Morgantown-Monongalia Categories

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

March 2014 Morgantown Newsletter

March 11 Membership Meeting

Bring a friend!

Local Program Planning

At the Annual Meeting this May, our Proposed Local Program for 2014-2015 will be presented for approval. Our League is a grassroots organization where members and interested citizens may participate in planning. While non-members cannot participate in the consensus portion of program planning, they can be part of the meeting. This is why we encourage you to ask at least one individual you know to attend our Membership Meeting at Eat’n Park on March 11, 7-9pm, especially individuals interested in “hot” issues.

Program planning is a three-part process that is a core component of the League’s mission. It is composed of study on issues, consensus on what action to take, and advocating with one voice for that action. Our current programs include Local Government, Voters Service, Planning, Natural Resources, Transportation, and Social Justice. Programs are the foundation we build on to advocate for positive change. Arrive at 7pm, if you want to order a snack, dessert or meal. At 7:30pm, we will review existing studies for each program and open the floor for desired additions/changes and new programs that citizens would be interested in. It is that simple!

Remember, even if you cannot attend the meeting on the 11th, or if it is canceled due to the weather, you may still submit recommendations to jr@lwvwv.org until the 17th, or attend the board meeting on that same date at the Morgantown Public Library, 6-8pm when the Board considers the recommendations of all members.

League program planning occurs on the national, regional, state, and local levels. Local Leagues, like ours, can play a direct role in developing these programs on all these levels. The positions that result from these programs include LWVUS’s Impact on Issues, LWVWV’s League Issues in West Virginia and LWVMM’s Consensus Positions. They can be found at these links:

LWVUS: http://lwv.org/files/Impact-on-Issues-2012-2014.pdf
LWVWV: http://www.lwvwv.org/library/lwvwv
LWVMM: http://www.lwvwv.org/library/lwvmm (2013-14 Local Program)

 

NATURAL RESOURCES

Members of the Natural Resources committee have been working with the group NoInjectionWell.org to publicize the possible placing of an injection well for fracking waste water near Deckers Creek. Energy Corporation of America (ECA) is currently determining the feasibility of a site outside Masontown, 500 ft from the rail trail and Deckers Creek.

The League helped with a petition gathering effort in Masontown, WV early in February where many Masontown citizens (including the mayor of Masontown) registered their fears about spills and leakage of the toxic wastewater into the Deckers Creek and their underground water.

The League is also working with a planning committee of NoInjectionWell.org to bring a speaker to Morgantown to talk about the realities and dangers of fracking wastewater injection wells, and what has happened around the country where there are hundreds in place. There are already at least 70 injection wells in West Virginia. Our Board has registered its opposition with ECA on the placement of one near Deckers Creek.

The next meeting of NoInjectionWell.org is March 12, Wednesday, at 6:30 pm at the Isaak Walton League Clubhouse. All members of the League of Women Voters are welcome. Call Kitty Lozier, 304-599-8233 for directions or a ride. See the Website at Noinjectionwell.org for details about the organization.

 

VOTERS SERVICE

The League is sponsoring a Board of Education Candidate Forum on April 23, Wednesday, at 7pm at the Village at Heritage Point. Candidates this year are incumbents Clarence Harvey, Central District; Michael Kelly, Western District; and Barbara Parsons Schauff, Central District. A new candidate, Robert Lynn Core, will also be on the ballot.

On May 13, the Board of Education contest will be a final election rather than a primary. The three candidates with the most votes will be on the Board of Education.

The League is also sponsoring a House of Delegates Candidate Forum. There are seven Democrats and seven Republicans running inthe primary. Five from each party will be elected to run in the fall. The forum will be April 16, Wednesday, 7-9pm, at the Rhododendron room in the Mountainlair.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The second workshop, What d’ ya know .. About Monongalia County Government was well attended, and educational. You can now access all documents and presentations from the complete series at http://lwvwv.org/tag/workshops.

Lyn Widmyer

Ora Ash

Slide: 5 member commission

John Sofranko

.. And we had an exciting Legislators Forum – Dec. 2! 

