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Citizen EngagementSeptember 2010
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In This Issue
-President's Letter
-Profile: Lois Russell
-It's Time for the Fall Gathering
-Join the Observer Corps
-October Meeting to Focus on Ten-Year Plan
-Special Joint Presentation with University of Tennessee
-Our 90th Anniversary Celebration
-Lee Ann Rogers & Rynn Dupes Join the Board
-Get Involved--Join the Board or a Committee
-Treasurer's Report
-The LWV Edfund: A Great Tax Deduction!
-Preserving Our Legacy

Welcome New Members!! 
Dawn Coppock
Doris Martinson
Jewell Minnich

LWVKKC Board of Directors 

Jamey Dobbs
1st Vice-president: Laura Cole
2nd Vice-president: Barabara Nicodemus
Secretary/Treasurer: Mary Headrick

Robin Brown
Lisa Carroll
Rynn Dupes
Susanne Dupes
Parci Gibson
Alexandra Hruz
Lee Ann Rodgers

Comments or suggestions?
 Contact the editor at
Jamey DobbsPresident's Letter 

After an eventful summer and 90th anniversary, I welcome everyone to the start of a new season for the League. Earlier this summer, our board met with national LWV president Elizabeth MacNamara at the East Tennessee History Center to focus on a theme and lay out a plan for the year. The theme we returned to again and again is "Citizen Engagement" -- putting citizens in personal contact with their local government and helping them understand how government works. 


The League has always championed the idea that democracy works from best when it works from the ground up, with active participate of people who understand how government works at a basic, local level.  Yet, so many citizens these days are disengaged, opting out of the basic process and freedoms that guide our destiny and protect our country. Many see the political process as completely foreign to their lives and communicate their disconnection in miserable voter turnout numbers.  Ironically, we reinforce this disconnection in Tennessee by making Civics merely an elective subject in high schools, instead of required, foundational knowledge.


Our members want a better tomorrow in Knoxville and we will not be bystanders. The 25% membership growth last year is one sign of our League rising to the challenge.  Another is the fast-growing presence of the Observer Corps--volunteers watching our local government officials in action once a month and setting a higher standard for accountability.  In the new 2010-2011 season, you will see us placing a greater emphasis on civic education for members, citizens and students.  We will partner this year with an unprecedented group of organizations.  And we will continue educating with committee studies and boosting our impact with online tools. 


I invite you all to get a taste of our new year activities at the Fall Gathering on September 21 (more information below).  Bring a friend and let's keep the League growing!


-- Jamey Dobbs, President  548-0818

Profile:  Lois Russell
LWVKKC's First "Making Democracy Work Award" Winner
Lois RussellFor 60 years, Lois Russell has been active in local, state, and federal government working to increase understanding between the black and white communities. She is a woman who exemplifies many ideals that the League of Women Voters holds dear, particularly the notion that to elicit change, you must engage the process.  That is why Lois was a perfect candidate for our first annual Making Democracy Work Award.
Lois's primary focus has been race relations, but she has also fought to provide health care for the working poor, and gave assistance to victims of domestic violence. Along the way, Lois has not only brought many officials and leaders together for the benefit of our community, but she has also aided many young people. Throughout her career, whe has helped 175 students find internships and other opportunities that have enabled them to grow. 
In order to realize her own goals, Lois has assumed many roles. She has been a teacher, not only professionally, but she also moderated seminars on topics such as low-cost housing and the interfaith clinic. Lois has been a publicist, drawing attention to programs such as the Negro College Fund
and Black History Month. She has been an interviewer, engaging state and federal politicians, and writing action letters to support or oppose legislation. Lois has even hosted television shows featuring community official and leaders.
Last, but certainly not least, Lois served as our own League's President from 1961-1963, and President of Tennessee's League from 1963-1967. We are proud to call her not only a fellow League member, but to honor her efforts with this award.
Congratulations Lois!!
 -- Rynn Dupes

It's Time for the Fall Gathering!
We call it the Fall Gathering -- a time to gather after the summer break, reconnect with each other and hear about the new initiatives for the year.   All League members and their guests are invited to a wine and appetizer party on Tuesday, September 21, from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at the beautifulsummer party1 lakeside home of Lucy Gibson. We hope you received your invitation.  We have one of the most interesting groups of women and men in Knoxville, and many new members coming into the League.  You won't want to miss the chance to meet old friends, be introduced to new ones, and sample a delicious array of good food and wine (our members bring the best appetizers!). 

For anyone looking to get active in the projects of the League, this is the summer party 2place to be!  At the event, several tables hosted by our board members and committee chairs will offer information about our committees and volunteer opportunities.  No experience is necessary for any of our committees.  If you are a supporting member, learn how you can contribute to this year's voter education and civic education projects at the Education Fund table-and make it tax deductible.

