50th Anniversary Reception
The League of Women Voters of Warren County (LWV) will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Woman's Club of Warren. All league alumni are invited to a reception from 1 to 2:45 p.m. in the parlors. Kathe Frank, mistress of ceremonies, will lead a "time of reminiscing" with alumni. A slide show prepared by Dana Elmquist, an intern at the Warren County Historical Society, will show highlights of the 50 years of educational programs and events of the league. The historical society will display "Women's Victorian Textiles," examples of how women dressed in the Victorian time when the women's suffrage movement began.
Following the reception, the audience can attend the public presentation of "Equality of Rights The First Woman's Rights Convention" play directed by Mark Davis, a league member, at 3 p.m. in the Woman's Club auditorium. Tickets are available from the historical society, league and Woman's Club members. The play will be presented again at 7 p.m.
The League of Women Voters distributed Marcellus Shale study guides to libraries, townships and the community. From left are Kathe Frank, Phyllis Wright, Penny Wolboldt and Dan Glotz.
History & Education
In August 1962, 15 women began preparing to establish a Warren League of Women Voters. The minutes read " ... the women have the willingness ... eagerness to get the facts. Strictly non-partisan in makeup, it is a study group devoted to know issues and fact about the government at all levels. When sufficiently informed, a league may choose to support certain programs (never personalities), and to conduct public education campaigns" This continues to be the basic purpose of the league five decades later.
The national league was organized in 1920 following the ratification of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution and has been a part of the National American Women Suffrage Association which led the 72-year drive for full and equal rights for women in the United States.
To honor the LWV anniversary, two DVDs have been donated to the Warren Public Library depicting this movement: Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Williams donated the PBS Ken Burns program "Not Ourselves Alone: Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B Anthony." Sharon Albrecht donated a modern-day movie presentation of the 1920s story "Iron Jawed Angels: Votes for Women."
Founding women of the Warren League were Mrs. Elwood Beckwith president; Mrs. Reese Campbell, first vice president; Mrs. Charles Howe, second vice president; Mrs. Ralph Sires, secretary; Mrs. Dale Houser, treasurer. Board members were Mrs. Tom (Mary) Schorman and, Mrs. John Haggerty, Mrs. John (Magda) Fanaritis, Mrs. Bernard O'Brien and Mrs. Theodore Prodromou.
Education & Service
Education for members and the public has been the mission throughout the history. In 1963 "Our Town Session" began with studies on economics, public protection, foreign policies, human rights, judicial systems. Community act ivies included encouraging people to vote with places where league members helped to register voters.
Other educational items began in 1965 with the "Legislative Reference Guide" today's "Government Directory." This continues today biannually listing school board, plus government officials at the borough, city, township, county, state, national levels. The 2012 edition is available at libraries and other public places.
In 1965 the annual "Candidates Guide to Public Election" was prepared for the local newspaper. The section included biographies of candidates and questions for individuals to repsond. This continued for four decades and is now done by this newspaper.
In 1965 the league published a 52-page booklet "Know your Town." It told the history of the area and included sections on government protection services, public utilities, education, library, recreation, public health and welfare. Mary Schorman remembers more than 2,000 copies were given to the community with funding from Warren National Bank. In later years copies were given to school classrooms and other groups. Mary and Kay Smith, founding members, are still active int he group. Kay remembers the three-year national health care study during the early 1990s researching methods of delivery and finance, and said "Some things do not change!"
Magda Fanaritis has been a member for 40 years and remembers how important the many experiences and contact of each league member helped consensus decisions to be made. In earlier years she was involved with local vocational education issues, equal rights for student education, and the Career Center curriculum. In earlier years she worked with the current Economic Opportunity Council to provide early education, poverty programs and more.
Land use and recreation versus economic development policies were study groups in the mid 60s, especially relating to the building of the Kinzua Dam.
In 1971 the league published "Know Your County." It included: structure and functions of county government, maps of voting districts, administration of justice, education, highways and other services.
On March 20, 1975, the Warren LWV presented the "Final Report and Proposal of the Home Rule Charter." Some leaders of this study were members Judy Schadt and Marie Cease. Judy served three terms as president of Warren LWV and eight years on the LWV state board. She said, "the LWV had been a prime mover in the home rule charter effort and had members on the study committee." She remembers how the LWV was also an advocate for implementation of Title IX in the school district. A grant from the state LWV provided a study for opportunities and support for girls in the local vocational-technical educaiton system. Judy noted the league was a cofounder of the Warren Regional Partnership. She stated the most meaningful and respected event in local elections is the candidate forums that were one time televised with the cooperation of the school district, but now are broadcast with the cooperation of KIBCO Warren's radio station. Judy is currently a member of the Greater Pittsburgh LWV. She states,