January 2010 - Volume 35, Issue 4
Month at a Glance
Click link for details
1/4 - LWVCC Board Meeting
9:30 - 11:30 AM
Fifth Third Bank Building
Third Floor Board Room
General Meeting - January 11
Pre-Hospital Emergency Care in Collier Today - What Changes Would Fire District Consolidation Bring?
This community is fortunate to have an award winning Emergency Services Department (EMS), a central agency covering all 2,100 square miles of Collier County that is under the direction of the Board of County Commissioners (BCC). Collier has nine Fire Districts: Two reporting to the BCC, two City Departments and five Independent Fire Districts. At one time, the BCC supported a plan to merge the Independent Fire Districts, citing cost effectiveness and standardization of services as two important reasons. Several years later the issue has risen to the top in terms of community interest, with two bills going to the Legislature in Tallahassee that, if voted in, will establish a framework for the fire districts to consolidate. Consolidation could result in the absorption of EMS.
We have invited key stakeholders to help us sort out the issues involved, each of them deeply concerned with the health, safety and welfare of the people of Collier County.
Jim Burke, Commissioner, North Naples Fire Control and Rescue District; Vice President, Collier County Fire Service Steering Committee, which initiated the proposed consolidation legislation, known as "Shell Bills."
Donna Fiala, Collier County Commissioner for District 1, Chairman of the BCC in 2009. Commissioner Fiala has represented East Naples since 2000 and is active in many areas of the community. She is an LWVCC member.
Robert B. Tober, M.D., Director, Collier County Emergency Medical Services. He initiated the Advanced Life Support EMS System in Collier County in 1979, and he oversees training of all paramedics providing pre-hospital care to patients in Collier County.
Jorge Aguilera, Deputy Chief of Medical Services and Community Relations, North Naples Fire Control and Rescue District. He is Director of the North Naples Edison State College Fire Training Center and is a Certified Paramedic/Firefighter.
Program at 1 PM; Business Meeting at 2 PM at the
COLLIER ATHLETIC CLUB
710 Goodlette Rd N
OPTIONAL lunch at noon - Club's main dining room ($20 members; $25 nonmembers)
RSVP for lunch by 5 PM Thursday, 1/7, to Hospitality@lwvcolliercounty.org or (239) 263-4656; cancel by 1/7 to avoid charge.
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|Special Hot Topics Meeting - January 25
|Hometown Democracy - Amendment 4 for 2010
The Florida LWV has asked local leagues to study and evaluate the implications of proposed Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution, relating to comprehensive land use plans, and arrive at a consensus: should the League support or oppose the amendment?
Since this amendment will markedly alter land use planning, it is crucial that we carefully evaluate all its implications. We are, therefore, sponsoring a debate and urge you to attend and invite your friends to join us to learn more about Amendment 4.
- The Question: Will requiring voters to approve all local comprehensive land use changes improve land use planning and the quality of life for Floridians?
- The Proponent: Lesley Blackner is the President of Florida Hometown Democracy, Inc., a non-partisan political action committee that is the sponsor of Amendment 4.
- The Opponent: State Representative Matt Hudson represents District 101 (parts of Collier and Broward counties). He is Vice Chair of Health and Family Services Policy Committee and serves on the Economic Development Policy Committee and Joint Legislative Committee on Everglades Oversight, among others.
- The Format: 10 minutes to each debater to present his/her case. Remaining time for questions from the audience.
- Background Materials: www.lwvfla.org/hometown_democracy.htm and http://eco-voice.org/node/1707.
Date: Monday, January 25
Time: 12 to 1:30 PM Hot Topics Lunch
Place: Collier Athletic Club
Cost: $20 members, $25 non-members
We will make our decision after a Lively League discussion on February 8 at 10 AM - SAVE THE DATE.
I will always remember December 2009 as the month the community came together over the kicking incident at the North Naples Middle School. It came to light before Thanksgiving and by the first of December, community leaders were reaching out to each other to share what they had heard, express their sadness and outrage, and decide how to respond.