If you haven't already, please RSVP to Lee Ann Rogers at or call 865-584-7703. It will help us plan for the night.  We welcome anyone with children to the party.  Childcare will be provided at Lucy's home if requested in advance with your RSVP. 
--Jamey Dobbs

Join the Observer Corps
Come join in on our next Observer training. Be a part of the team!  Follow your interest and observe our elected and appointed officials in action. One afternoon or evening per month is all it takes.
You can pick from a multitude of meetings to observe such as City Council, County Commission, City BZA, School Board, Ethics Committee or a governmental body you have been wanting to know more about. We will train and support you. Ask a friend and go together!   Accompany a seasoned Observer to decide if you would like to become an observer. 

Our next training session for volunteers will be offered Sunday, Oct 17th from 2:00-4:00 pm at Robin Brown's home, 8033 Hayden Dr., Knoxville, 37919.  If you would like to attend this training or get more information regarding Observer Corps, please contact Barbara Nicodemus at or 865 688-4694.
-- Barbara Nicodemus 

October Meeting to Focus on Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness
October's monthly meeting will feature a presentation about the Knoxville/Knox County Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness.  The Ten-Year Plan is designed to better coordinate homeless services and to secure permanent supportive housing for the nearly 1,000 chronically 10 year plan report coverhomeless single men and women in Knoxville and Knox County. 
League member Stephanie Matheny will provide data on homelessness in Knoxville and Knox County and describe the multiple components of the Ten-Year Plan.  She will explain why the Ten-Year Plan focuses on chronic homelessness, describe the development of new permanent supportive housing through the Ten-Year Plan, and discuss the Plan's "housing first" philosophy.   There will be ample opportunity for questions and answers during and after the presentation.
Stephanie is a spokesperson for Citizens for the Ten-Year Plan, and previously developed housing for the homeless and other low-income people in Seattle and throughout western Washington.
The meeting will be held on October 19th from 11:30-1:00 at the Beck Center.
-- Stephanie Matheny

Special Joint Presentation with University of Tennessee
UTK Issues Committee, League of Women Voters Knoxville and Knox County, and the UTK Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department present:
"The Citizen United Case and Democracy: Lessons from a Fight with Exxon"
A Public Lecture and Book Signing
Thursday, October 21, 7:30 pm
University Center Auditorium
Dr. Ott is a former Alaska commercial fisherman and marine toxicologist Rikki Ottspecializing in oil pollution, who fought against Exxon for 20 years after the Valdez oil spill.  She will talk about the impact of growing corporate powers from her 20-years experience fighting for compensation and environmental cleanup in Southeast Alaska.  The settlement against Exxon, finalized last year, is estimated to cover only 1/10 of the total cleanup costs. Dr. Ott is currently consulting on the BP oil disaster. 
One of the impacts of the Supreme Court's recent ruling in the Citizens United case is opening up election finance to much greater corporate spending.  The national League of Women Voters argues that these powers are a danger to the democratic process.  Dr. Ott and others are working toward a constitutional amendment limiting these rights.  The League of Women Voters is tentatively pursuing legislative changes to limit corporate election spending.  Hear Dr. Ott's side of the debate and we will explore other perspectives in future events. Dr. Ott is offering a free copy of her book, Sound Truth & Corporate Myth$: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, to everyone attending the lecture.

Our 90th Anniversary Celebration on Market Square 
Market Square Mall was alive with women's history on Saturday, August 7th as we celebrated both the League's 90th anniversary and Women's Equality
Madeline Rogero
Day with the Woman Suffrage Coalition.   With the East Tennessee History Fair and the Saturday Farmer's Market going on around us, we had lots of hustle and bustle and many, many opportunities to share what we were celebrating with people of all ages, from moms and dads with their young girls, to elderly couples who were pleased to see us continuing our legacy. 
After welcomes by both League President
Candace Corrigan:  A Vote of Her Own
Jamey Dobbs and Suffrage Coalition Coordinator Wanda Sobieski, Madeline Rogero from the City of Knoxville presented a joint proclamation from Mayors Bill Haslam and then Mayor Mike Ragsdale proclaiming the day for the League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County.  Following the proclamation, Jamey recognized past League presidents who were able to join us for the event. 
A highlight of the League's portion of the morning's festivities was the presentation of our first annual Making Democracy Work Award, which as you have already read, was given to Lois Russell.  (Be thinking of who your nominee will be next year!)
Following our formal ceremony, we were treated
Suffrage jail
the jail
to "A Vote of
Her Own," a play that the Woman Suffrage Coalition had commissioned Candace Corrigan to write for the occasion.  It was a real crowd-pleaser!!
Following a march to the Suffrage Memorial for singing of suffrage songs, we wound up the festivities with anniversary cake and lemonade.
It was a wonderful time!  We thank the East Tennessee History Center, the Woman Suffrage Coalition and all of our members who gave of their time to help us with this event!!.
-- Susanne Dupes, ABC, APR

