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Category: Front Page News

Food and Agriculture Forums from LWVs Andover/No. Andover and Newton

Posted Feb 14, 2014

From Farm to Plate: How We Sustain Local Farms

Saturday, March 1, 2014; 2-4 pm
Andover Memorial Hall Library, 2 N. Main St., Andover, MA
Presented by the League of Women Voters of Andover/North Andover
Flyer: Click here.

  • We know that eating local food sustains our local farms, but what more should we be doing?
  • What are the issues facing the farmers in Essex County? And how can consumers ensure that local food remains a viable option?

A trio of local farmers will talk about how food and farming affect us all, from animal welfare to energy efficiency to farmland preservation to immigration reform.

Lisa Colby—Colby Farm, Newburyport
Glenn Cook – Cider Hill Farm, Amesbury
Rich Bonanno, Pleasant Valley Gardens, Methuen

The Politics of Food; You Are What You Eat

Wednesday, March 12, 2014; 7:30 – 9:00 pm
John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton, 675 Watertown Street, Newton, MA

The League of Women Voters Newton invites you to attend a panel presentation on agriculture to help us prepare to answer the questions posed by the national League’s Agriculture Study.


Steve Goodwin, Dean of the College of Natural Resources at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Dean Goodwin joined the faculty in the Department of Microbiology in 1986 and focused his research on environmental microbiology and the use of microbes to produce biodegradable polymers. Dr. Goodwin received a BS in Zoology from the University of Maine, an MS in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia, and a PhD in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin. From 2001, Dr. Goodwin served as Dean and as Associate Dean for the former College of Natural Resources and the Environment prior to becoming CNS dean in 2009. He is active on the boards of many regional organizations, including Community Involved in Supporting Agriculture (CISA), the Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors, and the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute (PVLSI).

Greg Maslowe,   Farm Manager, Newton Community Farm
Greg has worked as an organic gardener for many years. He is accredited by the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) as an organic land-care professional. He is also a doctoral student in Boston University’s Science, Philosophy, and Religion program. He studies environmental ethics, with an emphasis on agriculture. His dissertation examines the ethics of using genetically modified organisms in agriculture. Newton Community Farm is a model of sustainable farming and energy use.

Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Election Reform!

Posted Jan 16, 2014

With passage of an election reform bill by a 37-1 margin Thursday, the Senate has taken a giant step to make Massachusetts one of the leading states in the nation in encouraging its citizens to register and to vote.  At a time when many states are actively cutting back access to the polls, the Massachusetts legislature deserves high praise for taking the opposite stance.

The final version of the Senate bill includes Election Day registration, early voting with some required weekend hours, pre-registration for 16-year-olds, online voter registration and an online portal where citizens can check their voting status, and post-election audits of random precincts.  It ties classification of a voter as inactive to voting history rather than to returning the town or city census form.

Proposals to require voters to show a photo ID or other forms of identification before casting a ballot were defeated in the Senate.

Among the many amendments which passed in the Senate were provisions to:

  • Eliminate the check-out table in the polling place, a move supported by the clerks’ associations
  • Require that the link to the online portal to check registration status be posted on city and town websites
  • Require that the legislature provide funding to cover the costs of early voting on weekends
  • Take a step toward permanent voter registration by enabling the Secretary of State’s office to update voting lists based on change of address information from the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the U.S. Postal Service
  • Allow a voter registered “in a political designation that is not a political party” to be considered unenrolled for the purpose voting in a primary and eligible to receive a ballot of a political party of the voter’s choosing.

The Senators passed a provision to allow 17-year-olds in Lowell to vote in municipal elections, a move inspired by teen civic activists in that city which has also been considered as a home rule petition.  Voters in Lowell will have to approve allowing 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections.

The Senate bill builds on the election reform bill passed by the House last November.  It now goes to conference committee to reconcile the differences, then to the House for passage of the reconciled version before it is sent to the Governor for his signature.

The effort to pass this bill was driven by the Election Modernization Coalition, made up of 45 advocacy groups and led by Common Cause Massachusetts, MassVOTE, League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, ACLU Massachusetts, MASSPIRG, the Massachusetts Voter Table, MIRA Coalition and Progressive Massachusetts.

Click here to see LWVMA’s letter to the editor in the Boston Globe Jan. 16 and here to see the Globe editorial supporting election reform and noting LWVMA’s work, also in the Jan. 16 paper.

U.S. Supreme Court to hear oral argument in abortion clinic buffer zone case Jan. 15

Jan 13, 2014

The oral argument in the case of McCullen v. Coakley will be on Wednesday, January 15. The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts joined an amicus brief, along with 31 other organizations, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a Massachusetts law establishing a buffer zone around abortion clinics. View the full amicus brief here.

The law establishing a 35-ft. buffer zone at abortion clinics was passed in 2007 to combat harassment and violence at the clinics. Two clinic employees in Brookline were murdered in 1994. The plaintiffs in the case seek to overturn the buffer zone law as an unconstitutional violation of free speech.

The LWVMA’s position on women’s reproductive rights dates back to 1972. The League has joined several amicus briefs in abortion rights cases before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and was a co-plaintiff in a case against Operation Rescue for physically blocking clinics.

Deadline for Local League Grant Applications Feb 17

Posted Feb 2, 2014

The next application deadline for the Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education Grant Program is Monday, February 17, 2014. The grant program offers funds of up to $250 to help Leagues carry out events and projects in the areas of citizen education and voter service.

For information, eligibility, and application  click here.

To submit a grant or for questions email

Generous contributions to the Lotte E. Scharfman Citizen Education Fund have made this successful grant program possible.  Click here to donate.

Last scheduled grant deadline in 2014 is June 2, fall dates will be announced.