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In This Issue

December 2017
President's Letter
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow! 
Happy December! 
The State of Lake Michigan 2017 Conference took place in Green Bay, WI November  7-10.2017. LWV-Lake Michigan Region's Annual Meeting was part of the conference that   promotes linkages between science and policy communities. I served as the LWV-OPRF   delegate and Sarah Shirk served as the Illinois representative at the Annual Meeting. If you  
have a passion for the Great Lakes and want to serve on the LWV-LMR Board, please contact  Sarah Shirk   or visit the website at www.LWVLMR.org.
Sarah and I attended several workshops presented by the International Association for Great 
Lakes Research (IAGLR). Here are a few highlights of the workshops. 
* Barrier Islands are being created by the dredge material (mostly sand) in the lower  Green Bay waters. These islands will be nature habitats for birds and native vegetation.  
* Coastal wetlands are being restored by removing invasive species and planting wild rice,  native celery, and other native vegetation. (Hand seeding)  
* Researchers are trying to eliminate cyanobacterial blooms (algae). Cyanotoxins can be  1000X above the EPA standard. Green water - stay out!  
* Researchers are studying Dune erosion caused by waves, currents, and lake levels and  how they can slow the damage. Did you know that Baby's Breath is an invasive species   covering many areas of the Dunes?  
* Fun topic- E Coli at the Chicago Beaches. The beaches are divided into five clusters that  can rapidly be tested for safe swimming.  
* Are you concerned with mercury levels in your fish? Although this workshop addressed  women of childbearing age and children, I feel we should all be aware of our   fish/mercury consumption. It takes six months to flush mercury from your bloodstream.  
Go to the web site www.fda.gov/fishadvice for a chart of safe fish to eat. 
* Dan Egan author of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes was interviewed during our  luncheon. Read news about the Great Lakes on Dan's website.  

Nancy Utesch from Kewaunee CARES was our presenter at the LWV Lake Michigan Region  
Annual Meeting, "Manure - Nutrient or Pollutant?". She addressed the high contamination rate of 
tested wells and CAFO's - concentrated animal feeding operations (farms with 1000+cows) that 
impact her community. They are petitioning the EPA and Wisconsin Department of Natural 
Resources (DNR) to take action to comply with the Clean Water Act and provide clean drinking 
water to those with unsafe wells. 

There are many challenges ahead to keep our waters safe and clean, our food web healthy, our 
beaches and animal habitats protected and thriving. 

Looking forward to seeing you at our Wednesday, December 6, Holiday Social. 

Have a wonderful Holiday Season! 
Marge Massarello   
Second Tuesday
Growing Arbor West Neighbors will be the subject of the December 12 Second Tuesday presentation. Join the conversation from 9:30-11:00 am at the Nineteenth Century Club, 178 Forest Ave., Oak Park. Barbara Bodner and Susan Stall, from the AWN Board, will present. Learn more about AWN on their website. By the way, parking is free for the first 1.5 hour in the Vantage building next door. What a deal!
Holiday Social
Our annual Holiday Social is fast approaching. Members and guests are invited to attend the Wednesday, December 6 event being held at Maya del Sol, 144 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, from 6:00-8:30 pm. This is a great event for long time and new members to socialize. Invite a friend or neighbor to join you and learn more about our League.  To RSVP, contact   Kathy Balk.
Deputy Registrar Training 
Registering and educating voters are important missions for all Leagues. If you would like to be able to register new voters, there is a Deputy Registrar Training date set for Tuesday, December 12, at 7:00 pm. Sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, this one hour training will take place in the Community Engagement Space on the main floor of the Oak Park Library. You must register in advance by submitting your name and address to geaacpoliticallyaware@yahoo.com no later than Thursday, December 7. You also must be a registered voter to take this training.
Great Decisions Are Coming!
Starting in February and ending in May, there will be Great Decisions discussion groups once again at Maze Library, Brookdale Senior Living, and River Forest Library. The groups will meet twice monthly and the briefing books(cost $25) will arrive in early January. Topics for 2018 will be: The Waning of Pax Americana, Russia's Foreign Policy, China and America:The New Geopolitical Equation, Media and Foreign Policy, Turkey:A Partner in Crisis, U.S. Global Engagement and the Military, South Africa's Fragile Democracy, and Global Health:Progress and Challenges. We look forward to some spirited discussions on these topics. Dates and times will be shared in January.
Gun Violence
There is a Candlelight Vigil to End Gun Violence on Thursday, December 7, in commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in addition to the 150,000 Americans killed by gun violence since December 2015. The vigil will begin at 7:00pm on the front steps of First United Church, 848 Lake Street, Oak Park.
Water and Sanitation 
Did you miss an important date on the calendar?
It was November 19, National Toilet Day. We may take our access to clean water and sanitation for granted but millions of people worldwide do not have these resources.  The global sanitation crisis is reflected in the following facts, according to reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):  
-Around 60 percent of the global population - 4.5 billion people - either have no toilet at home or one that doesn't safely manage human waste.
-862 million people worldwide still practice open defecation.
-1.8 billion people use an unimproved source of drinking water with no protection against contamination from feces. 
-Globally, 80 percent of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused. 
-Only 39 percent of the global population (2.9 billion people) use a safely-managed sanitation service, that is, feces safely disposed of on-site or treated off-site.
-Combined with safe water and good hygiene, improved sanitation could prevent around 842,000 deaths each year.
Information to ponder and prompt us to be thankful for our access to fresh water and working sewage treatment systems, to resolve not to take them for granted, and to advocate vigorously for safe drinking water and basic sanitation worldwide.
News to Use
Voter Integrity and Information - View the video of our October 24 presentation from representatives from the Illinois State Board of Elections and the Cook County Clerk's Office. (As a follow-up, at their November 20 meeting, the ISBE Board was tied 4-4 on the vote to withdraw from the Crosscheck interstate voter checking system. The vote was drawn along party lines.)

Chicago in Focus November Program - Come hear M. Hill Hammock, Board Chairman of the Cook County Health and Hospital System, present at the November 30 event. Read the flyer  for more information. 

League of Women Voters of Oak Park & River Forest | | (708) 342-0803
  lwvoprf@sbcglobal.net | http://lwvoprf.org
P.O. Box 3301
Oak Park, IL 60303-3301