I am proud of the role your League played in raising awareness about this regrettable incident. There are several people I want to thank for helping me think through the role we ultimately played: Beth Povlow, a new League member who urged our involvement; Kathy Curatolo, long-time League member and School Board Chair, who took the time to brief me on what had happened and listen to my suggestions, placed the incident on the School Board agenda, and led that portion of the meeting with compassion; Kate Albers, Naples Daily News reporter, who covered the incident for the paper, asked me for comments, and responded to my questions; and last but not least, LWVCC leaders Marilyn Bogen, Ann Campbell, Sheilah Crowley, Rose DiBiasi, Joyce Fletcher, Lydia Galton, Marjorie Joder, Anne Lewallen, Bernice Schmelz, Kathleen Slebodnik, Pat Snyder and Chris Straton, each of whom shared their personal feelings, stories and suggestions. They were unanimous in their support for our speaking out at the December School Board meeting.
January is full of opportunities to learn about important, timely topics that affect life in our community. Learn about Collier County's pre-hospital emergency medical services
at our January 11 General Meeting
. Don't miss the special "Hot Topics" debate
on January 25 about "Hometown Democracy
," a controversial ballot initiative that - if passed - could have sweeping implications for local land use planning and the quality of life for Floridians. And, as always, our committees have informative programs planned at which all Leaguers and guests are welcome.
Mark your calendars and plan to attend. I look forward to seeing you soon!
Spotlight on New Members
Denise Gallagher Rochford
This column will feature profiles of new members to help us all become acquainted, and to put a name to the new faces we see at meetings. First - a bit about me: I'm a newbie to the LWV and a relative newbie to Naples, having lived here for 2-Â½ years. As a business journalist with Fairchild Publications in New York, I received several awards as a professional journalist writing in the home furnishings field both nationally and internationally. Following semi-retirement from Fairchild I formed a business called "Writestuff" allowing me to be a featured speaker for seminars at national trade shows. I have done lots of community action work and write on-line articles for RugNews, an e-magazine, and blogs for a related website. Not bad for a kid who originally aspired to be first - a stewardess - and second-an Ice Capades star!
And now . . . welcome to two nurses who recently joined our ranks - each with different kinds of origins, careers, and backgrounds.
Judith E. Meissner wanted to be a nurse since the age of five. She accomplished that goal and then some. An MSN degree in Adult Health & Illness and a minor in Education allowed her to teach cardiac specialties and emergency room care concerns in the Philadelphia area where she had grown up. Follow that with free-lance clinical editing and writing, including the article "Nurses: Are We Eating Our Young?" which is frequently reprised and quoted in professional magazines. Currently she is a consulting editor for the clinical edition of Taber's Medical Cyclopedia, on board for the same role in the upcoming 22nd edition. Judy is a cancer survivor and an active member of Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church (USA) and member of its "Christian Witness in Public Life" Committee.
Lavigne (pronounced "Laaveen") Ann Kirkpatrick has been a Registered Nurse for 25 years and has held Director of Nursing and Manager positions in various hospitals and nursing care centers in Florida and Hawaii. Presently, she is affiliated with Avow Hospice in Naples, and has lived in Florida since she was 14 years old. This busy lady's political activism dates back to a high school experience in Miami when she was running for student council president. Her election was contested by interfering parents, and the principal ordered a recall. She won the second election hands down! Politics continue to interest Lavigne, and she has combined these interests with her nursing vocation, leading to an appointment by Governor Crist to the Florida Board of Nursing, which continues through 2011. She is currently a candidate for County Commissioner for District 4, running against incumbent Fred Coyle.
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Marilyn Bogen and Sheilah Crowley, Committee Co-Chairs
Join us on Wednesday, January 20, to hear from Jack Bovee, Coordinator, Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) Department of Social Studies. Mr. Bovee will speak on the character education curriculum. We will meet at 9:30 a.m. in the Community Room of the North Collier Government Center on Orange Blossom Drive.
The big news item around the world from Naples has been the kicking incident at the North Naples Middle School on November 19. Since the incident, the school has focused the first 20 minutes of each day on personal character traits, beginning with respect and kindness. The CCPS Board has voted to reinstitute a Diversity Committee.
It is the goal of the Social Studies Department that all students will acquire the habits of mind necessary to become reflective and responsible citizens of our nation and the world. The courses taught in Collier County are designed to encourage active learning among our students so that the students will:
- Understand the significance of the past and its influence on the present;
- Be mindful of both change and continuity in our lives;
- Appreciate the challenges and opportunities created by an increasingly interdependent global community;
- Read various types of information effectively while learning to ask appropriate questions to distinguish fact from conjecture;
- Research information using a variety of sources; and
- Communicate effectively.