Also in this issue, check out the Calendar for important dates.   Annual Meeting is being planned for May 14, 1 day after Election Day!

LWVMM Newsletter March 2014

 

November 2013 Morgantown Newsletter

What D’ya Know … About County Government?

Our second Workshop on Local Government will be held Wednesday, November 6, 7-9 p.m. at the new Sheriff’s Building on the corner of Walnut and University Avenue, Room 222. (Parking is available in the parking garage on University Avenue; enter the building on Walnut Street). The first workshop last March on City Government was very well attended and sparked considerable discussion. We anticipate an even greater response to this workshop on County issues. Please make this a priority on your calendar! We need a full turnout of our members, and hope to have a good turnout from the public as well. 

Workshop Program 

What d’ ya know?” – A distribution of a multiple choice “pre-test” which people can take while others are arriving, perhaps take home, and then correct themselves

Welcome and Orientation to evening
– Lyndell Millecchia

Grab a “stool” and let’s talk together about how things operate around here!” A session on the components of Monongalia County Government, some related questions and issues
– Don Spencer and Kitty Lozier

Three Issues – A Panel Presentation

Practical Experience on a Five Member County Commission”  
- Lyn Widmyer, County Commissioner from Jefferson County

County Finance and Budgeting in Monongalia County”
– Ora Ash, Head of Local Governmental Services Division, WV State Auditor’s Office

Accessibility and Transparency in Monongalia County Government”
– John Sofranko, League member

Evaluation and Adjournment of Meeting

Refreshments

LOCAL GOVERNMENT 

Purpose of 2013 Workshops on Local Government: To give League members and other interested persons an opportunity to update their awareness of the operations of our local government, prepare for candidates forums, and consider pertinent current issues relating to both City and County government. Part I (City Government) was held in March and Part II (County Government) will be November 6.

Goal: To increase informed and active participation in local government.

 If you are able to help with this workshop (handing out information, providing refreshments, or signing in participants), please contact Lyndell Millecchia at 599-0904 or Shirley Rosenbaum at 599-2370.

  

MEMBERSHIP MEETING – Library funding

At our Membership Meeting on October 16 we chose the subject of Library Funding because the League on a state level has embarked on a study of WV Library Funding. Our Local League consensus position from October, 1990 includes the statement that “the County Commission should provide more funding for library services; the city should not necessarily be the primary local funding body, as is now the case.” Twenty-three years later, we learn that the situation has not changed; instead we heard from Morgantown Public Library Director Sharon Turner that the city is still critical when it comes to funding and to “Please let the County Commission know how important the library is.” Currently, 45% of funding comes from the city, and only 18% comes from the county. While our county is the third richest in the state, we are at the bottom 20% in terms of funding from the county, and at the bottom 20% for all funding sources, and this is in a state where library funding ranks 48th in total operating revenue per capita and 49th in local operating revenue per capita. But the story only gets worse because there were reductions in funding this year. Like reading a good detective novel borrowed from a public library, it was hard to leave this meeting without pondering what our consensus positions may be for our upcoming study.

 For more information about library funding, please visit the WV Library Commission for a A Brief History of Public Libraries in West Virginia at http://tinyurl.com/BriefHistoryPLWV and the August 2013 Public Library Funding Review at http://tinyurl.com/Library-Funding-Review-2013 

League Table at Farmer’s Market

Shirley Rosenbaum Registers a Voter 

On September 28, Gloria Sofranko set up a table at the Farmer’s Market with information about our league and forms for registering voters. There were many visitors to the table. Thanks to all members who helped with this effort!

NATURAL RESOURCES 

The Friends of Deckers Creek are organizing a community-based action group to oppose the installation of a wastewater storage injection well for the liquid waste from hydraulic fracking.  The well, proposed by Energy Corporation of America, would be 500 feet from Deckers Creek and the rail-trail head near Masontown.

An organizing meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 30, at 6:30 pm at the FODC office in Sabraton, 1451 Earl Core Rd, Suite #4, behind the US Cellular Store. Please attend if you are interested.  Contact Kitty Lozier, 304-599-8233 for a ride or information.

