A Look Ahead
LWV public meetings are held in:
The Sons of Norway Lodge
meeting room behind the cafeteria. Members and guests who wish to go through the buffet line and eat together (in the lodge meeting room) may do so at 11:30 a.m.
Saturday, April 28, 2001 10 AM.
May 4, 2001 Noon-1 :00
May 4 and 5, 2001
May 16, 2001 5:15- 6:30 PM.
2001-2002 LWVRR Board
Thanks go to retiring/resigning board members:
With spring just around the corner (I promise, it's coming), I'm so thrilled to be elected president of the League of Women Voters of the Red River Valley. For those who "did not make it to the annual meeting, it was a wonderful morning! Thanks again to Dina Butcher for a grand address on the North Dakota Human Rights Division.
The next year for LWVRR promises to be an exciting one! We have great opportunity to take advantage of the momentum created by former President Billi Jo Zielinski and carried forward by co-presidents Mary Davies and Julia Jones.
As president, my primary goals for LWVRRV include forging a close working relationship with the newly energized League of Women Voters of North Dakota to help create and duplicate the success of our League in other cities. This will include journeys into unit studies, DNet, and a state elections systems study, as well as other exciting projects.
I also look forward to garnering even more positive publicity for the awesome work that our League volunteers perform on a regular basis to help voters make informed decisions.
There is much work to do during the next twelve months to take the League
to the next level. I look forward to working with the new board and the
entire membership to make it happen!
-Andrea Sather, President
Fargo City Commission
Fargo City Commission meetings of March 5 and March 19,
2001. Items discussed other than those reported in The Forum:
Fargo School Public Meetings
There has been a great deal of public dialogue and media coverage about the budget shortfall problems of the Fargo Public Schools in the past months. Citizens, school board members, and district administration have spent many extra hours dealing with the issues. At times there were negative features in the exchanges between factions. We should all feel grateful that nine persons chose to come forward to file as candidates in the Fargo School Board election this spring. Vying for the three seats were incumbents Roger Kerns and Paul Meyers, and newcomers Kyle Davison, Don Faulkner, Richard D. Knutson, Fred Krueger, Meg Spielman-Peldo, and David Steen. One candidate, Byrum Cartwright, had to drop out due to illness.
As usual, the League of Women Voters held a candidates' forum in which all participated. In addition, Friends of Horace Mann sponsored another forum a week earlier. Voters could watch live broadcasts of the forums on Channel 2 as well as repeat broadcasts on Saturdays.
Candidates demonstrated different backgrounds and alternative positions primarily on the issues of school closings, priorities for the school district's budget, and disposition of the district's reserve fund.
On election day, there was a rather poor turnout of voters in terms of the importance of the issues. Results gave seats on the board to Spielman-Peldo and Faulkner and enabled incumbent Meyers to continue in his position. He was appointed to the board last fall and lives in the Longfellow district. Spielman-Peldo and Faulkner reside in the Hawthorne and Horace Mann districts respectively. All three candidates support the neighborhood school concept. Unfortunately, there are still many difficult decisions ahead.
Many thanks are due Roger Kerns and Karen Schenk, as they step down, for their years of service to the community.
-Audrey Richmond, Observer
United Nations Update
The United Nations Wrap Up for Year 2000 from the LWVUS UN Observer, Doris Schapira, states that the United States and Somalia are the only two countries that have not ratified the convention (treaty) on the Right of the Child. There is a special session of the General Assembly on Children coming up September 19-21, 2001.
Our country has not ratified the treaty on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. A new provision of this treaty allows women to bring complaints to the treaty's committee when national remedies have been exhausted. As of October, 2000, 166 countries had ratified the treaty.
Fortunately, a compromise was worked out that allows the Senate to release
back payments owed to the United Nations for dues and peacekeeping. The
United States had been in arrears for some time. The national League's
position on the United Nations states that it "strongly supports U.S.
participation in the UN system and favors U. S. policies that strengthen
the UN's capacity to solve problems of global interdependence." (LWVUS
Impact on Issues 2000-2002, p. 18)
Harvesting the Wind
According to Ben Larson of SEED and Chris Reed of Moorhead Public Service, speaking at the April First Friday meeting, North Dakota has the best wind resource in the United States. North Dakota SEED or Sustainable Energy for Economical Development, is an organization formed for the purpose of harvesting this wonderful wind resource. It is a joint project of Dakota Resource Council (DRC) and Clean Water Fund (CWF).