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Lydia Galton and Joyce Fletcher, Committee Co-Chairs
The year 2010 will present both statewide and local challenges and opportunities for all League members. Here are some ways you can become more informed and make a difference.
Hometown Democracy will be Amendment 4 on the November ballot. See article in this issue and plan to attend both the debate and Lively League.
Fair Districts Florida continues to work feverishly to get the 1.65 million collected petitions certified by February, so that these two amendments will be on the November ballot. Collier County received 6,100 of each petition in mid-November to certify, thanks in part to the $90 collected at our November meeting. Three polls show 70% of Florida voters favor these amendments. There are congressional and state legislators, however, who are trying to derail this effort, claiming that it conflicts with the Federal Voting Rights Act. "The Florida LWV believes the amendments have been carefully crafted to enhance rather than conflict with any federally guaranteed voting rights including the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Acts" and thus fully supports not only getting these amendments on the ballot, but also getting them passed.
Consider attending the Legislative Seminar. See more information in this issue.
Locally, LWVCC is an Endorser Organization for Project Innovation. After much committee work during the summer, the public was informed in December of the next phase. The six "drivers" of a new economic action plan (talent, governance, business climate, quality of place, innovation and infrastructure) identified during the Community of Innovation programs are being connected with various organizations or projects whose mission and projects can encompass them. The ongoing Project Innovation work will be both to further identify projects for "drivers" not yet covered and also to measure progress toward making this a truly world class community.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS for 1 PM on 1/12: We invite you to join us to sit as a group and observe the Collier County Commission meeting until 4 PM, when we will adjourn to Alice Sweetwater's to discuss, over libations, local and statewide government issues.
Bernice Schmelz, Committee Chair
PACE Center for Girls Visit January 19 - Just a reminder for members wishing to visit PACE with the Justice Committee on January 19 to RSVP to Bernice by January 13 at email@example.com. We will meet at the PACE Center, 160 North 1st Street, Immokalee, at 10:30 AM. Our conversation with Executive Director Vacharee Howard will be followed by lunch with the girls and a tour of the facility. If you would like to carpool or are available to drive others, please let Bernice know.
Girls and the Juvenile Justice System - "Girls are more likely to be admitted to residential commitment programs for less serious offenses than are boys." "The use of detention for girls has increased and there is evidence that too many girls are being detained who do not pose a public safety or flight risk." These are two of the "Key Findings" of Justice for Girls: Blueprint for Action, a publication of Children's Campaign, Inc., a "citizen driven organization devoted to making children's issues a top priority locally and statewide." The author, Dr. Lawanda Ravoira, served as the Vice Chair of the State of Florida Blueprint Commission, and she co-chairs the State of Florida's Girls Advisory Council. Several members of the Justice Committee have formed a subcommittee to investigate findings such as these as well as the types of detention programs available to Florida's female delinquents. If you would like to join this investigation, or if you would like a copy of the report, contact the Justice Chair at the e-mail address above. A report to the committee is expected in April.
Future Meetings - February 15, Daniel Washington, Executive Director AMIKids Big Cypress, a moderate-risk DJJ Facility ... March 15, TBA ... April 19, TBA.
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|Social Policy Committee
Ann Campbell, Committee Chair
When life hurts, there are trained volunteers to help ease the pain. Known to some of us as a 24-Hour Crisis and Referral Hotline (239-262-7227), Project Help, Inc. also has offices in Collier County where free services are made available to individuals and families in crisis. We would like to learn more about Project Help, so we are pleased that two of their leaders will join us at our Wednesday, January 13, breakfast meeting at 8 AM at the Wildside Café. Michelle English, Executive Director, will be joined by Eileen Wesley, Director of Administration. A United Way Agency that collaborates with many local organizations, Project Help is yet another example of the care and concern shown by members of this community for one another. Members and guests are always welcome. Breakfast costs $12, which includes tax and gratuity. Please contact Ann Campbell by Monday, January 11, to reserve a place or to request more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or (239) 263-1755.
