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Executive Committee Elections

Meet the Candidates

Cumberland Chapter

Meet our (2015) Chapter ExCom Candidates!

+ View our Chapter ExCom election slate and candidate biographies here

Candidate Slate

Ramesh Bhatt
Aloma Dew
Judy Lyons

Candidate Biographies

Ramesh Bhatt (Lexington)

As a 30-year member of Sierra Club, I have been a strong supporter of the Chapter's conservation efforts. In the early 2000's, I was a member of the Chapter Executive Committee and worked on issues related to power plants, energy and coal, including the Chapter's successful campaign to defeat the proposed Thoroughbred Generating Station. I currently serve as the Chapter Vice Chair on the Chapter ExCom. I believe that an important goal for our chapter is to reconnect with one of the original core missions of the Sierra Club, namely facilitating responsible enjoyment of the outdoors.

Aloma Dew (Owensboro)

I worked as a national Sierra Club organizer for 13 years. I organized the Green River Watershed Watch as part of that job, started and coordinated the Healthy Foods, Local Farms Conference for 15 years, and began Tours de Stench as part of the CAFO campaign. I presently serve as program coordinator for the Pennyrile Group and on the Chapter Water Committee. I serve on the executive committee of Watershed Watch in Kentucky and on the board of the Commonwealth Policy Institute. I served four terms on the Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission, most of that as Chair, and as Chair of the Kentucky Commission on Women for 5 years. With my husband Lee, I am co-chair of the Daviess County Bicentennial Committee, appointed by the County Judge Executive.

I taught 20 plus years as adjunct lecturer in history at Kentucky Wesleyan College and before that, taught high school history, English and journalism in Michigan and Kentucky. I am co-author of "Owensboro - The City on the Yellow Banks" and contributor and co-editor of a new history, "Daviess County Kentucky...Celebrating Our Heritage".

I bring experience in organizing, writing, public speaking and knowledge of Western Kentucky.

Judy Lyons (Louisville)

I am currently in my second year as Chapter Chair and am seeking another term on the ExCom in order to recruit and support my replacement in his/her transition into this fulfilling but challenging position.

I am a native Kentuckian, back in the state for the last 23 years, after 20 years as a human services state employee in Florida. I was Executive Director of non-profit Bridgehaven Mental Health Services in Louisville for 10 years until retirement. I became more actively involved with Sierra Club after my husband's death, becoming an outings leader (spring wildflowers are my passion!), helping with the Healthy Foods, Local Farms Conference for several years,co-hosting the Louisville Group's Social Dinners and joining the Chapter ExCom in 2012.

Climate action, renewable energy, clean water and air are all critical to our quality of life, and I believe in all parts of Sierra Club's "explore, enjoy and protect" motto. As a group, we Sierrans make a difference, politically, through litigation and civil action, as well as by initiating people to the glories of the great outdoors.. I'm proud to be involved with the forces of good!

Groups

Meet the Group Candidates!

+ Bluegrass Group

Candidate Slate

Judith Humble
Terry Clark
Donna DePenning

Candidate Biographies

Judith Humble

I believe that the protection of our environment, our wildlife, and the prevention of Climate Change, are the most critical issues facing humanity at this time. It is clear that if we do not act swiftly to protect these precious and irreplaceable resources, our children and grandchildren will be left to deal with the far-reaching consequences. I have made the personal decision to become an activist in these causes, and I joined the Sierra Club because this organization has been the most effective champion of our natural world.

It is my belief that we can all be activists, and that all of our choices are important at this time, whether they make an impact at the personal level or on the broader stage. In my year as Program Chair for the Bluegrass Chapter of the Sierra Club, I have attempted to invite speakers who are are actively making a difference, both as individuals and as members of organizations fully dedicated to the cause of conservation. Collectively, we have had an inspiring year of programs, highlighting the excellent work that is being conducted on many fronts.

If I am elected to a second term, I intend to continue supporting programs that inform our members about key environmental issues, and offer opportunities to collaborate with others who are doing this crucial work. It is my eventual goal to facilitate an effective working alliance with all of the environmentally focused organizations in our community.

Terry Clark

I am a retired Chief of Social Work for the Lexington VA Medical Center and an US Army veteran. I have been active in the Boy Scouts for many years. My hobbies are snow skiing, sailing, hiking and motorcycling. I have one son who is a lieutenant in the US Coast Guard and an avid backpacker/mountain climber. I have been involved with the ICO for a number of years and currently serve as treasurer. I am also on the board of directors of the Foundation for Affordable Living.

