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LWVGB News and Notes
March 8, 2014

Note events coming this week: 
  • Sunday, March 7 - Friends will gather to remember Robert J. (Bob) Wright, husband of Ruth J. Wright. Also, Dr. Gayle Stephens, husband of E. J. Stephens, passed previously. Read more.
  • Sunday, March 16 - LWVGB-LWVUS Agriculture Study Consensus Meeting. Read more.

In this issue:

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Agriculture in the United States:  Birmingham League members will meet to come to consensus

On Sunday, March 16, LWVGB members will gather to answer consensus questions about Agriculture in the United States. The meeting will be held at the Vestavia Public Library at 1221 Montgomery Hiway South, Vestavia Hills, AL, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

The League of Women Voters of the United States is conducting a two-year study in order to update our position on this issue. In February, the Birmingham League held a public meeting led by members of LWVGB Agriculture Study Committee to learn about and discuss the technological and economic factors that affect this vast industry that is so essential to us. Now at the consensus meeting, LWVGB members will come together to further discuss American agriculture and answer the consensus questions. Every local League in the U.S. is asked to answer the same set of questions. Based on these consensus reports, LWVUS will update the national position on agriculture.

This grassroots process is essential to our League advocacy program. Because the League speaks out only on those issues which the membership has studied and on which it has come to consensus, it is important that you attend this meeting and lend your voice to the consensus.

Members can review the agriculture study background information and read the consensus questions at:

Local Leagues have added summaries of the information here:

To read more about this national study, visit the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWV) webpages at: http://www.lwv.org/member-resources/agriculture-update

We hope all LWVGB members will attend the Agriculture Study Consensus meeting on March 16 at 2:00 pm at the Vestavia Public Library!

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LWVGB to Cohost Nonpartisan Community Forum on Voting

The League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham will cosponsor  a "Nonpartisan Community Forum on Voting" on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the St. John AME Church, 708  15th Street, North, Birmingham, AL. This voter service program is presented to the public in collaboration with the Magic City Bar Association (MCBA), the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham (LWVGB), and the Upsilon Eta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

These topics will be discussed: 
  • "The importance of Voting"
  • "All about the new Alabama Voter Photo ID. Are you ready?"
  • "Felons and Voter Restoration Process"
  • "Alabama 2014 Election Calendar"
Citizens can register to vote at the forum. We are also seeking to have IDs taken for approved Alabama government photos.

This meeting is open to the public so bring your mama, daddy, other senior citizens and YOURSELF!  All your friends and associates are welcome.

LWVGB thanks these members of the host committee:
Ida Tyree Hyche, Esq., UEO AKA Connection Committee Chair & Magic City Bar Chair, Community Outreach (and former LWVGB president!)
Brooke Adams, UEO AKA President
Tameka Wren, Esq., MCBA President
Trish Crain, LWBGB President
Rev. Mashod Evans, St. John Pastor

For questions or more information about this event, contact:
Ida Tyree Hyche at idatyreehyche@gmail.com or (205) 601-8645.

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Business, Fun, and Enlightenment:  Leaguers will mix it all at these grassroots meetings

As we draw near to the end of the League year, there is business to be taken care of at every level of the League. At the local LWVGB Business Meeting and at the national LWVUS Convention, budgets for the coming year will be set, bylaws revised, program issue positions (and possibly new studies set), and new officers and directors elected. As a member of the League of Women Voters, you are welcomed and encouraged to attend any of these meeting! We hope you will!

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LWVAL 2014 Council
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Bluff Park United Methodist Church
733 Valley Avenue
Hoover, AL

It will be an A-MAZE-ING Council!
[Hint: You have to see the editorial cartoon on the LWVAL website to get that.] The council package will soon be available on the webebsite at http://www.lwval.org. Rest assured, this council will have interesting workshops, and we'll all have a ball! Do you want to represent the LWVGB as a delegate to state council? Let us know with a message to admin@lwvgb.org. AND note that LWVGB is hosting this state meeting, so please be sure to attend and volunteer! Don't miss the Council Gala on Friday evening, April 25! For all Council and party information, check the LWVAL website at:

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LWVGB 2014 Business Meeting
May 15, 2014, 6-8 p.m.
Sweet Tea Restaurant
2205 3rd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL

Members will consider budget, bylaws, program, and election of officers and directors. If you would like to recommend changes in the LWVGB Program (perhaps a new study?), or if you would like to recommend changes in the LWVGB Bylaws, please submit your suggestions by April 8 to admin@lwvgb.org.