At our December meeting ... we met Jean Ann Lynch, Director of an organization that she founded, called Baby Basics. Families in Naples and Bonita Springs with babies under three years of age, not receiving government assistance and with at least one parent working, are provided a monthly supply of disposable diapers. Families are referred from other agencies such as St. Matthew's House, Grace Place, or Habitat For Humanity, where they have registered and filled out an application, and they then go into a program nearest their home. More than 1,140 cases of diapers were distributed in the past five months; Baby Basics purchases them by the tractor-trailer load. The image of a baby with a bright red scalded rash on his bottom because his mom couldn't buy fresh diapers is difficult to forget. That crying baby is very susceptible to abuse. Learn more about Baby Basics at www.BabyBasicsCollier.org.
Joining Jean Ann was Susy Warren, representing LACES of LOVE, another unique nonprofit agency formed to meet a special need: new shoes for needy kids. The project was started several years ago by Jeanne Nealon, who was teaching in Collier schools and noted that there were a lot of kids who were wearing shoes that were too large or too small or just flip flops. They couldn't participate in gym class or school sports because they couldn't afford to buy sneakers. Jeanne began asking family and friends to donate new shoes, which were given to needy kids in their school settings, in private. In 2008, Susy told us, over 5,000 children received a pair of new shoes from Laces of Love. Often, this is the first pair of new shoes for them. Like Baby Basics, Laces of Love is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and run by a team of dedicated volunteers. There is no paid staff. For more information, see their web site at www.lacesoflove.org.
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|Voter Service Committee
Chris Straton, Committee Chair
On January 26, the City of Marco Island will conduct its city council election. This election will be conducted by mail ballot only. On February 2, three new Naples City Council members will be elected. In keeping with the League's tradition of encouraging informed and active participation in government, we have already published guest commentaries advising voters of the need to be registered, listing options available for voting and offering a one-stop shop to get information on the elections.
In continuing our long tradition of hosting candidate forums, we will sponsor a Naples City Council candidate forum on January 12, from 6 - 8 PM at Naples City Council Chambers. Candidates are invited to a meet and greet at 5 PM outside Council Chambers. The forum will be available for live viewing on Comcast Cable Channel 98 and through the internet at NaplesGov.com, by clicking on Naples TV. League members are encouraged to attend a final planning meeting on January 7, at 10 AM at Calistoga in the Coastland Mall. We will be looking for folks to help at the Candidate Forum and Get Out the Vote, to work our Hot Line on election day, to attend meetings at which the voting equipment is tested, and to monitor the absentee vote review process.
Our next area of focus will be the primary election on August 24, when we may choose our next school board members and our next county commissioners. Republicans will determine their candidates for U.S. Senate, Governor, Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Agriculture. Democrats will determine their candidates for those same races. Remember, in Florida you must be registered in a party 29 days in advance of an election to vote in that party's election.
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Anne Lewallen and Pat Snyder, Committee Co-Chairs
Please welcome new members Reg and Sandra Buxton, Harriet Lancaster, and Kathleen Doar.
Many thanks to members who have already renewed their membership for the new year. In case you haven't, please remember that you can do so online with PayPal. Hopefully, we'll be at 100% by the end of 2009.
It's time to say "thank you" to all the members who help with membership and hospitality throughout the year. We really appreciate all of your efforts, and your help makes the job so much easier. Let's not forget Liz Sanders and her team at the Collier Athletic Club. Several of our newer members have already become very active. We're so pleased to have them.
Let's make it a goal that each of us brings in a new member in 2010, to help us celebrate our 35th anniversary in Collier County.
Make Sure Your Contact Information is Up-to-Date - You can update your contact information on the For Members page or by calling 263-4656 and providing your new information on the answering machine. If you have moved or your email address has changed in the past year, please ensure that the League has your correct information by e-mailing email@example.com or calling 263-4656.
If you know someone who may be interested in joining our League, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or direct them to the Join Us page on our website, where they can print a membership application.
|Thank You to Our Newest Volunteers!
This month we recognize our most recent volunteers: Rose DiBiasi, Anne Lewallen and Denise Rochford, who are working with Joyce Fletcher on the LWV Anniversary Committee; Bernice Schmelz, Joan Byerhof, Joyce Fletcher, Dorothy Hirsch, Anne Lewallen, Dianne Mayberry-Hatt and Beth Prolow, who are working with Chris Straton on the Naples City Council election activities; and Denise Rochford, whose "Spotlight on New Members" VOTER column debuted this month. We also thank Elissa Goldstein for designing helpful forms for signing in attendees and keeping track of payments at our general meeting luncheons.
