A look ahead...
LWV public meetings are held in the Sons of Norway Lodge, 722 2nd Ave.
N., Fargo, in the 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.
March 1, Noon-1 p.m.
First Friday, Sons of Norway
Election Reform Speaker: Cory Fong
N.D. Deputy Secretary of State
March 3, 2 p.m.
Lutheran Church of the Cross 1402 16th St. E., West Fargo
Seventh Annual Freedom Lecture: The Separation of Church and State:
Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? by Richard Chapman
What Has the Supreme Court Said About Separation of Church and State?
by James Leahy
March 14, 6-8 p.m.
Focus Fargo: School Facilities Community Dialogue #1
March 20, 5:10-6:30 p.m.
LWVRRV Board Meeting
United Way Office, 219 7th St. S.
April 4, 7:30 p.m.
Fargo Public Library Meeting Room
LWVRRV Membership Unit Meeting: Planning for the
Future of Fargos Schools
April 5, Noon-1 p.m.
First Friday, Sons of Norway
The Model United Nations Conference
Speaker: Dr. Andrew Conteh, MSU-M Political Scientist
April 17 LWNRRV
Annual Meeting Details will be in a special mailing.
April 25, 6 p.m.
FocusFargo: Community Dialogue #2: Discussion of Facilities Options
MINNESOTA RESIDENTS ONLY
March 12, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
Moorhead Election Day Vote on the proposed school construction
Voting precincts are the same as those used in last falls city election
plus the rural precincts within the school district. Election-day registration
is permitted with proper identification including the potential voters
address in the precinct. Another registered voter in the precinct may
also vouch for a persons residence. Absentee ballots are available
from theOffice of the Superintendent, 810 4th Ave. S., or call 284-3330.
March 16, 9-10:30 a.m.
Townsite Centre District 9 Legislative Report
The League of Women Voters values diversity in its
members. In primicple and in practice, the League knows no barriers
on the basis of age, creed, disability, gender, national origin,
race or sexual orientation, and encourages full participation in
and contribution to the organization by all its members.
(The following is excerpted from a LWVUS press release):
On February 14, 2002, The League of Women Voters of the United States
proudly celebrated its 82nd Anniversary, relishing its many achievements.
The Leagues rich history of civic participation continues to flourish
82 years later because of the commitment and energy of its grassroots
"The League and its network of nearly 1,000 state and local Leagues
are making democracy work at every levelnational, state and local,"
said Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, President, the League of Women Voters
of the United States. "Every day our members are out in their communities
helping in many waysreforming the local jail and criminal justice
systems, cleaning and preserving our nations precious water supplies,
educating new citizens about their democratic rights and responsibilities
and partnering with our nations youth to build an even stronger
democracy for future generations," Jefferson-Jenkins stated.
"The League strives to make democracy work for all citizens. We have
spent 82 years engaging citizens, calling on them to take part in their
government and their communities through civic participation," Jefferson-Jenkins
"Contrary to popular belief, American citizens are connected to and
involved in their communities," Jefferson-Jenkins noted. "The
League knows this because we have been right there with citizens making
a difference for the past 82 years," emphasized Jefferson-Jenkins.
"Our democracy is stronger because the League of Women Voters has
helped citizens make it stronger. The League will always be there for
our citizens," Jefferson-Jenkins added.
Andrea L. Sather, President, LWVRRV
At the Feb. 21 board meeting, President Sather called attention
to the LWVUS convention to be held in Miami Beach, June 15-18. We can
send four people. LWVRRV will pay airfare, hotel, registration and a banquet;
delegates would be responsible for other meals and expenses. Suzanne Dobbins
plans to attend. Anyone interested should let her know. Andrea distributed
a MN resolution to reduce teen smoking but no action was taken.
The treasurer reported a balance of $6,605.57 in the operating account.
Approximately $600 was realized from the Silent Auction held in conjunction
with the State Convention on December 1. The finance drive has raised
Audrey Richmond has been attending meetings of the Fargo Public Schools
steering committee for long-range facilities planning (see article elsewhere).