ALL LWVGB MEMBERS in good standing are entitled to vote at this meeting. Come and enjoy a good dinner and conversation, and let your voice be heard in setting the course for LWVGB in 2014-2015!

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LWVUS 2014 Convention
June 6-10, 2014
Omni Dallas Downtown Hotel
Dallas, TX

You do NOT have to be a delegate to the LWVUS convention to attend. National Convention is a wonderful experience and highly recommended for any Leaguer who would like to advance in leadership at the state or local level. However, if you would like to be a delegat, contact LWVGB at admin@lwvgb.org or contact the state League at admin@lwval.org. Get more LWVUS 2014 Convention information at:

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Recently in League...

LWVGB Meeting on Voter Photo ID: What is this new law, and how will it affect voting in Alabama?

Judge Alan King shared helpful information about the new voter photo ID law at the LWVGB meeting on Jan. 27, 2014.

Our efforts to educate ourselves and the public about the new Alabama Voter Photo ID requirement began with an evening meeting Monday, January 27th, 2014 at the Homewood Library. Our guest speaker was Probate Judge Alan King, Election Officer for Jefferson County.

The AL photo voter ID law was passed by the AL Legislature in 2012. It will first take affect in the primary party elections on June 3, 2014.

Judge King reported on what he had learned about the enactment of this law at a recent meeting of judges. He also had some information from a phone call that day to the Office of the Secretary of State. Some things which had been expected to have been rolled out by now have not been. Further information, especially about the free voter photo id, was promised by mid-February.

There were about 20 persons present, primarily members but some non-members as well. People had a good number of questions and some frustrations about the law itself and the plans for the free photo ID.

So exactly who will need a free government issued voter photo ID, what is required to obtain one, and what is the process? Read the Secretary of State’s implementation rules at:

The state League has expressed to the office of the Secretary of State a strong interest in helping to educate the public and assist in getting voter photo ID for those who need it. As of this writing, we don’t know how we might be asked to help, but we will keep the membership informed about volunteer opportunities. If you have a desire to help, please contact Voter Service Chair Nancy Sales (magoriannancy@yahoo.com) and put your name on the volunteer list. Thank you!

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Also, recently in League...

Agriculture in the United States:  A Public Discussion

Nancy EkbergHaley ColsonConnie Arnwine
Presenting at LWVGB-LWVUS Study of U.S. Agriculture, Feb. 27, 2014
L to R:  Nancy Ekberg, Haley Colson, Connie Arnwine
See all the event photos.

Today's U. S. Agriculture is a very complex industry. Advanced technology makes for heartier and more bountiful crops and livestock. Is there a cost to our health? What is the impact on our environment? Is labeling clear and sufficient to keep the public adequately informed about the foods we are consuming? How much and for whom should farm subsidies apply?  On Sunday, Feb. 27, 2014, the LWVGB Agriculture Study Committee helped members and the public understand these issues.

The League offered information about technologies used in modern American agriculture (for example, GMOs, herbicides, pesticides,agriculture water pollution, aquifer depletion, antibiotics in livestock, and accurate food labeling), agriculture's financial resources (for example, consolidation in agriculture industries, crop subsidies, and federal agricultural regulatory process), and key agencies that regulate food and agriculture. Unbiased information in this study was gathered by the Agriculture Update Committee of the LWV of the United States and funded by the LWV Education Fund.

In Birmingham this information was shared by the LWVGB Agriculture Study Committee.  Nancy Ekburg (Chair) presented an overview of the study and presented information about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Genetic Engineering (GE). Haley Colson presented and led discussion about the U.S. Farm Bill and farm subsidies. Connie Arnwine presented on food product labeling. Brantley Fry and Martha Kato also participated on the committee.

