This issue includes: President's Letter, County/Community Conversations, Schedule of Events, The Chair's Corner, Remembering Helen Levin, and more!
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September 2016

President's Letter

"Once you put your hand to the plow, you can't put it down until you get the end of the row."

–Alice Paul, Suffragette

What’s true in farming is also true in cultivating and maintaining our democracy. Our political system requires constant awareness and citizen involvement if it is to not only survive but thrive and grow in good times and in the face of changing and challenging circumstances.
With that thought in mind and – it being August – it’s time to gear up for another active LWVCC year in the midst of an unusually exciting national election.   League activities depend on League members, so if we are to influence our community and even the national scene, here are some opportunities where you can participate:

  • Sept 3rd  – Voter Registration @ Farmers Market 8-12:00. An hour or two will be appreciated. Other dates are Oct. 1st and Oct. 29th.  Contact me (367-5014 or
  • Sept. 21st – Monthly League Meeting @ Urbana City Council Chambers 12-1:30 p.m.  See meeting schedule, topics, elsewhere in this newsletter. We will need League members to moderate the panel discussion; if available, contact me (367-5014 or
  • Sept. 27thNational Voter Registration Day
  • Sept 29thCandidates Forums @ Champaign City Council Chambers 7:00. Other dates are Oct. 5th and Oct. 7th.  Contact Carole Rebeiz  (377-9148 or to moderate, usher, and otherwise assist.
  • Nov. 8thElection Day!  Election Judges are in great demand.  Contact the County Clerk’s Office ( now to sign up.

–Barbara Wysocki, League of Women Voters of Champaign County President

County/Community Conversations:

LWVCC's Monthly Meeting Schedule & Topics

Champaign County – like other areas in Illinois – has experienced some new realities as a result of the lack of a state budget. Infrastructure needs, governance at the local level, public health and social services, environmental concerns, and the like have all been put in jeopardy or cut completely.
Our monthly meetings will feature panels devoted to a particular topic – all focused on how the financial decisions made in Springfield have had or will have an impact on Champaign County, both urban and rural and how segments of our county community are responding and/or adjusting. Each presentation will be followed by questions from the audience.  All meetings will be televised on UPTV. Programs  start at noon and conclude by 1:30.
Here’s the line-up:  Mark your Calendars! Bring a Friend or two!
  • Wednesday, Sept. 21stThe Impact of a Lack of State Budget on People and Agencies in Champaign County – An Overview
  • Wednesday, Oct. 12thThe Impact of a lack of State Budget on Local Municipal and County  Governments
  • Wednesday, Nov. 16thThe Impact of a lack of a State Budget on Local Housing Agencies and Those in Need of Affordable Housing
  • Wednesday, Dec. 21stThe Impact of a lack of a State Budget on Local Environmental Organizations and Our Natural Resources
  • Wednesday, Jan. 25th – The Impact of a lack of State Budget on Schools in Champaign County
  • Wednesday, Feb. 15th – The Impact of a lack of a State Budget on Local History and the Arts
  • Wednesday, March 15th – The Impact of a lack of a State Budget on Local Public and Mental Health Providers and Those in Need of Health Services
  • Wednesday, April 19thThe Impact of a lack of a State Budget on Policing Efforts in Champaign County
  • Wednesday, May 17th – The Bigger Picture of the Impact of a lack of State Budget on Illinois

To stay updated on these events and more, connect with us on FaceBook or Twitter. 

Schedule of Events

Mark your calendar for these exciting opportunities ahead!

LWVCC at Farmers Market – Saturday, Sept. 3rd 8 a.m. -12:00
LWVIL State of the State – Wednesday, Sept. 21st  – Chicago Union League
Speaker: Cheryl Corley from NPR
LWVCC Monthly Meeting – Wednesday, Sept. 21st @ noon @Urbana City Council Chambers
National Voter Registration Day – Sept. 27, 2016
Early Voting Starts in Illinois – Sept. 29, 2016
Candidates Forum – Sept. 29th – 7:00 @ Champaign City Council Chambers

LWVCC Welcomes Rose Rodriguez, New Student Intern

(Photo above: Rose Rodriguez helps register students to vote and recruits new members of the LWVCC Student Unit)

Rose Rodriguez is LWVCC's student intern for the 2016-2017 season. Rose is a senior majoring in Political Science and has taken coursework in the area of Global Studies as well. She is setting her sights on law school in the near future. Rose is no stranger to community involvement – she currently interns for State Senator Scott Bennett, and has been active in several student organizations. She is looking forward to the next year as our student intern to coordinate student events, register voters, and raise awareness of LWV. Thanks for joining the team, Rose!

NEW FEATURE! We are excited to present The Chair's Corner, where members can learn more about the work being accomplished by the Committee Chairs.

Natural Resources Study Group

Local News: Urbana Park District's Shoreline Enhancement and Habitat Restoration at Crystal Lake

Urbana Park District has unveiled their plan for shoreline enhancement and habitat restoration for Crystal Lake at the park. At a June 30th open house, staff and the district’s planning consultants, Berns, Clancy and Associates were on hand to discuss that many interesting aspects of the enhancement and restoration plans. Through a series of aerial photos, drawings and text the plans were revealed and open to public comment. Issues such as bank erosion and flooding; management of biotic resources (Canada geese); shoreline stabilization; habitat restoration; shoreline planting of native prairie species;  improvement to water quality and island habitat restoration were among the sections of the plan discussed at stations for information.

