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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

  • Thursday, January 18, 2018 4:00 AM
    Important elections will occur in 2018. Hoosiers will elect one member to the U.S. Senate, nine members to United State Congress, 25 of 50 state Senate seats, and 100 state House seats. Locally Montgomery County voters will be electing County Commissioner District 2, County Council Districts 1,2,3,4, County Prosecuting Attorney, Assessor, Auditor, Treasurer, and Sheriff. Crawfordsville voters will be electing Crawfordsville Mayor, Clerk-Treasurer, & seven members of Common Council.
    Voting brings Americans together—it is the one time all are equal. But in order to vote, one must be registered. Are you REGISTERED to Vote? Is everyone in your family registered? What about your neighbors, co-workers, and friends?
    The LWV of Greater Lafayette held a Workshop January 14 on Voter Registration for interested citizens and organizations from a number of counties to help educate all on legal requirements, understanding the registration form, and identifying problems that can arise.
    Requirements to register in Indiana are that the individual: be a United States citizen, be18 years old by day of General Election--November 6, 2018, a resident of the state of Indiana for at least 30 days before the election, and not currently in prison after conviction of a crime. Students who will turn 18 before November 6 can vote in the May Primary!
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  • Thursday, January 11, 2018 4:00 AM
    “In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” This well-known quote from Benjamin Franklin set the tone for a compelling and poignant presentation at a recent League of Women Voters “Lunch With the League” presentation by Cheryl Furhmann, facilitator with Dawn to Dusk Bereavement Services.
    We all have to deal with the grief in one form or another when anyone close to us dies. Grief is a very normal and expected response to the loss of someone and we need to know that there is no right way or wrong way to grieve. Each of us is unique as is the way we deal with death, yet most people share common experiences. As Cheryl put is, grief has many faces: sadness, anger, fear, fatigue, headaches, lack of focus, not feeling ourselves and so on. Grief can make us literally sick, yet it is not a diagnosed illness. Medicare, Medicaid or most insurance policies do not cover it. We’re more often than not left to deal with it ourselves. That’s why Dawn to Dusk Bereavement Services is such a valuable resource in our community.
    Cheryl is a Certified Thanatologist, a person who studies death and the psychological and social aspects of the grieving process. She explained how grief is much more than an emotional response. It can stress us both mentally and physically. It will often strain relationships, alter behavior and cause financial hardship. The old adage “time heals all wounds” simply does not apply. As Cheryl put it, time only masks the real source of our pain. We might manage to delay or repress it until is appears in some other form but it will never disappear. Only by facing it will we ever be able to feel better.
    As mentioned before, each of us is unique in the way we cope with grief. Many of you have heard of the Kübler-Ross 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Cheryl brought up that Kübler-Ross somewhat regrets the term “stages” and the linearity often implied in terms of her research. All or more of the emotions she describes can affect people and in no particular order. The important thing to keep in mind is to know when you should seek help.
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  • Thursday, January 4, 2018 4:00 AM
    January 9 marks the birthday of Carrie Chapman Catt, founder of the League of Women Voters. Catt was one of the key leaders of the suffrage movement and had an impressive life. Born in 1859 in Wisconsin, she graduated valedictorian of her 1880 class at Iowa Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) in just three years and was the only female in her class!
    Catt was appointed superintendent of the Mason City Schools when she was just 24 years old and was one of the few female superintendents in the country at that time. In 1887, Catt began her crusade for woman suffrage when she joined the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association and organized suffrage events throughout the state, working as a dynamic lecturer and writer.
    Catt also became active in the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association attending the National Convention in 1890 and was chosen head of Field Organizing in 1895.
    Her dedication, organizational, speaking and writing skills enhanced by political expertise led to Catt’s election as President of the NAWSA in 1900 to succeed Susan B. Anthony.
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  • Thursday, December 28, 2017 4:00 AM
    At this time of year when many of us make resolutions, the League of Women Voters encourages all to include citizen engagement in your goals for 2018.
    The American governmental system, conceived by our founding fathers more than 200 years ago, has provided the framework for the most responsive government in the world; but it only works if citizens are informed and involved.