These are some of the areas we still need help.
Please consider volunteering a few hours of your time each month to help us offer the great programming and advocacy that defines us. Contact me at 513-1595 or email@example.com to volunteer or for more information.
|News from the National League
Last month the National League:
- Reported that the LWVUS Arms Control Task Force has posted two new informational papers on the web page in conjunction with a review of the League's 1983 Position on Arms Control "for relevance, usefulness and practical application."
- Filed an amicus brief in League of Women Voters vs. Rokita before the Indiana Supreme Court. The LWVUS brief argues that the Indiana Voter ID law burdens the voting rights of some citizens, resulting in the unjustifiable disenfranchisement of constitutionally eligible voters.
- Posted a fact sheet on the web page with New Requirements for Handling Military and Overseas Voters. The fact sheet, prepared by the National Association of Secretaries of State, summarizes provisions of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act signed into law in November, representing the largest overhaul in military voting since 1986.
- Led a coalition of several government transparency and civic participation groups, releasing the results of a survey evaluating the 3-phase Open Government Dialogue conducted by the White House earlier this year. The survey results were shared with the Administration in advance of the announcement of the Open Government Directive. To read about the League's involvement in this area, see the Openness in Government section of the website.
|LWV Celebrates Anniversaries|
In 2010, the LWVCC will celebrate its 35th anniversary, and the National League will celebrate its 90th anniversary. SAVE THE DATE - March 25, 5-7 PM, Naples Backyard History Museum.
Watch for more details!
REQUEST - We need our members to tell their League stories. We want to know where and when you joined League, what your League passion is and if your mother or grandmother was part of League. We need your story ASAP and by January 15 if at all possible, so please get out your pens or computers and write your story to share. Send your story to Joyce Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REQUEST - Any fun-loving party planner who would like to join our committee to assist with the final planning, get in touch with Joyce.
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|2010 Legislative Seminar - "Celebrate and Advocate"
The 2010 Legislative Seminar will be held March 22-24 in Tallahassee. Join a group of Collier County Leaguers and drive to Tallahassee - IT'S FAR BUT FUN! Look at the amazing events you will attend if you go! Call Lydia Galton for more details.
Monday, March 22
7:30 AM - Enjoy breakfast in the historic Governor's Club. Listen to key legislators from both political parties address League priorities.
9:30 AM - Receive a proclamation from Governor Crist and the Cabinet in the Cabinet Room highlighting our historical achievements.
10 AM - A visit to and recognition from the floor of the House and/or Senate session.
Noon to 5 PM - Work in committees OR with legislators.
5 PM - The Paradigm in Tallahassee - Hot Topics Debate Dinner: "Amendment 4 - Growth Management or Voter Mismanagement?"
8 PM - Little League Meetings, Big League Issues.
Low, Low Special 90-Year Anniversary Registration Fee ONLY $99!!
Register before March 1 - click here. Fee includes all seminar materials and all activities, including reception/dinners on March 22 and 23, breakfast on March 23. Make hotel reservations directly by calling the Hilton Garden Inn at 1-850-893-8300. Mention the LWVF Group. Room rate is $132.05 + tax per night, single or double occupancy.
|2010 Meeting Schedule - January Through April
Save the dates!
General Meeting - Pre-Hospital Care in Collier County
Hot Topics - Hometown Democracy - Amendment 4 for 2010
Lively League - Discussion of Hometown Democracy - Amendment 4
General Meeting - Update on the State of Florida's Everglades Land Purchase
Lively League - Discussion of Proposed Bylaws Changes
General Meeting - Youth Relations Deputies in the Collier County Schools
March 22 - 24
LWVF Legislative Seminar, Tallahassee
LWV Anniversary Celebration, Naples Backyard History Museum
April 12General Meeting - On the Road to Citizenship: A Look Inside
Lively League - Annual Meeting
The League of Women Voters of Collier County, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Our goal is to empower citizens to shape better communities worldwide.
Visit our website at www.lwvcolliercounty.org for our current list of officers, directors and off-board members, our Program, Diversity Policy, Nonpartisan Policy, By-Laws, Minutes and more.