I have been a member of the Sierra Club for several years and have an extreme interest in what Sierra Club supports. I believe that we have an obligation to show to the youth what the outdoors can do for them as well as what they can do for the outdoors (environment). Some of my most exciting moments is watching a young person, especially someone who hasn’t spent much time in the real outdoors, stop and listen to the sounds or begin to talk in a whisper, or splash in a creek or watch an insect or animal.

Other than be active with the ICO, I have not been very involved with the Sierra Club. I would like to change that and help by serving as an Ex Com member.


Donna DePenning

I have been a member of the Bluegrass Group for twenty-three years. During that time, I have held numerous offices. I am currently serving as treasurer for the group. I love our beautiful state and want to be a part of keeping it green. By serving as part of the Bluegrass Group’s Executive Committee, I can meet that objective plus get to work alongside people I admire and respect.
+ Great Rivers Group

Candidate Slate

Nancy Phillips
Oliver Muscio

Candidate Biographies

Nancy Phillips

Since I was a very young child, I have loved nature. My playgrounds were the fields and woods I roamed all day long. I memorized my paperback guide books: Trees, Flowers, and Birds by Golden Press. As an adult, it pains me no longer to hear the Bobwhite calling, no longer to see the Milkweed along the paths and roads, and to see the woods thick with Poison Ivy. I joined the Sierra Club to try to do something about the destruction of our environment. I love the people in my group and have gathered all kinds of information from the hikes and programs presented each month. In order to serve a cause that needs more volunteers and proponents, I would like to serve on the Excom for the Great Rivers Region.

Oliver Muscio

In my youth, my life on a farm, Boy Scouting, and recreation on the near-by Stanislaus River in California gave me an appreciation for nature and the environment. I see the Sierra Club as a key organization for the protection of our environment. In particular, I believe climate change/global warming to be a threat not only to our natural environment, but to people around the world, especially those living in second-world countries. It is our responsibility to do all that we can to reduce green-house gas emissions, and to mitigate the effects of the gasses already release. The efforts of the Sierra Club and its members to move away from a fossil-fuel economy are crucial to protecting our future. Promotion of alternative energy sources is essential. In addition to my interest in fighting global warming, I also appreciate the work of the Sierra Club in protecting our woodlands and water ways. Although much has been done in this area, our natural environment is still threatened. The Stanislaus River with its annual runs of Chinook salmon that I remember from my boyhood no longer exists as a wild river. I wish to work within the Sierra Club to help protect the environment for our heirs.
+ Louisville Group

Candidate Slate

Drew Foley
Jodie Goldberg
Becky Hunger
Nick Johnson

Candidate Biographies

Drew Foley

“Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” ― Chief Seattle

This quote may be worn by now, but it still encapsulates the essence of my belief. I love the mystery of Mother Earth and everything in her, including the non-human and human beings who emerged from and remain a part of her. So I am called to protect her.

I am ending my 6th year on the Louisville Group EXCOM, 4th as co-chair, but that is no virtue. Actually, just the opposite: Sierra Club is built on democracy, and, just like an ecosystem, the more diverse the membership and leadership, the stronger and more resilient the whole. Still, I will serve to the best of my ability again if elected, but will be happy to turn over the reins if not.


Jodie Goldberg

My interest in our environment began with an appreciation of nature instilled in childhood -- conservation and preservation were constant topics of family conversations and expectations. To become an activist, I became a life member of Sierra Club. I have served EXCOM previously, I regularly attend general group meetings, and I would proudly assist still more as possible. I have served community and church in many ways, held managerial positions in large public corporations, and graduated from Indiana University with two degrees. Now retired, I respectfully ask for your support and hope to earn your confidence.


Becky Hunger

I've been interested in the environment since I was a child. I didn't know it as the "environment" back then. I just knew I loved playing in the woods and creeks that ran through the small community where I grew up. I think this connection with nature is the key to establishing awareness and concern for the world around us. As an adult, my long association with the Sierra Club has provided a reliable link to like-minded people, causes and events that feed my love of and care for the natural world. Sierra Club fights the good fight for the environment and provides opportunities to enjoy nature. As a member of the EXCOM, I can offer energy and support for the many environmental issues that need addressed locally.


Nick Johnson

As my first term on the Greater Louisville Sierra Club EXCOM draws to a close, I recognize my feelings of gratitude for being given the opportunity to serve the group, my appreciation for the accomplishments we have achieved over the past two years, and my excitement for what the next two years hold! In the recent past, I have been involved in campus sustainability at DePauw University, the University of Louisville, and statewide through my involvement with the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition and the Kentucky Solar Energy Society. Presently, I strive to continue this journey by working with my great friends and peers at Sierra Club to represent the needs of the environment and our community’s relationship to it.