    Be knowledgeable about the issues. Montgomery County citizens are invited to attend the “State of City/County” public meeting which will be held Tuesday, January 9, 7 p.m. at Crawfordsville High School Auditorium. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the meeting will feature Mayor Todd Barton and County Commissioner Phil Bane who will present issues and actions of our city and county. Refreshments will be served.
    Voting is the most fundamental right and responsibility of American citizens. Very important elections will be held in 2018 for city, county, state, and national offices. To be eligible to vote, you must be registered. If you are not presently registered, you can register in person at the Voter Registration Office at the Court House or at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The Primary Election will be held Tuesday, May 8 and voters should be registered by April 9.
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  • Thursday, December 21, 2017 4:00 AM
    “What role, if any, should the United States play in helping war-torn nations or promoting democratic ideas and principles around the world?” This was just one of the many questions high school students prepared for in the annual “We the People” state competition recently held in downtown Indianapolis. The primary goal of the “We the People” program is to promote civic competence and responsibility among Indiana's elementary, middle and high school students. The program, administered in our state by the Indiana Bar Foundation, is a classroom curriculum focused on enhancing students’ understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy and discovering the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. 
    The competition format simulates a congressional hearing in which students “testify” before a panel of judges. Students demonstrate their understanding of constitutional principles and have opportunities to evaluate, take, and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues. Oscar Anderson, member of the Montgomery County League of Women Voters and Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Indiana, was one of the 36 judges from around the state to judge this year’s competition. Here’s what he said about his experience: 
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  • Thursday, December 14, 2017 4:00 AM
    There are over 200,000 acres of corn and soybeans planted in Montgomery County according to Jim Luzar, Parke County Extension. That’s more that 200,000 football fields of crop. In a recent “Lunch With the League” program, Luzar led an insightful and very straightforward discussion of the business of farming.
    Like almost everything else today, the modern farming operation is driven by technology and economics. It’s not to say that the bucolic small farm of 160 acres with a meadow, maybe a brook, a freshly painted red barn and a white house with a huge porch doesn’t exist today. It’s still around, but it’s doubtful if it’s making enough money to live on. We all demand the freshest, most nutritious and tastiest fruits, vegetables and meat possible and the same time demand rock bottom prices for just about everything we eat.
    A small farm simply cannot, in most cases, meet all those demands. Take for example the cost of a dozen eggs. A small farm might be able to produce them, at a revenue of $3.00 a dozen. A large specialized poultry operation will give you arguably the same eggs for $1.50 a dozen at the supermarket. We don’t need to tell you where most people get their eggs. A lot of this has to do with the high fixed costs of the technology and machinery that makes the production of $1.50 a dozen eggs feasible. High fixed costs inherent in modern agriculture necessitate large-scale operations in order to utilize the capacity of the modern equipment to its total potential.
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  • Thursday, December 7, 2017 4:00 AM
    The 226th anniversary of the signing of the “Bill of Rights” is celebrated this December. Ratified on December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights guarantees fundamental civil and human rights of all citizens, residents, and visitors on United States territory.
    The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution include the freedoms of speech, press and religion, the people’s right to keep and bear arms, the freedom of assembly, the freedom to petition, the right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure and compelled self-incrimination.
    Further, the Bill of Rights guarantees due process, trial by jury, prohibition of excessive bail as well as cruel and unusual punishment. Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
    The League of Women Voters calls for continued protection of civil liberties, improved political discourse and greater civic participation. Since our founding in 1920, the League has worked to defend civil liberties and promote citizen engagement in democracy, and we continue this emphasis today. The League’s mission seeks to help individuals recognize the critical importance of protecting and honoring our most cherished constitutional rights and how they impact our everyday lives.
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  • Thursday, November 30, 2017 4:00 AM
    Support for reform of Indiana redistricting is growing with many events having been held all fall and several in November sponsored by a number of civic minded organizations.
    Debbie Asberry-LWV of Indiana and JuliaVaughn-Common Cause Indiana were speakers at a November 6 meeting in Columbus/Bartholomew County at which Republican Senator Greg Walker participated. Another well attended gathering occurred November 11 in Noblesville.
