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Thursday, September 20, 2018
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  • Thursday, September 20, 2018 4:00 AM
    September is Voter Registration Month and the League of Women Voters urges all Montgomery County citizens to be sure you are registered to vote!
    The November 2018 Elections are exceedingly important and will include one Indiana United States Senator seat and all nine Congressional seats. In addition, Hoosiers will be electing Secretary of State, Auditor, and Treasurer as well as all state representatives.
    The League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, under the leadership of Myra Dunn Abbott has been conducting a series of Voter Registration opportunities for local citizens. The LWV registered voters 6-8 p.m. at the July 27 "40 Under 40" event at the General Lew Wallace study with a table with Registration and applications for absentee forms, offered "Vote USA" temporary Tattoos, and distributed copies flyer listing information about early voting and Voter Centers as well as LWV "Governmental Directories 2018 for Crawfordsville and Montgomery County and copies of FOCUS on MONTGOMERY County.
    The LWV had a popular booth at National Night Out August 1 at Milligan Park registering voters and distributing voting information. Friday, August 3, the League had a booth 5-9 p.m. to register voters and distribute information at the First Friday celebration at Canine Plaza. Again on Friday, August 17 the League had a voter registration booth from 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. at Lunch on the Plaza. Saturday, August 25 during the Taste of Montgomery County the LWV again had a booth in front of the Lew Wallace Study from 12 noon- 10 p.m.
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  • Thursday, September 13, 2018 4:00 AM
    The United States system of government is based on the premise that government is a creature of the people and is accountable to them. An open and accountable government is the cornerstone of a healthy, vibrant democracy. Since its founding, members of the League of Women Voters have been on the frontlines to promote governmental transparency at the local, state and national levels. 
    The League believes it is incredibly important for citizens to know more about their government. Since 1947, members of the LWV of Montgomery County have served as observers at many of the government boards, councils, and commissions in Crawfordsville and the county.
    The Observers listen and learn how these governmental boards function and what issues they handle. The League seeks to assist its members and the public to become better educated about local issues. The Observers are the eyes and ears of the League—a pipeline to what is being thought, said, and done in local government. LWV Observers do not speak for the League but note and record what transpires.
    The LWV’s Observer Corps is a benefit not only for its members but also for the citizens as large, as well as for the governmental bodies observed. Often, the League observer is the only member of the public present at board meetings; and by that presence, the board members know that citizens are interested and do care.
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  • Thursday, September 6, 2018 4:00 AM
    Looks Do Matter was the topic presented by Oscar Anderson, Co-President of the LWV of Indiana and a professional graphic designer, at the Tuesday Lunch with the League. His message is exceedingly valuable to all organizations.
    Everything has an identity. Identity is how we are perceived as well as what we accomplish. The League of Women Voters, as well as any organization, is dedicated to fulfilling our mission by promoting our goals and policies to as many people as possible. Identity is integral to making this happen.
    So exactly what is identity? Over the past years, the term (at least in marketing and advertising terms) has been replaced by the word “brand.” Many people will look at an organization’s logo and consider that to be the brand. Actually, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Your identity includes your mission statement, the way you conduct yourself and the way you interact with each other as well as the community. It is how you look, feel and act.
    One obvious aspect of branding is visual communications. Whether digital or printed, they are a direct reflection on how your organization is viewed. If a communication looks sloppy, disorganized and hard to read, it will hurt your brand. Organizations need to take a thoughtful approach at what is produced and how to improve upon it.
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  • Thursday, August 30, 2018 4:00 AM
    The voters are supposed to pick their politicians but here in Indiana, as in most states, the politicians pick the voters. That is because every ten years, when the law requires that our legislative districts be redrawn to reflect changes in population and demographics, it is the politicians, not the voters, who are in charge of this redistricting.
    When the politicians redraw the boundaries, they usually have their own self-interest at the heart of their efforts. Many of the districts in Indiana, especially around the larger metropolitan areas, have some crazy shapes that are intentionally drawn to favor incumbents. This is what is known as Gerrymandering and it is a top priority of the League of Women Voters to do anything we can to end this practice. To be fair, the state legislative boundaries in Montgomery County are not nearly as distorted as other districts. But our neighbor to the south, Greencastle, has the state senate districts split right through the center of town!