LWV Newsletter November 2013

September-October 2013 Morgantown Newsletter

Farmers Market Table September 28

On Saturday, September 28, the local League will have an information table at the Farmers Market in downtown Morgantown from 8:30-12. 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 Gloria Sofranko at gloria@sofranko.org or call her at 703-389-1103 if you would like to help.

Membership Meeting: October 16

Our Fall Membership Meeting will be held Wednesday, October 16, 7-9 pm at the Aull Center (Historic Garlow House) 351 Spruce Street. We will have as our special guest Sharon Turner, Director of the Morgantown Public Library. She will be speaking on the funding of the library system. Since both the County Commission and City Council recently cut funding to the library, the issue is important locally. Other issues that may be covered are: changes in the library stemming from e-books and other technology advances, accommodating the homeless population, and promoting the library and its services.

At the State League Convention in May it was decided to have a State League study of funding for WV Public libraries. Earlier this year the State Supreme Court overturned a 1957 state law which required nine county school systems in West Virginia to turn over a portion of their budget to help fund their local public libraries.

 Information gathered at our membership meeting will help with the State study. We encourage members to come, bring a friend, enjoy refreshments and learn about our public library as well as the committees in our League which are available for members to join.

Meeting on County Government November 6

There will be a public meeting on County Government on November 6, 7-9 pm at the new Sheriff’s Department building on Beechurst Avenue. Topics may include: mission, budget and taxes, number of commissioners, zoning, meeting time of the commission, media coverage of meetings, collaboration with municipalities, and county boards and commissions. Don Spencer will create a quiz (with answers) to get us started. (Parking is available in the parking garage on Beechurst).

During our May Annual Meeting, one of our newest members, Bill Kawecki, suggested that we acquire the ability to receive credit cards at meetings since there is now technology that makes this easy for organizations.  This capability is now here!  Along with the ability to pay/donate online with your credit card or PayPal account at http://tinyurl.com/paylwvmm , you may now easily swipe your physical credit card at our meetings on a device known as PayPal Here!

NATURAL RESOURCES

The League has sent a letter to the Energy Corporation of America opposing a possible injection well for hydraulic fracturing waste water in Preston County. The company is exploring a site 500 feet from the entrance to the Deckers Creek trail outside of Masontown, WV. The Friends of Deckers Creek are publicizing information on the dangers to Deckers Creek if such a well were allowed at that site.

Go to the League website for information from FODC, as well as our letter from the League Board. We encourage you to write your own letter to the company if you are so moved.

GUIDE TO GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

 The 2013 Guide for local city, county, state, and federal officials was completed in July this year, and is available online for the first time, at our LWVWV website . Guides will also be on hand at the Membership meeting – be sure to pick up a copy.

Also in this edition, Report on the Annual Meeting, our newest members, how to become a League Member, and Newsletter Editor wanted.

LWV Newsletter September-October 2013

April-May 2013 Morgantown Newsletter

Annual Meeting: Evening Dessert and Special Speaker

Our Annual Meeting this year will begin with an evening dessert and special speaker, followed by the business meeting. We have reserved the lodge at Dorsey’s Knob for the event, which will begin May 15 at 6:30 p.m. Guests are welcome! 

Jim Hunt

Our special speaker will be James C. Hunt, who was one of the speakers at our recent Local Government workshop/forum in March. His topic, “From Great to Amazing” will cover how cities deal with growth, revitalization and challenges.  (It is also the title of his new book which will be coming out at the end of the year.) We hope all of you will invite friends to what should be a very stimulating talk. We will ask attendees for a suggested contribution of $5 to help pay for expenses. If you have a special dessert you would like to bring (such as rhubarb pie, strawberry shortcake, fresh fruit or meringues), please call Shirley Rosenbaum at 599-2370.

The dessert and presentation will be followed by our annual business meeting with election of board members, adoption of the budget, and consideration of program items for 2013-2014. The budget and proposed program are in this newsletter. 