Lee Ann Rogers & Rynn Dupes Join the Board
The League Board added two new members recently, both for one-year appointments.  Lee Ann Rogers has agreed to serve as special events coordinator and Rynn Dupes will serve as our newsletter editor. 
Lee Ann is a Business Development Manager for Conway Marketing and has lived in the Knoxville community for 18 years.  Lee Ann has served with numerous arts organizations as a board member and volunteer, and has a background in theater performance and management.
Rynn is a native Knoxvillian and a May 2010 graduate of the University of Tennessee with a BS in English.  She works at the UT Law Library as the government documents specialist. She is an aspiring screen writer and is also a member of the Knoxville Writers Guild.
We welcome Lee Ann and Rynn to the board and the organization! 

Get Involved--Join the Board or a Committee!
Do you like where the League is heading?  Do you like the company of interesting, ambitious women (or men)?  The Board is seeking a Membership Chair and a Fund Development Chair.  We will have job descriptions at the Fall Gathering and on our website soon. 
If either of these positions sounds interesting, please talk to a board member, or contact Jamey Dobbs, president at 548-0818 or   The Board meets on fourth Tuesdays at 6:15 at Cafe 4. 
** If you know someone who would be a good recruit, let us know.
We are also looking for members to serve on our Voter Service and Land Use committees.  Learn more at the Fall Gathering next Tuesday.

Treasurer's Report 
Following is a report from our new Treasurer, Mary Headrick:
Earlier this year, the LWVKKC board decided to sell LWVKKC's dividend earning stock and purchase, instead, FDIC-insured, interest-bearing CDs for the generous past endowments from Shirley Keller, Grace Cooley, Jane Nielsen, and others. The Board voted to maintain a CD amount, $12,000, equaling approximately 6 months of budget, as a reserve fund for future needs and as interest income for current use.
Our current operating funds will equal $4.801 after this month's $4,381 LWVUS payment. Our current EdFund totals $1,940.
Each $55 annual membership is divided as: 
  • $29.80to LWVUS
  • $18to LWVTN 
  • $7.20 to LWVKKC
Although our 147 members yield ~$8,045 in annual dues, many of your kind donations and fund raising efforts let us exercise a $19,000+ budget for our community service, member service, and issue advocacy.  Thank you for your membership and kind donations both to our general operating fund and the EdFund.

The LWV EdFund:  A Great Tax Deduction!

Your EdFund donations are tax-deductible! Edfund money can be used for public service and education, such as nonpartisan candidate forums and other Voter service. 

Checks to the EdFund should be made out to LWVTNEF with LWVKKC designated in the comment. I will send a year-end statement to those who made EdFund donations of different title so you may confidently deduct if you itemize.  You can indicate the specific type of EdFund project you wish to support if you have favorite projects.  You can divide a donation between KKC,TN,US.

Donations to the General Operating Fund are not tax-deductible.  A portion of our LWVUS payment can come from the EdFund, reflecting the public service of our organization.

--Mary Headrick

Preserving Our Legacy 


Thanks to Doris Martinson and Ellen Adcock, our League has undertaken an archiving project involving documents from our local League.  Early minutes and records from the League's history are part of the East Tennessee History Center's McClung Historical Collection. Some later minutes, however, had been placed in the Special Collections of the University of Tennessee, but were recently moved to the Howard Baker Center during renovations at the campus library.


It would be best for all of these records to be together in the McClung Historical Collection, which serves as a repository for East Tennessee historical, genealogical and organizations records. This is important in order to preserve and write the history of our League of Women Voters. We are attempting to ensure the transfer and integration of these very important records.  

Upcoming Events
  • Fall Gathering, September 18
  • LWVKKC Board meeting, Tuesday, September 28, Cafe 4
  • Happy Hour, October 13, Crowne and Goose
  • Tennessee Economic Council on Women, October 17-18, Franklin, TN (
  • LWVKKC member meeting, Tuesday, October 19, Beck Center
  • LWVKKC Board meeting, Tuesday, October 26, Cafe 4
  • LWV State Convention, November 6-7 (more info coming soon!)
Did You Know?
Each Voter snail mailed to a member costs $1.34 + labor.  You can stretch your membership dollar by receiving the Voter by email.  If you agree to receive the Voter by email, contact any board member.  But if that would stop your Voter perusal, don't do it! 
Contact Info
League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County
P.O. Box 31825
Knoxville, TN 37930-1825