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.
- Friday May 2, 2003 12:00 noon (lunch available beginning at 11:30
- First Friday, Sons of Norway, 722 2nd Ave N, Fargo
Ask the city planners
Speakers: Jeff Schaumann, Moorhead City Planning Office
Cindy Gray, Fargo City Planning Office
Larry Weil, West Fargo City Planning Office
- Tuesday June 10, 2003 7 AM-8 PM
- Fargo School Board Election
No meetings until September 2003.
March First Friday
Lance Yohe, Executive Director of the International Red River Basin
Commission, spoke on the many challenges that the Commission faces in
its mission to create a unified strategy to deal with the Red River of
the North in future years.
There are over 300 government entities that have jurisdiction over separate
facets of the Red River basin. There are 41 people on the Commission board.
The fact that the river flows through two countries, and that two states
and a Canadian province are involved, makes the job of the Commission
even more complicated. Difficulties arise from differences in laws and
philosophies that apply along different parts of the river. For instance,
North Dakota operates under western water law which treats water as a
scarce resource, and Minnesota operates under eastern water law, which
has the opposite view. The Boundary Waters Treaty Act, which is the law
that applies to the problem of the Devils Lake outlet and whether that
water will adversely affect the water that flows into Canada through the
Red River, was enacted in 1909, between the US and Great Britain, and
has not been modified since then.
One goal to be reached in the next 18 months is to have created a model
of the entire basin that will be available on the Commission website.
Up till now there were many different maps of separate parts of the basin,
and it often was difficult to move from one to another due to variances
in scale, etc.
April First Friday
An increase in the number of working people without health insurance
has exacerbated the health care crisis in our community as well as across
The uninsured is one of the populations that the Family Health Care
Center strives to serve in Fargo-Moorhead. Sherlyn Dahl, Executive Director,
spoke April 4th at the Leagues open luncheon forum about the Center. She
told us that the Center is a primary care clinic specializing in providing
family-centered health care to diverse populations. In addition to the
uninsured, the Centers patients include refugees and other immigrants,
homeless persons, as well as Medicare and Medicaid recipients. Of the
10,000 patients served last year at FHCC, 35% were uninsured and 22% had
private insurance, with Medicaid covering an additional 39% and Medicare
The basic philosophy of FHCC is to identify the services required based
on need and then to seek out the resources to meet the need. The Center
has a five million dollar budget, of which 60% is patient revenue, 26%
comes from federal grants, and the balance is derived from other grants
and revenues including 5% from state funds. The center has a sliding fee
schedule for health services.
Of the 200 full and part-time providers that comprise the staff, five
are interpreters for the variety of immigrants that come to the Center
for health care. Immunizations and dental care for children are among
the important services provided, as well as pre-natal care. A partnership
with NDSUs College of Pharmacy which operates the full service pharmacy
at the Fargo location, allows for another valuable resource.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization,
encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in
government, works to increase understanding of major public policy
issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
The League of Women Voters values diversity in its members. In
principle 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 USA Patriot Act and your local library
On April 7th a panel discussion was held at the Fargo Public Library
regarding a part of the Patriot Act and its effects on the privacy of
patrons at libraries. This discussion was one of many reactions to this
Act at libraries around the country.
The law was approved by Congress shortly after September 11th, and gives
federal investigators greater authority to examine all book and computer
records at any library. The law requires that investigators obtain a search
warrant before seizing these records, but those proceedings are secret
and not subject to appeal.
Federal officials say that this part of the new law is essential because
prior statutes imposed too many limits on fast-moving investigations.
They point out that several of the September 11th hijackers used library
computers to communicate with each other. But many libraries are wondering
if the law may be restricting constitutional rights to free speech and
Some libraries are going as far as posting warnings on their public
computers, stating that anything a patron reads may be subject to secret
scrutiny by federal agents. Others are regularly destroying records that
they kept of what their patrons read, as well as sign-up logs of computer
Federal officials say that the law is only meant to target foreign spies
and terrorists, and will not be used to search for average Americans,
including those who may be doing research or reading on controversial
subjects. A survey conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champlain
found that over the past year, 550 libraries across the country had received
requests from federal and local investigators for the records of patrons.
Affordable Housing Budget Bill in Senate
Urgent Action Alert--Action Required before April 24th!
The Senate Environment, Agriculture and Economic Development Budget
Division committee will be voting on the economic development and affordable
housing budget as soon as Thursday, April 24th. The Governors proposed
budget for affordable housing includes an overall 33% reduction in funding
to Minnesota Housing Finance Agency as well as a 50% reduction in funding
for homeless shelter and transitional housing services.
Message: Minimize the Governors proposed cuts to housing programs! I
support raising revenue to help pay for housing programs that are vital
to our state! (If you can, tell a personal story about how these proposed
budget cuts will affect you and your community.)
Action: Call and E-mail
- If your Senator is not on the committee, ask him/her to urge Chairman
Sams and members of the Environment, Agriculture and Economic Development
Budget Division committee to minimize cuts to housing programs. If you
dont know your Senators contact information, you can obtain it by calling
651-296-0504 or visiting the Minnesota Senate website at http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us.
- If your Senator is a member of the Environment, Agriculture and Economic
Development Budget Division committee listed below, contact them by
phone and email with the above message. (Be sure to tell them you are
a constituent.) Then get the commitment of one other person in your
district to do the same.
