Making Democracy Work

Because democracy is not a spectator sport

The League of Women Voters of Sudbury is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. We influence public policy through education and advocacy.

LWV Presents River Steward Award to Ann Kirk

Ann Kirk was honored as a River Steward on Friday, June 22 at the kick-off celebration for this year's weekend long Riverfest celebration. Ann became frustrated with the amount of water chestnut clogging Stearns Mill Pond in Sudbury. So three years ago she organized her neighbors who live near the pond to pull the weeds by hand. Ann has continued to rally support for water chestnut removal on the pond, both through pulling in the shallow water and employing a mechanical harvester in the deeper areas. In this short time, Ann has done more than just turn the surface of the pond from green to blue. She has built a community of conservationists willing to put time and sweat into cleaning up the pond. The now annual event is part of Riverfest this year. Ann was nominated for the award by the Hop Brook Protection Association. The River Steward Award is presented by the League of Women of Women Voters and the River Stewardship Council to people and organizations who have contributed to the health of the watershed of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers.

Sudbury Wins 2014 LWV Civics Bee

This year's Civics Bee came down to the final question, and Sudbury squeaked out a win over Weston with a correct answer about the Massachusetts Constitution.

Teams from Sudbury, Wayland and Weston competed in the sixth annual League of Women Voters Civics Bee Sunday afternoon. The Civics Bee is sponsored by the Leagues in each of the three towns.

The three teams were tied after the first round of questions, and Weston pulled ahead with a perfect score in the second round. The scores remained close going into the final round, with Weston still leading.

The scorekeepers noted the result came down to the very last question, which was worth 15 points. Sudbury answered correctly, to win by only five points. The final tally was Sudbury, 620; Weston, 615; and Wayland, 555. Sudbury has won the Bee for the past four years; Weston and Wayland have each won once.

Susan Abrams, co-president of the Sudbury League, commented on the difficulty of the Bee questions, and reminded all three teams their knowledge of national and state government and the history of their towns is "far ahead of most people's."

Each town's team was made up of students from the middle school and the high school and adults. Constance Roberts, a Lincoln-Sudbury high school student, laughed after the victory and said, "It's nice to beat your superintendent-principal." Bella Wong, the Lincoln-Sudbury superintendent-principal, lives in Weston and was an adult member of the Weston team.

Andrew George, a middle school student on Sudbury's team, gave credit to Mary Mahoney, a teacher at Curtis who coaches the team. "She was the best coach ever."

As the teams got in some final preparation before the program started, Maxwell Seferian, a Wayland High School student, noted AP government class work all year helped prepare the high school students, with each concentrating on particular sections of material that the Bee covers. Laura Greenberg, a Weston High School student, said she volunteered for the Weston team "because I thought it would be fun and I'm really into history."

Richard Albert, assistant professor at Boston College Law School, a specialist in constitutional law, democratic theory and comparative constitutional law, again served as judge for the Bee, and Jo-Ann Berry of the Acton Area League was Bee Master, or moderator.

Audience members were heard commenting how hard the questions were and how knowledgeable the teams had to be. Questions covered subjects from town history and voting issues to state government and the federal government. In a group project during the Bee, the teams had to match responsibilities and tasks with the appropriate state government official. Among the questions the teams answered correctly, the Sudbury team knew how many minutemen the town sent to the April 19, 1775 battle in Concord--between 151 and 350, and one of the states which do not automatically award all their Electoral College votes to the winner in the state--Maine and Nebraska. The Weston team knew that U.S. Senators must be 30 years old and that the Hook and Hastings factory which operated in Weston between 1889 and 1935 produced organs. The Wayland team, decked out in matching 375th anniversary t-shirts, knew that the town, then combined with Sudbury, was the first to have an open town meeting and that the third person in the line of succession to the President, after the Vice President and the Speaker of the House, is the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

The Bee will be shown soon on the cable television stations in each town, and can also be viewed online at http://www.sudburytv.org.

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