E-Catalyst April 2019




After a hiatus of several years, we plan to start the E-Catalyst back up again for League. This first edition reports on activities of last year, and on upcoming opportunities. If you have an interest in being involved in any of our upcoming activities, please feel free to contact us. We welcome your participation.


Report from the Annual Meeting


Past and Current Presidents


On April 13, 2019 the Northfield/Cannon Falls League of Women Voters held our annual meeting. Forty-eight people attended representing students from High School and College, to people who were a part of the re-founding of the League in 1965. With the upcoming centennial of the League in 2020, we will spend part of this year looking at our history.


Voter Services:Over the past year, Melanie Freeze revitalized our voter services efforts. See her reports https://lwvnorthfieldmn.org/2019/02/22/2018-voter-services-report-part-i-voter-registration-and-education-efforts/and https://lwvnorthfieldmn.org/2019/02/26/2018-voter-services-report-part-ii-northfield-voter-turnout/


Housing and Homelessness:We also worked on issues of housing and homelessness. Kathleen Doran-Norton, along with Mary Steen, led the efforts to raise awareness on the issue of homelessness in Northfield. With the support of a St. Olaf Social Work class taught by Lisa Moore, Kathleen and Mary co-authored a briefing paper on the issue of Homelessness in our community. https://lwvnorthfieldmn.org/where-we-stand/briefing-paper-homelessness-in-northfield/

Now they are back at work with Lisa Moore examining the state of affordable housing. On May 9, the St. Olaf students will be organizing a housing charette. For more information on this or if you are interested in participating, please contact Kathleen or Mary.  (kdorannorton@gmail.comand msteen@stolaf.edu


History of Northfield/Cannon Falls League:This past winter, Serena Zabin, a new board member who also teaches at Carleton, organized a public health class around the history of the League. She and her students combed the archives, gathered oral histories, and looked at our local history both for the stories and the themes. They have created a wonderful web page which tells the story of our League. Please spend some time looking at our history. https://lwvnorthfieldmn.org/about/history-project/

They are continuing to work on this project so if you have stories or memorabilia that you could share, please contact Serena: (szabin@gmail.com)


Rebuilding:  This past year, the League spent time on rebuilding itself in a range of ways.

Thanks to the energy of Pat Johnson and Amy Smith, we have an updated webpage with a way to pay your member dues (or make a contribution on line).

For our program planning meeting, we also invited Nick Harper down from St. Paul to share with us tools to be more effective in our advocacy efforts. https://www.lwvmn.org/secure-our-elections

This year we will be launching new membership recruitment efforts. After many years of true service, Bonnie Jean Flom stepped down as chair of the membership committee and Melanie Freeze has stepped up. Janet Petri and Mary Carlsen continue to help out in many ways, and Melanie is looking for two more members to join her committee. If you are interested, please email her at: meisue2@gmail.com

The new membership committee will be organizing events including a June new member gathering with an educational focus on climate change. Watch for an announcement.


Membership and Dues:  As a reminder, if you have not yet paid your dues, please do so. (Our dues year begins April 1, so this is the ideal time to stay current.) The membership approved a small increase in dues;  details, amounts, and a brand-new online payment portal are at https://lwvnorthfieldmn.org/become-a-member/

You can also mail a check to LWV Treasurer,  P.O. Box 527, Northfield MN 55057.

Education and Letter-Writing:We are launching a new initiative this year, in the spirit of What’s Up (a monthly or bi-monthly smaller issue gatherings that we did a few years ago). We will be gathering once a month to do some shared education and action around a topic with a monthly letter-writing gathering. We invite you to join us at the Hideaway on the third Saturday of each month from 9:00 to 10:30 for coffee, conversation, and action. The first one will be on May 18thand be about the ERA both nationally and in MN. Please join us there if you are able.


The new leadership structure for the upcoming League is posted on our website https://lwvnorthfieldmn.org/about/about-us-homemission-statement/

We look forward to hearing from and seeing you over the upcoming months. Thank you for your interest in and support of the League.


Pat Johnson and Adrienne Falcon



PS We want to give a special thanks to Judy Covey and Alice Thomas who shared their stories with us at the League Annual meeting. They inspired us to remember the many ways that things have changed, and ways they haven’t. We want to include pieces of our shared knowledge over the months to come and invite other submissions.

Alice Thomas (President 1971-72) shared that early on in her time in Northfield she was asked to join the Hospital Board, with the only requirement being that she be willing to do her homework. It was a hard first year for her, because it was all men and no one would second a motion that she made thus completely blocking her from participating. By the second year, an ally was appointed, David Emery and one more woman and they could begin to at least get their voices heard. David Emery has remained active with both the Hospital Board and the League. He is our sole remaining observer.