Members will further discuss and answer consensus questions on March 16.  Responses will help determine the LWV of the United States' position on Agriculture. Many thanks to LWVGB Agriculture Study Committee members for their organization and presentation of the LWVUS background study materials. That information, consensus questions, and more can be found at:

Thank you to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham, 4300 Hampton Heights Drive in Birmingham for hosting this event!

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In Memoriam:  Dr. G. Gayle Stephens

G. Gayle Stephens, Professor Emeritus, UAB School of Medicine, and husband of long-time LWVGB member E. J. Stephens, died on February 20, 2014. E. J. and Gayle had been married for 66 years. We regret that we were unable to share the funeral arrangements in time for League members to attend. For those who woud like to remember Gayle, the family suggests that memorials be made to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church or the charity of the donor's choice. Members, if you would like to contact E.J., please request her information at admin@lwvgb.org. We send the League's deepest sympathy to E. J. and her family. Read Gayle's obituary.

In Memoriam:  Mr. Robert J. Wright

Robert J. (Bob) Wright, a mechanical engineer and leader in the air pollution control industry, died on February 24, 2014. Bob retired as president of Zurn Air Systems in 1977. He was married to LWVGB life-time member Ruth J. Wright for 63 years. Bob was an ardent patron of the musical arts in Birmingham. He was a founder of the organization that became Opera Birmingham and a founder of Alabama Ballet. A memorial service for Bob will be held at Opera Birmingham, 3601 6th Avenue South. The family will receive visitors following the service. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a local charity of your choice , preferably in the musical arts. Members, if you would like to contact Ruth, please request her information at admin@lwvgb. Ruth and her family are in our thoughts at this time.  Read Bob's obituary.

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Trish is back in the president's chair!

Trisha Powell CrainWe are happy to announce that Trish Crain is once again in the president's chair. Trish needed to take a brief leave of absence this winter, but she's back and raring to go! We're glad to have you leading us once again, Trish. As you can see from this "News and Notes" issue, we saved up lots of League projects for you to oversee! ;-)

Leaguers, let's hop on board to support Trish and the LWVGB Board to accomplish all that we have on the League plate in this election season! There's even more in the works than what we are at liberty to report at this time. It's all very good news, but we do need LWVGB grassroots member volunteers more than ever!
To volunteer to help with any LWVGB project, just drop a note to admin@lwvgb.org or leave a phone message at 205 583-5000. Your support is always welcomed! Thanks!

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Mark Your Calendar!
What's happening at a glance. See message body at left for details.

Remembering Robert J. (Bob) Wright
Sun., March 7, 1 p.m.
Opera Birmingham
3601 6th Ave. South
Birmingham, AL
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Agriculture Study Consensus Meeting
Sun., March 16
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Vestavia Public Library
1221 Montgomery Hwy S
Vestavia Hills, AL

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Nonpartisan Community Forum on Voting
Tues., April 8, 2014
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
St. John AME Church
708  15th Street, North
Birmingham, AL
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LWVAL 2014 Council
Sat., April 26
10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Bluff Park United Methodist Church
733 Valley Avenue
Hoover, AL
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(And psst! Don't miss the gala party on Fri. evening before!)
LWVGB is hosting! Please attend and volunteer to help! Thank you!
Details soon here.

LWVGB 2014 Business Meeting
Thurs., May 15
6:00 -8:00 p.m.
Sweet Tea Restaurant
2205 3rd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233
Members will consider budget, bylaws, program, and election of officers and directors.
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LWVUS 2014 Convention
June 6-10, 2014
Omni Dallas Downtown Hotel
Dallas, TX
Get more LWVUS 2014 Convention information.

See these events and more on the LWVGB Event Calendar online.

"Each one bring one."

Please resolve to bring one new member into the League this year. Get the membership brochure.

For further information about the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham,
call 205 583-5000 or visit on-line at 

If you do not wish to receive periodic notices of  LWVGB news and announcements, please notify Jean Johnson at jjohnson@lwvgb.org. If you prefer a paper copy, please contact the League at 205 583-5000.