Some of the projects I am excited about in the near future include Sierra Club participation in the wonderful new Solar Over Louisville project, supporting green initiatives like sustainable and energy efficient mixed-income housing, and promoting and educating people about projects like the Louisville Food Port which can have huge positive social and environmental impacts on our community. Nevertheless, my primary area of concern remains global climate change and energy.

In Kentucky, that translates directly into focusing on coal and fighting against new pipelines and a fracked future. My vision for the Louisville Group is to see more student and youth involvement, and to continue strengthening the group’s work on the political challenges facing the environmental justice issues of coal, carbon, and climate change. All the while we will make sure we celebrate our success, enjoy the outdoors, and have a great time together along the way.

+ Mammoth Cave Group

Candidate Slate

Eleanor Bower
Stephanie Morris
John Van Ness
Eleanor Short

Candidate Biographies

Eleanor Bower

Eleanor B. has been a member of the Sierra Club since 2007 - according to her official membership card, but a life long member of environmental causes. If it has to do with the Earth or Mother Nature, Eleanor B. loves it and is interested in it. Eleanor B. is currently Chair of the Mammoth Cave Group in Bowling Green, and would like to continue to serve on the group Ex-Com. She currently teaches part time ELL at the Warren Co. Adult Education Center at SKYCTC in Bowling Green. Beside Nature in general, Eleanor’s top three passions go to trees, gardening, and reading. If elected, Eleanor B. will continue to do whatever she can to grow the group in Bowling Green and reach out to anyone who is passionate about the Earth and it’s well being.

Stephanie Morris

Stephanie Morris teaches part time at a community college, loves spending time outdoors, and enjoys being a member of the Mammoth Cave Group of the Sierra Club.

John Van Ness

John is married, his wife's name is Ginger. He has kids and grandchildren in Pa , Fla , KY , USVI. John is a Presbyterian. He graduated from Vanderbilt - C E , in 1954. He also attended Ga Tech - from 58-59. He served in the USMC 1954-58 ( Lt., artillery ). John had a career as a city planning consultant and urban renewal planner, including Director of urban renewal , planning and code enforcement - in Jacksonville FL, director of public housing and rental assistance - Jefferson Co , KY. He was also a National Assoc of Housing & Redevelopment Official for around 20 years. He retired in 1998, after which he has lived in Louisville,KY , Vinalhaven, ME ; Allen Co and Bowling Green ,KY

Eleanor Short

My name is Eleanor Short. I reside in Bowling Green. I have been an active member of the Mammoth Cave group of the Kentucky Cumberland Chapter of the Sierra Club for three years. After considerable thought and soul-searching, I have decided to express my interest in serving on the ExCom for our local group. Since participating in the Sierra Club, I have experienced opportunities to learn about our area, especially Lost River Cave, with whom we share a partnership. This led to volunteer experiences at the cave and a greater appreciation of the need to preserve our local karst system. Members of our group have led outings to Shanty Hollow Lake for canoeing, hiking, and cleanup. This has instilled a greater awareness of protecting our water systems, as well as the areas that surround them. Meetings have provided information about environmental issues not only affecting our area, but also in our commonwealth and nation. Most of all, I have the pleasure of knowing some of the most amazing, knowledgeable, caring group of people I have ever known. Hopefully, some lifelong friendships have been made. I hope by becoming an Ex Com member, I will be able to contribute my energy and interest in being a better steward for our environment, as well as making some pleasurable memories of this experience.
+ NKY Group

Candidate Slate

Jeff Hampton
Jerry Junker
Caitlin Sparks
Bill Thoeny

Candidate Biographies

Jeff Hampton

I have been a member of the NKY group since 2003 and have served much of that time on the ExCom. I have also served as Secretary to the ExCom since 2005 and have been chair of the political committee for several years. I have a Master of Arts in Education, a Rank I teaching certificate and I retired from the Covington school system in 2003 after 27 years of teaching. I am an active member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and enjoy reading history and playing guitar.


Jerry Junker

Through much of the 1990s I felt an increasing concern about the state of our environment. During this time, I followed with growing interest what I saw the Sierra Club in Kentucky doing. In 2001, a new river water quality monitoring program was launched by the Cumberland Chapter throughout the state, and I decided to step out and volunteer. Knowing no one, and with two very young children, I attended the first “Water Sentinels” training program in April of 2001.

