laureate Marc Harshman thus: “The keen political insights contained here are desperately needed. For a long time I have wondered why West Virginians regularly support policies that hurt them economically. O’Leary’s finely reasoned arguments help us understand this disturbing contradiction.”

This is an event that you will want to share with friends. O’Leary’s columns can be found at:
www.the-state-of-my-state.com

Local Government Committee Report

Throughout this past year, the Local Government Committee focused on county government.  In November it conducted a workshop on county government at the new Sheriff’s Office Building. The workshop featured a guest county commissioner, Lyn Widmyer, from a five commissioner county government system in Jefferson County as well as a speaker, Ora Ash, from the State Auditor’s office.  There were also presentations on county government structures and citizen accessibility to county government information. Following the workshop, the Committee, in consultation with the League Board, prepared a list of recommendations for the Monongalia County Commission and met with the County Commission during a special session in April to discuss the recommendations. The Commission requested that an additional public session be conducted in the future.

Thanks to Student Volunteers

Katheryn Heller and Anna Blankenship are students in the Reed School of Journalism at WVU who have spent hours meeting with the Board, working with the Voter Service Committee, and designing materials and press releases for us. These include a colorful new brochure.

This cooperative work came about through the WVU Center for Service and Learning. This joint effort culminated in a Candidate Forum held on campus on Wednesday, April 16. Katie and Anna are capable and generous with their time and ideas.

The Board has been very pleased with the results of this collaboration. Note: Anna will be interning with Shelly Moore Capito and Katie will be interning at the White House this summer.

A video of the Forum produced by Katie and Anna can be found on the LWV-WV web page at:
http://www.lwvwv.org/tag/video/

Voters Service

The local League had two candidate forums this April, one for the House of Delegates and one for the Board of Education. Both were well attended and both the candidates and the audience were very grateful to the League for holding the forums.

Natural Resources 

This past year the League has been active with the group NoInjectionWell.Org, publicizing the fracking wastewater injection well being considered or Masontown, WV, near the Deckers Creek rail trail. This month the Energy Corporation of America decided they would not pursue the project at this time. The group was pleased that they had continued to get petitions signed and to talk to local government officials. Statewide the State League is part of several environmental coalitions.

Help Needed for
A Study of Library Financing

The League plans to embark on an ambitious season.  The plans this year include a special public meeting with the County Commission, a Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP) meeting, and our regularly planned innovative Candidate Forums. We will also host A Study of Library Financing in WV.  In order to meet the October deadline for the Library Study, we must start the study preparations this summer.  There will be a committee appointed to read the State League’s Library Study material and gather any additional information.  This could include interviewing library staffs, and asking how they are funded.  We have already taken a step forward because of our Public Library Funding Issues membership meeting in October, 2013.   The final product of this effort will be a meeting of our League to come to a consensus in August or September.

The League would like to appeal to our membership and interested individuals to step forward to help in whatever capacity you can on the Library Financing Study.  Please contact Jonathan Rosenbaum.

Proposed 2014-2015 Local Program 

1. Local Government:
a. Study of County Government, including:
(1) Laws concerning the number of County Commissioners, their responsibilities and authority.
(2) Taxation, revenues and budget disbursements.
b. Organize a public meeting with the County Commission on County Government issues.
c. Revive Observer Corps

2. Planning: Action to promote orderly development in Monongalia County and monitor the work of the Monongalia County Planning Commission.

3. Transportation:
a. Monitor and take action where needed with regard to improving traffic conditions, including pedestrian and cyclist safety.
b. Monitor the implementation of the Complete Streets legislation so that the design of our transportation system can be inclusive of all forms of transportation.

4. Voters Service: Continue to advocate for open access to registration and voting.

5. Natural Resources:
a. 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.
b. 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.
c. 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.
d. Study Source Water Protection Program (SWPP).

6. Social Justice: Explore local collaborations.

Consensus Positions

Local GovernmentThe LWVMMC favors the adoption and implementation of comprehensive plans for Morgantown and Monongalia County: meaning a comprehensive plan or any of its parts such as a comprehensive plan of land use, or thoroughfares; of water and sanitation; or recreation and other related matters; and including such ordinances as may be deemed necessary to implement such complete comprehensive plans or parts thereof, with provision for such regulations as deemed necessary. (September, 1969; reworded November 1973)

Land Use (Natural Resources)Support the implementation of planning in Morgantown and Monongalia County.

Mark your Calendars!

May 14, 6:30pm Annual Meeting at the Aull Center!

LWVMM Newsletter May 2014