While showing slides of the installation of Moorhead's first wind energy turbine, Reed explained that Moorhead Public Service provides wind-generated power to 7% of its customers, the highest proportion in the nation, making up 0.75% of the company's total electric product. Consumers can purchase all or a minimum of their electric service from the turbine-generated supply. Should the turbine not be producing, the customer goes on regular power so there is no interruption of service. Reed stated that turbines are running at 95+% dependability. The current capacity for service is 1,000 residences and 1,500 commercial units. Subscriptions for the available power were filled in a short time. Additional turbine construction is in progress. Wind power can be used with other sources of energy, is readily renewable and its production is supportive of the environment. Each turbine takes only 1/4 acre of farm land. A farmer can lease the land to the power developer at a profit $2,000-$4,000 per year without responsibility himself--a good source of extra income.
Larson, speaking about North Dakota, mentioned that legislation has been passed in the N.D. legislature providing tax incentives for private development of turbines. Rural Electric cooperatives have been very cooperative and farmers are enthusiastic about the economic potential. Larson stated that the vision of SEED is to promote cooperation with electric plants on the Missouri River which produce electricity using hyrdo and coal in securing adequate lines to transmit power generated from all sources to the various markets. Ideally, North Dakota's wind power could supply other states.
A pamphlet outlining Cass County Electric's Infinity Wind Energy Project was available at the meeting. Two 750-kilowatt wind turbines are scheduled to operate by the fall of 2001. The power will be sold in 100 kilowatt blocks at $3 per month.
One of the best attended First Friday meetings this year, the many guests indicated much interest in wind energy. More information can be obtained on SEED's website at www.ndseed.org
-Audrey Richmond, Observer
Annual Meeting Butcher Addresses LWVRRV
Dina Butcher, Deputy Commissioner and Director of the Division of Human Rights in the North Dakota Department of Labor, addressed attendees at the LWVRRV Annual Meeting on March 31. She outlined what she has been doing in the three months since her appointment as the director. Initially she has been looking at and attempting contacts with groups who advocate for specific citizens such as the disabled, the mentally ill, those in rehabilitation. Native Americans, women, the aging etc. She hopes to use agencies in the advocacy coalition to "funnel up" the concerns of individuals toward the Human Rights Division in the Labor office. She mentioned that other states have developed a process for handling complaints even though they may not have a separate Human Rights Commission.
Butcher stated that there may be a dysfunctional attitude existing in North Dakota legislators which makes them fear creation of a free-standing Human Rights Commission. North Dakotans, in general, seem to have made "being from here" a requisite for acceptance of others. We want new leadership but not different looking faces, backgrounds or attitudes. Those moving into the state, who fit those criteria, feel threatened. Butcher suggested that the state must use people of diverse cultures to increase economic development. There is a need for workers and population. She will be reaching out, doing surveys and gathering data with the ultimate goal of creating a climate of tolerance in North Dakota.
(Note: North Dakotans for a Human Rights Commission (NDHRC), a coalition
of over 65 agencies, will continue to press for a free-standing North
Dakota Human Rights Commission.)
1. A study of local boards and commissions in Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo;
their purpose, meeting times, and membership with emphasis on the appointment
Article III. Section 2:
Suzanne Dobbins will continue as Membership Chair in 2001-02. She is
happy to report that our membership now stands at 115. New or renewing
members include: Jennifer Paulsrud, Donald Ommodt, Helen Jane Walstad,
Kris Sheridan, Jan Gabriel, Bruce Maul and Margaret Blue. Welcome.
In Appreciation o 2000--2001 Financial Contributors to LWVRRV
Presidential ($100 and up): Service Oil , Suzanne Dobbins , State Bank of Fargo , Creative Kitchen , DC Publishing-matching grant , Blue Cross Blue Shield ND , US Bank , Gate City Savings Bank
Gubernatorial ($50-$99): Korsmo Funeral Home , Dakota Monument , Douglas Sillers , Judy Lee , Moorhead Drug , Carolyn Bowe , Wold Johnson PC , Barbara Headrick , Warner and Co. , Sue Petry, Mary Davies , James and Beth Postema , Maintenance Engineering
Mayoral (up to $49): Marlene Batterberry, Frank Knox , Judith Strong , Joan C. Miller , Betsy Vinz, Mary Jenkins , Kathie Kvalvog , Gini Duval , Janet VanAmberg , Patty Corwin , Helen Shirey , Boulger Funeral Home , Jocelyn Burdick
Legendary Leaguer--Katherine Rogne
Legendary Leaguers honored