Local League Successes

 We had a very stimulating Local Government Committee meeting at the Aull Center in March, with about 40 people attending. Almost 100 people came to our City Council Candidate Forum in April. We appreciate everyone who contributed time and effort in organizing these events, as well as those who brought the delicious refreshments.

We have received a letter from the President of the LWV-US, congratulating our league for increasing its membership by 40% in 2012. We grew from 40 to 56 members! Many thanks to our Membership Chair, Shirley Rosenbaum, and all those who helped!

Complete Streets Bill Approved

League Transportation Committee Chair, Jonathan Rosenbaum, is delighted to announce that the Complete Streets Act (SB158) was approved by the Governor on April 19!   We thank Senator Bob Beach of Monongalia County for being the lead sponsor of the bill.

Annual Meeting Schedule

6:00-6:30 Set up desserts; gathering, pay dues

6:30-7:00 Enjoy sampling desserts

7:00-8:00 Jim Hunt talk and Q&A period

8:00-9:00 Business meeting

Business Meeting
Treasurer’s Report
Adoption of Budget
Nominating Committee Report
Election of Officers and Board Members
Discussion and adoption of Program for 2013-14 (below)

LWV Morgantown-Monongalia County
Proposed 2013-2014 Local Program

1. Local Government:
Study of County Government, including:
a. Laws concerning the number of County Commissioners, their responsibilities and authority.
b. Taxation, revenues and budget disbursements.

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.

6. Social Justice: Explore “Jobs with Justice” principles.

Consensus Positions

Local Government
The 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.

Also in this edition, proposed budget, special request from the Dominion Post, our newest members and how to become a League Member.

Mark your Calendars!

May 15 Annual Meeting at Dorsey’s Knob!

Morgantown-Monongalia Newsletter April-May 2013

February-March 2013 Morgantown Newsletter

What D’ya Know … About City Government?

Our March meeting for members and the public will focus on what you always wanted to know about local government – what’s happening now, and what may change in the future. The meeting will be held at the Aull Center (Garlow House), next door to the Morgantown Public Library on Spruce Street, from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13. There will be speakers introducing issues and responding to questions related to “City Manager/Council Form of Government”, “A Downtown for All”, and “Home Rule”. Morgantown residents and everyone in the Morgantown area will find this forum helpful in increasing their awareness of the operations of our local government, and hopefully will lead to increased participation of citizens at local levels of government. The forum will be followed by refreshments.

City Council Candidate Forum

There are 13 Candidates running for the seven seats on Morgantown City Council. Each council candidate has gathered at least 75 signatures from his or her ward, but will be elected “at large”; that is, everyone in the city votes for all candidates, one per ward. The City Charter determined that this system would ensure ward representation, but each councilperson would be responsible to the city as a whole. In the upcoming election on April 30, there are two wards that have only one candidate; four have two candidates; and one has three candidates. In order to decide which candidates will best represent you, please plan to attend our candidate forum on Wednesday, April 17, at Suncrest United Methodist Church, 7-9 p.m. The question and answer period will be followed by refreshments and informal discussion.

City Council Candidates

The following are candidates for Morgantown City Council, to be elected April 30, 2013. Incumbents are listed in bold font. There is no incumbent in the 6th Ward.

1st Ward: Ron Bane
2nd Ward: Bill Kawecki, Jim Manilla
3rd Ward: Wes Nugent
4th Ward: Bill Graham, Jenny Selin
5th Ward: Mark Furfari, Marti Shamberger
6th Ward: Mike Fike, Lisa Mardis, Jay Redmond
7th Ward: Nancy Ganz, Linda Herbst

Action Alerts

Contact the Governor to include Medicaid Expansion in WV’s Affordable Care Act reform!!
Our Board would like you to be part of a calling/mailing/e-mailing outreach to Governor Tomblin and our legislators encouraging them to ACCEPT MEDICAID EXPANSION AS PART OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IN WEST VIRGINIA.

Medicaid expansion means putting 125,000-130,000 more WV low income people on Medicaid as their way of having health insurance under the ACA. If a family or individual earns 133% of the poverty level, or less, they may qualify.

Find excellent talking points and contact information at http://tinyurl.com/wvaca !