Senator Committee Members
Chair: Dallas Sams
Vice Chair: D. Scott Dibble email@example.com
Ranking Minority member: Steve Dille firstname.lastname@example.org
Dennis Frederickson email@example.com
Ellen R. Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org
Michele Bachmann M. email@example.com
Thomas Bakk firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Cohen email@example.com
Gary Kubly firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Murphy email@example.com
Pat Pariseau firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Rosen email@example.com
For further information on the direct and indirect impacts the Governors
budget will have on affordable housing programs, see the Budget Brief
on our website. For further information about affordable housing or this
action alert, please visit www.housingminnesota.org
or contact Rachel Callanan, HousingMinnesota policy director at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 651-649-1710 x107.
Legislative Coordinator League of Women Voters MN
email@example.com (651) 224-5445
LWVRRV ANNUAL MEETING
The 2003 League of Women Voters of the Red River Valley Annual Meeting
and brunch was held on March 29, 2003 at the VIP Room in Fargo.
The following 2003-2004 local programs were adopted:
- To continue to monitor appointments to local boards and commissions
and to promote our position with an emphasis on increasing League Observer
- To continue to support the Fargo school position that school size
should be limited to 600 students or less in elementary buildings and
1000 or less per secondary school and to support the current Fargo Comprehensive
City Plan which states that the neighborhood character and community
role of existing and future elementary schools be preserved.
Outgoing President Julia Jones recognized and thanked the outgoing Board
members: Helen Rudie, Audrey Richmond, Carolyn Bowe and Barbara Headrick.
She also thanked Kathy Kvalvog for her work on raising funds.
The speaker for at this meeting was Moorhead School Board member, Sonia
Hohnadel, who spoke on Diversity in Our Community: Challenges and Opportunities.
Her presentation included an overview of how she had reached the point
of running for and being elected to the School Board. She especially emphasized
the influence and importance of mentors, many of them women, who encouraged
and taught her through the years.
League of Women Voters of the Red River Valley
President: Janet VanAmburg
First Vice: President Julia Jones
Second Vice President: Carla Hartje (one year)
Secretary: Erin Prochnow
Board of Directors:
Nicole Bergeron, Peggy Jensen, Cindy Maritato, Carol Sawicki
Carol Zielinski, Betsy Vinz, Donna Chalimonczyk
Have You Paid Your Dues?
Now is the time to renew your membership with the League. Whether you
pay your dues at the local, state, or national level, you are automatically
a member of all three! There is, however, an advantage to paying dues
directly to LWVRRV: its cheaper. A single person membership through LWVRRV
is only $45, while a single person membership through LWVUS is $50. You
can send your dues to
Join the League
Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.
Fargo School Board
At its March 25 meeting, the Fargo School Board agreed to vote on whether
to accept school facilities Configuration Model D. The following information
was published in the administrations community newsletter distributed
with the Fargo Forum in March.
Configuration Model A--K-6, 7-9, 10-12
At least one new elementary school would be needed on the south side
in order for sixth grade students to return to elementary buildings. Changes
in the handling of kindergarten may require more new space. A new middle
school would be needed for grades 7-9 as older parts of Agassiz would
be torn down and the newer parts repurposed. Discovery
would serve grades 7-9 as well.
Configuration Model D--K-5, 6-8, 9-12
Although a new south side elementary school would still be needed, there
might be less need for other new schools. Old Agassiz would be torn down
and parts repurposed necessitating a new middle school to join with Discovery
and Ben Franklin in serving grades 6-8. At least one north side elementary
would be sold/repurposed, though
all-day kindergartens might use some of the space. A third high school
would be built to accommodate grades 9-12.
The March 25 Board Briefs state that whatever plan is agreed upon, the
probable time line will be ten or more years. The philosophy behind the
decision to act on choosing a plan is the establishment of a vision on
which interim decisions can be based.
At its April 15 meeting, implementation features for Model D were presented
to the board. A preferred one calls for a new middle school to replace
Agassiz, remodeling of Discovery into a third high school, a new elementary
in southwest Fargo and a new middle school in south Fargo to replace Discovery.
More facts and figures will be presented at the April 22 meeting, a working
--Audrey Richmond, Observer
Fargo City Commission
March 31 & April 14, 2003
In light of problems that have recently occurred when a house was moved
through the city, the Commission discussed updating the house-moving ordinance,
which had not been significantly changed since the 1950s. The Commission
then noted that it would probably be a good idea to look over all city
ordinances that had been enacted many years ago, to see if any others
should be updated.
Two new members were appointed to the Fargo Dome Authority. This board
is unique among city boards and commissions, in that it is required to
have members that are recommended by agencies other than the Fargo City
Commission. The Park Board, School Board, County Commission and NDSU must
all recommend people to be on the Dome Authority, although the Mayor and
Commission have the final say on choosing the members from those who are
--Carol Sawicki, Observe
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.
Fargo School Board Election
Tuesday, June 10th, 2003
7 am-8 pm.
Be sure to vote.
You're A Busy Machine
During the course of one day, you inhale 438 cubic feet of air, drink
two quarts of liquids, speak 4,800 words, move 75 muscles and eat 3 pounds
Have a good summer!