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  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 4:00 AM
    Sunday will mark the 98th Anniversary of ratification of the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote. This achievement on August 26, 1920 was a result of a 72-year effort by visionary and courageous women who lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied and organized demonstrations in support of suffrage for women.
    The fight for woman suffrage had its roots in the 1848 “Declaration of Sentiments” drawn up at the first women’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York. Early suffrage leaders—Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Myra Bradwell, Zerelda Wallace (stepmother of Lew Wallace) and many more—worked tirelessly for women’s suffrage during the latter half of 19th century. Dr. Mary Holloway Wilhite of Crawfordsville chaired the organizing committee for Woman’s Suffrage Association of Montgomery County.
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  • Thursday, August 16, 2018 1:49 AM
    Thomas Bena’s thought-provoking film “One Big Home” was a recent Green Issues film in the series co-sponsored by League of Women Voters and Wabash College Library. A thoughtful crowd gathered to see the work of this young carpenter turned filmmaker.
    Pena, the grandson of immigrants, had come to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts to become part of the local economy as a builder. After a few years of good work building homes--that he noticed were getting bigger and bigger--he took off his tool belt and picked up a camera to document how the island is being dramatically changed by seasonal homeowners who build what are often called “trophy houses” that measure upwards of 10,000 square feet. 
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  • Thursday, August 9, 2018 4:00 AM
    Why Vote? American democracy is a work in progress, often slow, and sometimes doesn’t yield the results we want. However, imagine not having a choice at all. Imagine that someone else picks the officials, representatives and leaders. That is what happens if you don’t vote. You have made choice to let others decide. The upcoming November General Election is exceedingly important and will impact citizens at all levels.
    A main focus of the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County is to encourage all citizens to vote. However, in order to vote, you must be registered. Citizens can register to vote right now through October 9, 2018.
    Who can register? You are qualified to register and vote in the November 6 General Election if you:
    * Are a citizen of the United States
    * Will be at least 18 years old on or before November 6
    * Resident of Indiana for at least 30 days prior to the election
    * Not currently in prison after being convicted of a crime
    If you have changed your name or address, you need to re-register. There are several ways to get this done. You can register in person, by mail or online.
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  • Thursday, August 2, 2018 4:00 AM
    The concept of planning has been an emotional topic in Montgomery County since before 1951 when Crawfordsville established a Plan Commission. Montgomery County, however, does not have a Comprehensive Plan. Efforts to develop a county plan have been stopped several times. But the vast majority of other counties in Indiana and throughout the United States DO have plans. Why?
    Webster’s Dictionary defines plan as a “Method for achieving an end goal…an orderly arrangement of parts of an overall design or objective.” In today’s competitive economic environment, prospective businesses and manufacturing operations are interested in a county’s vision for the future and what to expect before committing to invest and locate in that community.
    Planning is about being proactive rather than reactive. If local citizens don’t plan, other groups will do it for us. In good economic times, communities plan for “smart growth” as opposed to “dumb sprawl.” Planning is required to be sure there are adequate resources and infrastructure to attract the kind of growth that will provide employment and improve our community. In bad economic times, planning is important to use scarce resources wisely.
    While there are those who automatically rise up against “planning,” Montgomery County historically has benefited mightily from visionary individuals who in the past planned for the future. The effort which resulted in the Federal Land Office being moved to Crawfordsville in 1823 was exceedingly important for our county.
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  • Thursday, July 26, 2018 4:00 AM
    "The Warning; How Intelligence and Science Met Climate Change" was shown July 18 at the fourth Green Issues film co-sponsored by League of Women Voters and Wabash College Library at the Fine Arts enter. This film is a documentary based on interviews with military intelligence officers and scientists from both the United States and Russia.
    The majority of the film is an historical documentary of a successful international cooperation between the United States and Russia. In 1990, Linda Zall at the CIA gathered together a group of 70 scientists to study the environment. This group took the name Medea. Both the CIA and Russian surveillance agencies had considerable data on the Arctic gathered over the decades. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, Senator Al Gore suggested that the CIA and other government intelligence or science agencies share their research and satellite observations with Russian intelligence and science agencies in order to determine if the climate was indeed warming.