She suggested holding a League unit meeting on the topic. She will organize
Membership Chair Dobbins mentioned the need for monthly membership meetings
and suggested these be held on the same night as board meetings. The best
nights would be Tuesday or Thursday starting in April. The membership
meetings could continue through the summer months. She is also seeking
names of potential members for a membership drive.
Another Women in Action conference will take place in November, 2002,
with Jennifer Koehler of NDSU as coordinator. Four NDSU students and 2
faculty attended a recent LOTT convention.
A successful MN District 9 Legislative Report session took place on Feb.
16. About 40 people attended and two television stations were there. Another
forum will be held on March 16. It was suggested that we do some voter
education for new citizens prior to the June elections.
( Excerpted from minutes by Mary Davies, Secretary
Seventh Annual Freedom Lecture
Once again the League of Women Voters of the Red River Valley, the North
Dakota State League, the Cass County Bar Association, the Alex Stern Foundation
and the Freedom Lectureship Fund are sponsoring the Annual Freedom Lecture
in conjunction with the F/M Communiversity. The theme for this year is
"Congress shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion"
The lecture will take place at theLutheran Church of the Cross, 1402
16th St. E., West Fargo on Sunday, March 3, at 2:00 p.m.
In a two-part program,the first topic will be, Was America Founded
as a Christian Nation?, to be addressed by Richard Chapman, Asst.
Professor of Religion at Concordia College. James Leahy, retired law professor
at the Western School of Law, San Diego, will then present, "What
Has the Supreme Court Said About Separation of Church and State?"
Leahy is the founder of the Freedom Lecture series. Although the United
States has followed the concept of separation of church and state, it
is not always clear as to what this means. There should be a lively discussion.
Carla Hartje is a Financial Consultant for Wells Fargo Investments.
She has been with Wells Fargo for 11 years and has worked in the investment
area for 6 years. She specializes in long term individual and family retirement,
college and personal wealth management.
Since she and her husband (Chuck of 26 years) are almost empty nesters
(Peter 25 and Jacob 18) and no longer participating in the school volunteer
stuff, Carla began looking for a community organization to fill this void.
She was raised as a "volunteer" kid. Carla's mom, a volunteer
coordinator for the Grafton State School, had a simple "100 hours
a year rule." Carla was looking for a group that would stretch across
the river, and would be a learning and enriching experience. She also
wanted the chance to get to know more area women and learn about our city
Carla really didnt know what the League was all about. She had read
an article in a business publication and became curious about the local
group. Carla said that "what Ive learned is the very issues
I find important (election reform, rising education expenses and increasing
voter interest) were the Leagues key areas of focusand the
League seemed like a natural fit."
As her work is very demanding, she must organize her "free time"
carefully (or end up without any).
The League has become her number-one focus, but she also enjoys her role
as a member of the Wells Fargo local diversity council.She is a devotee
to working with the Cultural Diversity Center in Moorhead in planning
their fall event at the Hjemkomst and feels its important to be
a role model to others in bringing diversity of cultures into our work
and day to day lives.
Carla has been very impressed with the meetings she's attended and those
members of the board she has met and looks forward to meeting more members
at the annual meeting in April.
Fargo City Commission
One of the duties of the Fargo City Commission is to approve the appointments
and reappointments of citizens to serve on many boards and commissions.
These people are recomended by the Mayor from a list of candidates who
have applied or been recommended to him. Looking back over the meeting
minutes for the last six months of 2001, the Commission approved the appointments
of a total of 21persons to sit on one or the other of ten different city
boards. These 21 persons are helping to mold city policy for the future.
Carol Sawicki, Observer
Local study of boards/ commissions provides lively first Friday
Local study of boards/ commissions provides lively first Friday
Stay Tuned for Act II
At the January 4th First Friday meeting, the committee studying appointed
boards and commissions in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo reported their
findings. The committee mailed surveys to just over 200 members of city-appointed
volunteer boards and commissions. Ninety-four surveys were completed and
returned. Here are some of the findings from survey results and interviews:
There is little diversity.