Lobby as a Citizen for Strong Shale Gas Rules and Legislation! Free support!
The WV Legislature 2013 Regular Session is open.  Please remind your representatives that we have not forgotten that the Horizontal Well Act still has many problems, and needs to be strengthened.

For many of us, Charleston is far away, but that should not deter us from contacting our representatives by phone, mail, or email.

Please visit http://tinyurl.com/shalegaslobbying to find out how you can contact your representatives, or become a citizen lobbyist in Charleston!

Also in this edition, learn about our leadership changes, read about Renate Pore’s AHA presentation, how two League Members attend the Largest Environmental Gathering in History, and how to become a League Member.

Mark your Calendars!

March 13 and April 17 League Events!

LWV Newsletter February-March 2013

November-December 2012 Morgantown Newsletter

Watch for these events, more details below:  County Commission Study (Nov. 13), Comprehensive Planning (Nov. 14), Natural Resources Committee (Nov. 19), Renate Pore – Affordable Care Act (Dec. 5).

GUEST SPEAKER RENATE PORE: AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

Our December meeting will feature a presentation by Renate Pore on “The Affordable Care Act: Implications for West Virginia”. Renate Pore is the Health Policy Director with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. Dr. Pore has more than 30 years’ experience in health administration and policy. She helped to create and establish the Center and currently serves as a policy analyst on health care and early childhood issues. She has worked in public health, administered a rural health center, and served two West Virginia governors as director of the Governor’s Health Care Reform Commission and the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Families. Members of AAUW and the public have also been invited to this special discussion, which will be held at The Village at Heritage Point on Wednesday, December 5, 7:00 p.m.

County Commission Study

Many years ago our local League prepared a “Know Your County” booklet. Members became very familiar with the County Commission, and learned about the responsibilities and authority of the commissioners. That was 1981. Not a lot has changed in the laws governing the County Commission, but we felt a need to re-educate ourselves and become more familiar with the current county budget and the relationship between the city and the county in today’s climate of cooperation between the entities. There has also been recent interest in increasing the number of Commissioners from three to five. There are several pros and cons; we would like to come to a local League consensus on this issue. Our meeting on November 13 will begin the process with covering background information about the County Commission. Don Spencer will lead the discussion, which will be held in Lyndell Millecchia’s home at 476 Lawnview Drive. Call 599-0904 for further information.

Natural Resources Committee

This month’s Natural Resources Committee meeting is on Monday, November 19th at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Suncrest United Methodist Church, 479 Van Voorhis Road, lower level classroom. (http://tinyurl.com/cc6y6kk)(map) Several people living in the Cheat Lake area near the Mon Fayette Industrial Park will be speaking about how their lives have been impacted from noise and air pollution from at least 15 Marcellus Shale subsidiaries. Additional agenda items for discussion include a moratorium on new permits for Marcellus gas wells, the WV Future Fund, and Shark Fin soup. Contact Info: Jonathan Rosenbaum, 599-2370.

Comprehensive Planning

There will be a public meeting on Wednesday, November 14, 6-8 p.m. at the Mon County Courthouse (Courtroom 1, Third Floor). The Mon County Planning Commission has initiated the Monongalia County Comprehensive Plan for the four established Planning Districts in the central and eastern parts of the county.
The purpose of the study is to prepare an action plan to address Monongalia County’s existing and future planning needs. These needs may include land use, transportation, water & sewer, environmental protection, or many other categories.

Please come and share your desires for how our community grows! There will be an overview of the study recommendations and time to get your feedback. The information that the Planning Commission gathers through this meeting will be critical to confirming the direction of the comprehensive plan.  Visit PlanMonCounty and http://planmoncounty.com/?p=103 to view associated documents.

Also in this newsletter editionAffordable Care Act, The League in Action and in the News, Where to pay your dues or become a new member.

Facebook

LWVWV has a Facebook page.  Please like it!  Do a Google or Facebook search for “League of Women Voters of West Virginia” or click http://facebook.com/lwvwv.