    During the Cold War, each side spied on the other, taking extensive photographs of both countries and the Arctic Ocean. Sharing data allowed scientists to look at what was happening to the Arctic over decades. 
    The main themes of this portion of the film are the relationships between scientists and the government, and also between the United States and Russia. When the US and Russian scientists got to know each other, they got along well. 
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  • Thursday, July 19, 2018 4:00 AM
    The United States Constitution mandates that redistricting of the United States House of Representatives and state legislative districts occur following the Census taken every 10 years. The Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting was created by the AARP, Common Cause, the League of Women Voters of Indiana and others to encourage a redistricting process that is fair and open and results in compact districts which protect communities of interest, and upholds the Voting Rights Act.
    Tuesday was the anniversary of the birthday (July 17, 1744) of Eldridge Gerry, noted as the “Father of Gerrymandering.” Gerry had run unsuccessfully for Massachusetts Governor several times before winning the office in 1810. In 1812, he encouraged the legislature to approve a district which looked much like a salamander to assure a positive outcome. The term “gerrymandering” has been used ever since to identify the process by which electoral districts are drawn with the aim of aiding the party in power.
    The Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting declared July 17—Gerry’s birthday the Day of Action for Redistricting Reform to remind state legislators that time is running out for redistricting reform and to put this at the top of legislative agenda next year.
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  • Thursday, July 12, 2018 4:00 AM
    Eighty-one percent of assessed stream miles in Indiana are polluted with unsafe concentrations of pathogens. Added to that is the fact that Indiana has more of these coal ash lagoons (84 in total) than any other state. More than West Virginia or Kentucky! These are just two of the topics that were part of a recent Lunch with the League presentation by Liz Solberg, League of Women Voters of Indiana State Natural Resources Advocate. 
    Solberg has spent almost five decades studying and monitoring the Wabash River Watershed. This is one of the three Mississippi River sub-basins that have the dubious distinction of delivering the highest nutrient loads (large quantities of nitrogen, phosphates and other chemicals) into the Gulf of Mexico. This has resulted in the creation of a huge "dead zone" (a more common term for hypoxia, which refers to areas in the ocean of such low oxygen concentration that animal life suffocates and dies) in the Gulf. Think about it--pollution in not only the Wabash River but Sugar Creek, Big Raccoon Creek and all the other streams and tributaries in our area affect habitats thousands of miles away. There is a lot of work to be done.
    Nationally, the League has a very clear position on water quality: Support measures to reduce pollution in order to protect surface water, groundwater and drinking water. The League of Greater Lafayette has taken it one step farther by promoting environmentally sustainable corridor development along the Wabash.
    Four decades ago, as many might remember, there were open garbage dumps along the banks of the Wabash. The League worked hard and secured an EPA grant for solid waste management education. Events were held for local officials to raise awareness of the deadly implications of ongoing disposal practices. Thanks to another EPA grant, the League was able to show the effects of non-point water pollution (Nonpoint source pollution generally results from land runoff, precipitation, atmospheric deposition, drainage, seepage).
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  • Thursday, July 5, 2018 4:00 AM
    Independence Day yesterday marked 52 years since the landmark Freedom of Information Act went into effect—yet some Americans are still distrustful of government.
    The Freedom of Information Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 4, 1966. This legislation gives citizens the right to request and obtain documents from any agency of the Executive Branch of the United States Government except those that are exempted by statute such as classified documents.
    FOIA applies only to federal government agencies. Each agency is responsible for meeting FOIA responsibilities for its own records and for having specific information available on its website. Each agency must provide clear description of its central and field organizations and places from which the public may obtain information, make requests, or obtain decisions.
    The law has been amended over the years, first in 1974, following the Watergate scandal. In 1976, the Sunshine Act amendments specified several exemptions, such as national defense. A Presidential Executive Order in 1982 allowed withholding information related to national security.