There are few racial or ethnic minorities represented and females are
under- represented. Nearly all people serving were born before 1968.
There is no formal, well- publicized, application process in any of
Most people appointed were asked to serve by the mayor, council member
or city official.
At least half of survey respondents did not remember receiving training
on ethics or conflict of interest.
Suggestions made at the January 4th meeting included:
- Governing bodies need to be made aware of the importance of citizen
- Term limits could open up the system to more diversity.
- Cities need to market and make people aware of the opportunity to
You will want to be part of the process as we move to consensus and
then to action.
Come to the annual meeting on Saturday, April 17!
Come to the annual meeting and be an actor in this drama. (or will
it be a melodrama?). You can help write the ending.
Be a part of the league observer corps!
Are you interested in government and how it works?
If you are a member of the League of Women Voters, then the answer to
this question is almost certainly yes. Would you like to learn more and
become more involved in local government? If the answer to this question
is yes, then maybe you should consider joining the Observer Corps of the
League of Women Voters of the Red River Valley.
Would you like a chance to help other local Leaguers be better informed
citizens? This year the League is studying local board and commissions.
There are a large number of these that operate in Fargo, Moorhead, West
Fargo and Cass and Clay Counties. Most local citizens are not aware of
the duties and importance of these bodies. A LWV observer can report back
to our members via the Voter newsletter and help them learn more.
An observer, in most cases, spends only one or two hours per month attending
the regular meetings of a local board or commission. All observers wear
a badge identifying them as a league member. They do not participate in
the meeting, except to ask a question for clarification if necessary.
Many regular Observers have discovered that attending local board meetings
is an interesting and highly educational experience. The LWVRRV is a respected
organization, and the people who make up these local decision-making groups
come to know and respect individuals who come to observe them.
Observing is a good way for anyone who is considering political office
to become known to the community. It can also help them decide where they
can best use their own interests and talents to serve their community.
If you are interested or would like to learn more about the LWV Observer
Corps, please contact Carol Sawicki at 232-5676.
Facilities Planning Meetings
The administration and board of education of Fargo Public Schools are
seeking the publics ideas and priorities in order to develop a long-range
educational facilities plan. To help with this process, the board has
engaged consultantsDeJong and Associates, Inc, of Ohio. In addition,
a steering committee was enlisted from various community organizations
including school PTAs; the schools faculty, board and staff; neighborhood
associations;seniors; governmental bodies and other civic entities (including
the League of Women Voters). These groups chose their own representatives.
The committee has been meeting with the consultants in order to plan public
meetings called Community Dialogues. There will be two meetingsthe
first on March 14 and the second on April 25. The content of the two meetings
will not be the same. The goal is a sizable turnout for each, hence the
site is the Fargodome.
DeJong has prepared a Background Information Report on Fargos demographics,
current school facilities and enrollment along with relevant financial
data. A copy of this report will be available to each person attending
The focus of the first meeting will be a questionnaire prepared by the
committee. Each person will fill out an individual form with questions
such as, "What do you feel is the ideal grade configuration?"
The participants will then break into small groups to compare their answers
and attempt to reach consensus. A committee member will facilitate each
group and record final opinions. DeJong will objectively compile these
results,a copy of which will be sent to each person who registers. The
second meeting will focus on discussion of possible solutions to facilities
issues in light of what seem to be the communitys priorities.The
goal of the process is to reach consensus and present a long-range facilities
plan to the board of education.
Most League members know that our program this year has included a continuing
study of area schools with a focus on planning. One of the problems has
been accessing educational research. The DeJong Background Information
Booklet is a good source. In addition, research materials have been made
available on the inter net at: http://www.fargo.k12.nd.us/cr/ LRFP/research/htm
(your computer must have acrobat reader to access the program).The leagues
school study group is organizing a league unit membership meeting at the
Fargo Public Library on April 4 at 7:30 for the purpose of presentation
and discussion of these materials. Meanwhile, read our Presidents
letter again and vow that you will attend the Community Dialogues and
carry on the true spirit of league! Ask others to go with you.
Table of Contents