    Montgomery County Leaguers participated in a Redistricting Forum held November 16 at the Julia M. Carson Government Center in Indianapolis. This was sponsored by Women4Change Indiana. Like the League of Women Voters, Women4Change believes in “civil discourse.” In fact, they have created a Civility Pledge which all in attendance recite before meetings begin.
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  • Wednesday, November 22, 2017 4:00 AM
    The League of Women Voters of Montgomery County has studied and supported countywide comprehensive planning for a number of years. Alice Phillips, past president of the LWVMC, presented the following statement at the November 13 meeting of the Montgomery County Board of County Commissioners.
    “On behalf of the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, a nonpartisan organization of 180 county residents and voters, I am speaking in favor of a planning ordinance.
    The League supports principles of good government. Good governing is EFFICIENT, EFFECTIVE, REPRESENTATIVE and FAIR. A planning ordinance meets all of those goals.
    Efficiency: Unplanned development is costly and wasteful. Planning allows our tax dollars to be used efficiently by concentrating the expensive infrastructure needed by business and industry: roads, utilities, fire protection, and accessibility to interstate or railway. It also assures sufficient distance of industries from homes, schools and medical facilities.
    Effectiveness: Through planning, we can effectively maintain our county as a wonderful place to live. We’ve lived comfortably with land use ordinances for years: building codes, health regulations, speed limits, drainage, and other ordinances protect the beauty, health and economic vitality of our community. They also work to protect individual landowners by anticipating and avoiding problems before they become costly lawsuits.
    Representative: Nearly half of our citizens are governed by the planning and zoning ordinance of the City of Crawfordsville. A county planning ordinance would address this lack of fairness in representation.
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  • Thursday, November 16, 2017 4:00 AM
    For 29 years, Heritage Products Inc. has contributed to the economic vitality of Crawfordsville and Montgomery County. This auto parts manufacturing facility is owned by the Japanese firm Hiruta Kogyo Co., LTD, headquartered in Okayama, Japan. Over those years, executives from the corporate office have visited their facility here several times. Until recently, we have never returned the favor. This all changed when Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton paid them a visit during a trip to Japan last September. 
    In a recent presentation given at the “Lunch With the League”, the Mayor showed how important building relationships is in maintaining our economic vitality. The trip was organized under the auspices of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb led a group of Indiana business and government leaders in order to advance Indiana's economic and cultural partnership with the state's largest foreign investor. Among all U.S. states, Indiana is home to the largest amount of Japanese investment per capita with 280 Japan-based companies that employ more than 58,000 Hoosiers. Japan also supports many locations of Indiana-based firms, including Eli Lilly, Cook Medical, Urschel Laboratories and Zimmer Biomet.
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  • Thursday, November 9, 2017 4:00 AM
    Redistricting Reform is one of the key issues facing the upcoming 2018 General Assembly. Why is this important? The Indiana Bicentennial Visioning Project listed redistricting as one of Indiana’s top policy priorities to increase possibility for competitive elections in our state.
    Unfair redistricting creates “safe districts” which result in uncontested or uncompetitive elections, leading to reduced voter interest and turnout. In 2014, 44 of 100 seats in the Indiana House of Representatives were uncontested in the general election. That year Indiana had the lowest voter turnout in the country!
    The League of Women Voters of Indiana partnered with Common Cause Indiana to create a state wide coalition calling for real redistricting reform in Indiana. Coalition partners include: Hoosier Environmental Council, Citizens Action Coalition, Indiana Farmers Union, Center for Aging and Community, Jobs for Justice, NAACP, Moral Mondays, ACLU, Moms Demand Action, Sierra Club, Lafayette Urban Ministry, Indiana Coalition for Human Services, AAUW, and others.
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  • Thursday, November 2, 2017 4:00 AM
    Founded in 1920 by activists who secured voting rights for women, the League of Women Voters has always worked to promote the values and processes of representative government. Protecting and enhancing voting rights for all Americans, assuring opportunities for citizen participation, working for open, accountable, representative and responsive government at every level—all reflect the deeply held convictions of the League of Women Voters.