LWV Newsletter November-December 2012

September 2012 Morgantown Newsletter

Membership Meeting – September 19th

Our Fall Membership Meeting will be held Wednesday, September 19, 7-9 p.m. at the Aull Center (Historic Garlow House) 351 Spruce Street. We will have as our special guest Natalie Tennant (WV Secretary of State) who will be addressing “Voter Issues in West Virginia”.

The LWV has always tried to lower barriers to participation in government. At our Annual Meeting in May, guest speaker Stephen Spaulding gave us many examples in which voters were disenfranchised because of restrictive voter requirements or illegal activities such as Robo-calling. Voter ID rules in other states can be cumbersome and intimidating. Are there any Voter ID issues in West Virginia, or instances of voter fraud? How can we combat misinformation that could discourage citizens from going to the polls? How can our League work to promote voter turnout in the upcoming elections?

Natalie Tennant will address these issues at our membership meeting on September 19th. As always, we encourage others to join the League. We have a new introductory membership fee just for this fall – individual $22, household $33 – good for one year. This is a great time to join the League – we will be holding two candidate forums in October, and are looking forward to several interesting discussion meetings for members in November and December.

Candidate Forums! – October 17 and 24

We will have two Candidate Forums in October. On October 17, all area candidates for House of Delegates (51st and 49th Districts) and WV Senate will be invited. On October 24, candidates for Assessor and for County Commission will participate. Both forums will be held at Suncrest United Methodist Church, 479 Van Voorhis Road, 7-9 p.m. – Catherine Lozier, Voters Service Chair

Natural Resources Report

On July 3, 2012, City Council unanimously approved zoning laws to regulate extractive industries within city limits.  Many of our recommendations made it into the zoning language to the credit of Natural Resource committee members who diligently worked on crafting them.  However, the zoning laws cannot regulate research purposes on WVU properties.   During the Legislative July Interim, the Dominion Post reported that “WVU wants to work with an operator to drill a horizontal well on WVU land. It would be a working well, generating money for the operator. But it would also be a research well, with every bit of data from the first turn of dirt through drilling and production and on being shared to advance knowledge in the field.”  Collaborating information can be found in the 2012 July Legislative Interim Report discussing the WVU Marcellus Shale Research Center also known as H.B. 4511. General Counsel of WVU, Bill Hutchens, points out that the only thing preventing a gas well was that “Investors for the project had to fold their support after gas prices fell.”   Hutchens, the drafter of H.B. 4511 was recorded in the Dominion Post describing this well as the “Dream Project”.  We will have to watch developments carefully because the decimating effects of a working well pad on what little remains of green space in Morgantown would be significant and tragic.

September 6:  State Energy Plan Hearings - This is a public hearing where you may comment on the state’s 5-year energy plan.  You may comment online, too:  See the Natural Resources category at http://lwvwv.org/.

Water and Wellness Conference

A half-day conference on “Wellness and Water: Health Impacts of Fossil Fuel Extraction” will be held this Saturday, Sept. 8 at the First Presbyterian Church, Spruce Street.  The keynote speaker is chemist Wilma Subra, who appeared in the film “Gasland.”  The morning includes workshops and panels with gas drilling/fracking and MTRimpacted residents. Experts include Dr. Ben Stout, who was in “The Last Mountain” and “Burning the Future,” and Dr. Michael Hendryx, whose research focuses on the extreme human health impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Registration begins at 8 a.m., with the keynote at 9 a.m. Closing reception is 1 p.m. A $10 donation is suggested.     Info: Robin Blakeman at robin@ohvec.org or 304-522-0246. The conference is sponsored by OVEC, the W.Va. Chapter of the Sierra Club and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy.

The League in the News

Local League member Linda Yoder was a delegate to the LWV National Convention. She reported on her experiences in the LWVWV Voter.

Our League was highlighted in a front-page article in the Dominion Post on Sunday, September 2.

Also in this newsletter edition, Report on the Annual Meeting, Program 2012-2013.

Facebook

LWVWV has a Facebook page.  Please like it!  Do a Google or Facebook search for “League of Women Voters of West Virginia” or click http://facebook.com/lwvwv.

LWV Newsletter September 2012