Of particular interest was the emphasis of the plan on careful restoration of the shoreline to minimize impact on wildlife and ecosystems that currently depend on the lake. This included discussions of the need for diverse plantings both on the shoreline and in the water (aquatic plants) and removal of many invasive plants.

Finally, the consultants called for a management plan that addressed these issues. This is a crucial part of any plan. With the extensive work that will be needed to implement such an endeavor, management of the improvements would be critical for successful habitat and water quality of the Crystal Lake.

For more information, you can view current Urbana Park District projects at: or call the Planning and Development Division of UPD.
– Barb Schleicher

Observing your Government in Action

An important activity of the League is observing the meetings of governmental boards and commissions.  Our observers learn about community issues and can identify those that may require League action or study.  Observers reinforce the League's reputation as a “good government” group.  Please consider being a League observer of one of these boards that do not have an observer at this time.  Your involvement will be personally rewarding and will also play an important part in making democracy work.

Champaign County Board: meets Thursday following 3rd Monday, 6:30pm, Brookens Admin. Center

Champaign Unit 4 Board of Education: meets 2nd and 4th Mondays, 6:00pm, Mellon Admin. Bldg.

Champaign Park District: meets 2nd Wednesday,  7:00pm, Bresnan Meeting Center
Urbana Park District: meets 2nd Tuesday, 7:00pm, 1011 E. Kerr Ave., U.
Urbana Free Library Board: meets 2nd Tuesday, 7:30pm, Library Conference Room
Champaign City Council: meets 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 7:00pm, City Bldg.

If you have questions about being an observer or wish to volunteer for this League activity contact me at 217-359-8818 or  Also, if you are currently observing and do not have a League button to wear to meetings, let me know.
–Sue Phillips

Remembering Helen Levin

"Women are the real architects of society."

–Harriet Beecher Stowe

Ms. Stowe’s observation certainly found a prime example in the long life and extraordinary civic career of Helen Levin who passed away on Friday, August, 19th

Helen was a League member for over fifty years, serving in leadership positions on the local, state, and national level.  She was in the first group of League members who traveled to China to 1976 in the wake of thawing relationships between China and the United States.  The group visited schools and other cultural institutions, exchanging ideas and practices regarding various aspects of local community life.

Locally, Helen was a leader and advocate for a number of community organizations. She not only served on boards, but helped organize and support various foundations which would guarantee that newly founded educational and cultural institutions would endure.  Community Foundation of East Central Illinois, Parkland College, Krannert Art Museum, and others were the beneficiaries of Helen’s vision and philanthropy.

In 1992, Helen was the first recipient of the Chamber of Commerce’s Most Valuable Citizen Award. Recently, she received the Kyle and Phyllis Robeson Philanthropy Award.

The League of Women Voters extends their sympathy to Helen’s daughters Susan and Emily.



The Champaign County Clerk’s Office is now accepting requests from those who want to vote by mail in the upcoming November election!  Registered voters can request a ballot by mail by visiting the county clerk’s website, by sending an email to, or calling the office at 217-384-3724.  Ballot requests will be fulfilled beginning Sept. 29th.  Voters need not provide a reason for their request.
As of June, the League of Women Voters no longer requires members to be citizens of the U.S.!  And… the age for membership has been changed from 18 to 16!  Join at our website:

Contact Information – Board Officers

                  Barbara Wysocki, President '17:
                  Kat Bork, Vice-President '17:  
                  Holly Wilper, Secretary '17:     
                  Sandy Volk, Treasurer '17:      
                  Carolyn Trimble Director '17:   
                  Anjte Kolodziei, Director '17:   
                  Pat Meller, Director '18:           

Inaugural Monthly Meeting of LWVCC

2016-2017 is proving to be an exciting year and more is on the way!  It’s an election year and presidential politics has never looked like it does now.  Moreover, for us in Illinois and particularly in Champaign County, we’ve experienced a year without a state budget and we’re facing the prospects of more economic hardship to come.  LWVCC is devoting its monthly programs to examining the impact that the lack of a state budget is already having on our citizens and on institutions and organizations that have served us well for a long time.
Our Inaugural September 21st meeting at noon at the Urbana City Council Chambers will be an overview of the Impact of the Lack of a State Budget on People and Agencies in Champaign County.  Helping us discern the current environment will be
 Andrew Quarnstrom,  Township Supervisor of the City of Champaign
Jim Hires, Executive Director of the Eastern Illinois Food Bank
and a Director of a local Food Pantry
These three panelists will set the stage for the ongoing conversation in our community as the year progresses.  In other months, we will invite other panelists to focus in on the way the lack of a state budget is affecting our environment, public and mental health, local government, and the arts.
Please check the schedule in this newsletter and plan now to join us in person, on YouTube, and viewing replays of programs on UPTV.

 Hello from New Communications Director


Hello, LWVCC! I have already met many accomplished and fascinating women and am excited to continue meeting more of you. I will not see you at monthly meetings due to conflicts of scheduling, but I am looking forward to seeing members at evening meetings and events. I am no stranger to Champaign-Urbana: I've done my undergraduate work at UIUC, earned a Masters degree in Linguistics, and am now beginning my J.D. with the Illinois College of Law. That said, I am new to the League and am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about how LWVCC interacts with the rest of its community. Looking forward to meeting you soon!


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 LWCC influences public policy through education and advocacy, working on various issues at local and national levels. League members come from all walks of life – united by our shared understanding of the importance of political literacy, we celebrate being non-partisan and diverse in our identities, affiliations, and experiences.

Copyright © 2016 League of Women Voters of Champaign County, All rights reserved.