I took my then 4-year old daughter with me on my water testing trips. She enjoyed the creek visit experiences. I enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow Sierra Club members, and I enjoyed the sense of accomplishing an important mission. Within about a year I was elected to the Northern Kentucky Group ExComm. I served for 6 years, and focused with others on trying to build up the identity and long-term stability of the Group.

Today the Northern Kentucky Group is flourishing. There are many exciting activities, and a strong sense of our mission to “Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet”. With almost 15 years of active membership in the Northern Kentucky Group, I would like to return to an ExComm leadership role to help the Group continue to grow.


Caitlin Sparks

Sparks has been an active and creative force on the N.Ky Group Ex-Comm since 2012. She has helped to raise funds and friends for conservation efforts and speaks up for clean energy and water to KY legislators. In March 2015, Caitlin stepped up as the group's Program Chair. In that role she is interested in expanding the group's minds and goals by inviting diverse and engaging speakers to the monthly meeting.

Caitlin's environmental and activist path began while living and working in Yellowstone National Park. Since then, she has been on a mission of her own conservation living and improving human-nature relationships through new media communication. She co-owns a production business, Numediacy, llc, and holds a BFA from NKU.


Bill Thoeny

I am interested in continuing my position on the Executive Committee of the Northern Kentucky Group of the Cumberland Chapter of the Sierra Club in order to stay involved with local environmental issues and to share my experience and knowledge of natural history and environmental science with other members of the group.

I am currently the Chairman of the Conservation Committee of the Northern Kentucky Group, and have been instrumental in establishing a Monarch butterfly garden at Goebel Park in Covington. I have participated as the naturalist on several nature outings, including evening Insect Hikes. I have assisted with the Sierra Club display booth at Earth Day and Salt Festival events promoting the campaign to eliminate the use of plastic grocery bags and distributing free milkweed seeds for establishing Monarch butterfly habitat.

I am on the Steering Committee of the Licking River Water Watch and have been involved with the stream sampling events.

I have a well-rounded view of environmental science and its importance to society. I’ve established a strong network of scientists and science educators throughout the area with whom I meet with regularly, which helps me to stay informed about ongoing science issues.

I am also an avid gardener and interested in conservation and protection of native plants and animals.

Thank you for your consideration.

William T. Thoeny, PhD
btthoeny@gmail.com

+ Pennyrile Group

Candidate Slate

Mary Cupp
Rick Fowler
James Mattingly
Amy Menze
Ben Taylor

Candidate Biographies

Mary Cupp

I am a candidate for the Pennyrile Group Executive Committee. I have served as the appointed membership chair of the Pennyrile Group for the past 3 years, served as the appointed Secretary to the Cumberland Chapter Executive Committee for two years and was elected as a voting member in January 2015. If elected to the Group Executive Committee my goals will be 1)Continue to provide excellent programs in the monthly meetings, 2)Increase the number of outings planned and sponsored by the Pennyrile Group, 3) Work to increase communication with all Pennyrile Group members and seek to find more avenues for active participation, 4 Educate the broader local community about the goals and work of the Sierra Club in our region.

Rick Fowler

My name is Rick Fowler and I am running for the Executive Committee of the Pennyrile Group. I have been on the Ex. Com. for 4 years and have spent 3 of those years as the Group Chair. I have recently become an outings leader and I am looking forward to some quality time outdoors with my Sierra Club friends. I am a retired high school math teacher with a masters degree and I am in good health.

James Mattingly

I would like to submit my bio for consideration for the Pennyrile Ex. Com. I have 2 years experience in water distribution and production and 25 years working in a coal fired power plant. I know that CO2 has reached 400 ppm and should not exceed 350 ppm, the planet is now experiencing warming due to human activities. That is why I joined the Sierra Club and why I support their goals. I have supported the Save Our Homes Neighborhood Alliance. Worked with a journalist to produce an article about SOHNA. Worked to stop Rockport, In.coal gasification and ammonia nitrate plant. I installed a heat pump and cut the power by 40% and solar panels to reduce my carbon footprint.

Amy Menze

As a single mom I feel it is important to do what I can to help my daughter and coming generations to get the future they deserve. I believe that Education is crucial and that the Sierra Club is vitally important to get where we want to go.

Ben Taylor

I am a 74-year old retired geneticist living on a farm in Daviess County. I served as Pennyrile Group Chair for 9 years. My primary environmental concerns are climate change and overpopulation.

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