Bay Village Chapter

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The Bay Village Chapter: Founded 1947

The League of Women Voters of Ohio was one of the first state Leagues founded in 1920. A local League is first established as “provisional”; once it has met membership and activity criteria, the state League grants a charter. In 1947, a provisional League was started in the Village of Bay, with Mrs. James J. Austin as president. The state charter followed in 1948. Mrs. Ervin Luecke was elected president and led the group on its first study, a city charter form of government for the village. Voters approved the charter on April 12, 1949, and the Village of Bay became the City of Bay Village.

According to the late George Serb, long-time League member and community historian, the first League candidates night was held in the Bay Community House in October 1948. Because of a heavy snowfall, the audience was sparse, and few candidates showed up. One who did come was Anthony Celebrezze, later Ohio State Senator, Mayor of Cleveland, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, and Judge in the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Over the years, the Bay LWV has faithfully observed local government bodies, studied a variety of public policy issues, and provided voter information on candidates and issues critical to the community. Although the names and faces have changed — along with its name — the Bay Village Chapter of the League of Women Voters Greater Cleveland is committed to continuing the tradition of education and advocacy begun in 1947.

For more information about the Bay Village Chapter, click here to send email.

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In memory of long-time Chapter Chair Joan Hirsh, the Bay Chapter is donating $10,000 for microphones in City Hall. This project began in a conversation with LWV member and Council President Paul Koomar about how Council could be more visible, open, and transparent to citizens. Under Mr. Koomar’s leadership, Council has since offered a series of town hall meetings covering timely and important topics. He also initiated posting meeting packets on the city’s website, so citizens can review many of the materials behind agenda items.

Microphones are the capstone. They will of course help people in the room hear better. But by making high-quality recordings possible, they will also allow people who cannot attend the meetings to hear what was said. Finally, voice-to-text software will enable efficient and complete production of minutes for all meetings. Council President Koomar, along with LWV member and Councilman Paul Vincent, who chairs the Services, Utilities and Equipment committee; Council Clerk Joan Kemper; and Bay’s LWV chapter treasurer Alex Dade are to be commended for their hard work. It was not a simple project, but for years to come, it will improve access to – and we hope involvement in – city government.

For a July 7, 2015 Westlake/Bay Village Observer article on this project, click here.

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Alyse Arko and Henri Adams

Each year, the Bay Chapter awards two Good Citizen scholarships to graduating seniors in memory of long-time members Maxine M. McQuate, who was a champion of students becoming involved in government, and George Serb, a peerless citizen activist. In 2014, Alyse Arko and Henri Adams were chosen for their superior qualities of character, scholarship, and leadership.

Alyse has received art, sportsmanship, academic excellence, and inspirational awards. She was Bay’s 2013 Homecoming Queen and has been an active community volunteer. Alyse’s leadership credentials include cross country, Team Africa, and National Honor Society. She will attend The Ohio State University. After college, she hopes to serve in the Peace Corps.

Henri will attend Northwestern University, where he will major in journalism and economics. He has served as vice-president of his class for the past four years, as well as president of the Youth Philanthropy Fellowship. His interests include writing, running, and traveling.

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As customary, the Bay Village Chapter sponsored a girls’ softball team for Summer 2014, ending the season at Malley’s. The girls aren’t quite ready for politics, but they loved the ice cream sundaes, and the parents were most appreciative of our support.