    In the 1950’s , the League worked courageously to protect fundamental citizen rights and individual liberties against the threats of the McCarthy era. In the 1960’s, attention turned to securing “one person, one vote” through apportionment of legislative districts based substantially on population. In the 1970s, members worked to reform the legislative process and open it to citizen scrutiny, and to balance congressional and presidential powers.
    The League also sought to reform the campaign finance system to reduce the dominance of special interests, affirmed support for the direction election of the President and fought for full voting rights in Congress for the citizens of the District of Columbia.
    The League has worked to break down the barriers to voting, first through reauthorization of Voting Rights Act and then through a campaign for the passage and implementation of the landmark National Voter Registration Act.
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  • Thursday, October 26, 2017 4:00 AM
    The League of Women Voters of Montgomery County provided a “Registration and Voting” booth at the Business and Professional Women’s annual Reality Store held Monday at the Boys & Girls Club. The BPW’s Reality Store exposes eighth graders in Montgomery County to the realities of adult life with students being assigned a profession, salary, and family situations (single, married, number of children). Southmont, Crawfordsville Middle School, and Northridge students participated in this year’s Reality Store
    Students moved from booth to booth with checkbooks, calendars and clipboards, making decisions based on their scenarios to pay for taxes, housing, utilities, transportation, insurance, clothing, groceries, child care, furniture, medical expenses, charitable gifts, entertainment, pets, etc. Many students were forced to take a “second job” or visit the bank to take out a loan when their funds fell short. It was a very eye-opening experience for the students.
    The League’s Register and Vote Booth was “FREE.” Upon visiting the League’s booth, students were “registered” to vote by locating where they live on a Crawfordsville or Montgomery County map. Once registered, the students were given a ballot and directed to a voting booth in order to cast their opinion on three issues of interest to eighth graders. A total of 413 students voted: Southmont 114, Crawfordsville Middle School 168, and Northridge 131. See the accompanying chart.
    After placing the completed ballot in the ballot box, each student received an “I Voted” sticker, a copy of the FOCUS on Montgomery County: A citizen’s guide to local government and public resources, a 115 page book prepared by the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, a Voter Registration form to bring to their parents, and “5 Facts about Voting.”
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  • Thursday, October 19, 2017 4:00 AM
    United Nations Day will be celebrated Oct. 24, commemorating the 72nd Anniversary of the ratification of the UN Charter in 1945. The purposes of the United Nations, as set forth in the Charter, are to “maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these ends.”
    The League of Women Voters of the United States, throughout its 98 year history, has included international relations in its program and has been committed to international cooperation as an essential path to world peace.
    The official League position on the United Nations states in part:
    “The League of Women Voters of the United States supports a strong, effective United Nations and endorses the full and active participation of the United States in the UN system. The League supports UN efforts to:
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  • Thursday, October 12, 2017 4:00 AM
    “I just want to say—you know—can we all get along? Can we, can we get along?” Many of you might remember this quote from Rodney King in the aftermath rioting in Los Angeles in 1992.
    In the 25 years since this was said, we seem to be farther apart than ever. The explosion of social media is a real factor in the keeping us from discussing important issues with civility and dignity. In his latest book, “POLARIZED! The Case for Civility in the Time of Trump: An experiment in social discourse,” Jeff Rasley looks at social media (specifically Facebook) as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can be used as a tool for meaningful discussion. On the other, it can be a divisive forum promoting prejudice and division.
    Rasley, an author, attorney and social activist, looked at the causes and effects of this polarization at a recent Lunch with the League program sponsored by the League of Women Voters. He also offered a “modest proposal” for the treatment and symptoms of this toxicity.
    Some of today’s scholars are looking at this divisiveness as resembling mental illness. Camille Paglia refers to it as “post election stress disorder.” Anger is a driving force in much of the alleged discussion of issues. As Rebecca Solnit points out: politicians and the media are engaged in an unholy alliance of “trafficking in outrage dividing the political world into heroes and villains, giving us this day our daily rage.” Have we really gotten that far apart?
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