    The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 required certain types of records to be available electronically. In 2001, a Presidential Executive Order restricted access to records of former Presidents. The Intelligence Authorization Act of 2002 precluded any covered US intelligence agency from disclosing records in response to requests made by foreign governments.
    The “Open Government Act of 2007,” signed by President Bush, was a bipartisan effort to achieve meaningful reforms with over a dozen substantive provisions to achieve four objectives:
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  • Thursday, June 28, 2018 4:00 AM
    “From Flint: Voices of a Poisoned City” was a recent Green Issues Film co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Wabash College Library. “From Flint” helped viewers realize the impact of Flint, Michigan’s devastating water contamination crisis on ordinary citizens. This failure of public service began in 2014 and its impact continues today. Viewers are taken on the ground to see how public services that we take for granted will fail if governmental officials fail to protect public health.
    The 28-minute “From Flint” goes well beyond news headlines to hear residents describe their personal struggles, including serious medical issues that affected them. Up to 12,000 children may have been exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water. Some residents were also forced to abandon their homes without warning.
    The film also highlights how citizens of Flint organized large, peaceful protests to express to the wider world the anger over their local government that first failed to protect them and then was slow to admit that and take corrective measures.
    In 2014, city officials in Flint switched the city water supply from Detroit’s municipal water system, one of the world’s cleanest, to water drawn from the Flint River which is highly contaminated with lead and other contaminants. Not only was the health of an entire city of 12,000 impacted, but the polluted water damaged the infrastructure through which it flows.
    Flint’s citizens have not only been victims of this catastrophe, they have been its heroes. “From Flint” also highlights how people and local organizations have banded together to help and support one as they deal with their own health issues and with issues that arise when water from taps cannot be used for drinking, cooking, nor bathing.
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  • Thursday, June 21, 2018 4:00 AM
    Saturday will mark the 46th Anniversary of the passage of Title IX, the law that opened up many opportunities for women in the classroom, sports and more. The National Women’s History Projects notes “Title IX of the Education Amendments for the 1972, signed by President Nixon, is one of the most important legislative initiatives passed for women and girls since women won the vote in 1920.”
    Title IX, passed on June 23, 1972, states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
    While many people think of Title IX with its impact on high school and collegiate athletics, the legislation covers all educational activities. However, the benefits Title IX brought to the playing fields of our schools can also be credited with increasing the numbers of women graduating from high school and college, earning graduate degrees and entering into traditionally male-dominated careers.
    Title IX was written by Congresswoman Patsy T. Mink who cited the adversities she faced in obtaining her college degrees at the University of Hawaii, University of Nebraska and the University of Chicago as a driving force for her to initiate this landmark legislation.
    Interestingly, Indiana Senator Birch Bayh has often been called the “Father of Title IX” as he too was instrumental in crafting the legislation and then successfully seeing it through the United States Senate. The former Senator returned to Indiana in 2002 to participate in the 30th Anniversary celebration of Title IX conducted at the NCAA Hall of Champions in Indianapolis and at which the LWV of Montgomery County was represented.
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  • Thursday, June 14, 2018 4:00 AM
    Indiana has a dubious commonality with Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, and Wyoming. We’re one of only these four other states that have no statutes criminalizing various types of bias-motivated violence or intimidation. In a recent “Lunch With the League” presentation, Dr. Anita Joshi, who has practiced pediatrics in Crawfordsville for over 20 years, made a clear case for the need of such legislation in Indiana.
    Hate crimes are those motivated by biases based on race, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. They are particularly sad because the person committing a crime like assault might have no other reason for the attack other than the person they are attacking happens to be Hispanic or gay or whatever. The underlying crime is assault. This crime becomes much more troubling and serious when it becomes clear that the underlying motivation is bigotry or racism.
    Indian law does have a definition for hate crime and law enforcement agencies are required to report them. The problem is, defining hate crimes is one thing. Backing up the definition with anti-bias legislation is really what we need. Legislation would allow for harsher penalties for the criminals. It would help in the maintenance of more consistent record keeping of hate crime offenses as well as giving prosecutors an much more robust tool to show the public that intolerance is unacceptable to the citizens of Indiana.
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The Paper of Montgomery County,
a division of Sagamore News Media 
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