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Executive Committee Elections

Meet the Candidates

Cumberland Chapter

Meet our (2014) Chapter ExCom Candidates!

+ View our Chapter ExCom election slate and candidate biographies here

Candidate Slate

Cara Cooper
Mary Cupp
Mary Miller
Gene Nettles

Candidate Biographies

Cara Cooper (Lexington)

Cara is a graduate of Florida International University with a Masters degree in Environmental Studies. She began her adventure in environmental organizing after attending Power Shift 2009. After realizing her life’s passion she helped to found the Florida state student network, FL YES Coalition. She also became very involved with the Sierra Student Coalition where she served two years on their executive committee as the Trainings Committee Liaison.

After graduation Cara worked on the Power Vote 2012 Campaign with the Sierra Student Coalition in Florida where she helped to register voters and turn out the youth vote. In 2013 she joined the Student Environmental Action Coalition’s staff and moved to her birthplace of Kentucky to work with the amazing young people of the Commmonwealth and help Kentucky transition to a just, clean energy future! In her free time she enjoys cuddling with her kitties and chickens, hiking, live music, local beer and cooking delicious vegan food for her friends.

Mary Cupp (Owensboro)

Mary is a member of the Pennyrile Group. For the past year she has served in the appointed, non-voting position of Secretary to the Chapter Executive Committee. She has long had a passion for spending time in the outdoors among the rocks, plants, animals and celestial bodies of the natural world and is committed to the ideals that are the foundation of the Sierra Club motto to “explore, enjoy and protect the planet”.

Although Mary is a Kentucky native, she spent her career in other regions of the United States but chose to return to residence in Kentucky upon retirement. She is honored to be part of such a dynamic and hard working group of citizens who form the Cumberland Chapter. “Sierra Club’s call to protect the planet begins in our own backyard and seems never-ending. But we, who so enjoy the exploration and communion with our great natural environment, have no greater calling.”

Mary Miller (Wilmore)

Mary moved to Kentucky with her family eight years ago and since that time Sierra Club has been an important part of their lives. They took part in outings, attended Annual Meetings and Activist Weekends, as well as local events such as the book discussion group and movie nights. They felt very much at home with the activities offered, the environmental issues being highlighted and the educational programs. One project that particularly interested her was the reforestation of old mountaintop removal sites under the direction of Patrick Angel. For six years, with the help of Nancy Bonhaus and Jerry Redden, she recruited Sierra Club members as well as others from the community to plant trees in Letcher, Lawrence and Pike Counties. During those years they planted thousands of trees and experienced great camaraderie as they slept on the floors of churches or bunk beds at Camp Webb and ate simple meals together.

In addition to being a member of Sierra Club, Mary serves on the board of Kentucky River Watershed Watch, volunteers at Salato with the “landscaping crew” and is active locally in Wilmore as the Arbor Day Chairperson.

The last few years Mary has not been as active in Sierra Club because her husband was not well and he passed away a few months ago. But at this time she would consider it a privilege to serve on the Chapter Executive Committee. She is impressed with Sierra Club members who give much of their time to make Kentucky, the country and the world environmentally healthier and would like to devote more of her time to help in that endeavor.

Gene Nettles (Hickman)

Gene is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, retired, who went to war in Southeast Asia where the destruction of man and the environment caused untold consternation. The consequences of shell holes from the Laotian border to the South China Sea remind Gene of the battle for the future waged by environmentalists on behalf of mankind and the world around us.

Gene admits that he was late to enter this fracas until an issue with hog barns seemed to be outside his door, and Sierra Club moved in to assist. From this reluctant entry, his interest was piqued. He and his wife Nancy joined the Great Rivers Group and became members of the Group Excom. Gene has written several thought-provoking articles for “The Cumberland” and has been published in several on-line and print media outlets. He has published both straightforward and “tongue-in-cheek” political opinions on local and statewide issues.

Gene wants to represent the Great Rivers Group on the Chapter Executive Committee and serve as a voice for all the smaller groups in the Cumberland Chapter.

Groups

Meet the Group Candidates!

+ Bluegrass Group

Candidate Slate

Diane Spurlock
Margaret Plarr
Jay Taylor
Dick Shore

Candidate Biographies

Diane Spurlock

I am a native of Lexington, grew up here and went to UK studying math, a long time ago. Over the years my concern for and love for our outdoors and wilderness has grown and grown. I have become quite a conservationist, eschewing airconditioning in my home and composting everything in sight. Now suddenly I am a grandmother and I am even more concerned about the destruction of our wild lands, our environment and our climate. An individual's actions are important but it takes people working together to accomplish great things. Even though I feel hardly qualified, I would be honored to serve on the Executive Committee.

Margaret Plarr

My involvement began with the Sierra Club through the outings program and through attending many of the programs offered in the monthly General Meetings. The experiences I've had hiking, camping and boating have been fun and memorable. I especially loved the slideshows and presentations of travel experiences from other members. In the past ten years of attending Sierra Club functions, I have always met warm, friendly and interesting people. Because of these experiences, belonging to the Sierra Club has been a rewarding experience and I would like to return this gift. Environmental issues are crucial to the goals of the Sierra Club and I hope I may contribute to this cause as well as encourage others to share what the Sierra Club has to offer.


Jay Taylor

I'm Jay Taylor, current Chair of the Bluegrass Group. My main focus on the environment is to try to help make a future for my children. Here in Kentucky the future is not an important part of the conversation. Our state leaders just don't talk about what lies ahead. Involvement with the Sierra Club is an opportunity to make the future a part of the what will be discussed. I would like to be a part of that.

Dick Shore

First a few words of my Sierra Club background. I have been a Life member of Sierra since 1993; I served on the Chapter Executive committee; I lobbied the State Senate three terms for the Kentucky Conservation Committee; and I have led hikes. My professional background includes a PhD in biology, an MBA and certification as Quality Engineer, teaching at Universities in MO and OH, 17 years teaching Poisonous and Edible Wild Plants for UoL, creating a Hazardous Materials Re-use center at Ft Knox, creating a fleet of 350 non-gasoline vehicles, and 26 years as “The John Muir in Kentucky”. I think Sierra Club is a very important part of our state; it is a very important part of my life. I have been invited to take my turn helping the BlueGrass Group be an effective voice and agent for restoring and protecting the earth, air, and waters, and the critters there-in, especially here where I, my wife, my kids and their kids all now live. With your help we can do just that.
+ Great Rivers Group

Candidate Slate

George Kipphut
Ray Smith
Cheryl Toth

Candidate Biographies

George Kipphut

I have been member of the Sierra Club for four years and I have served two years as a member of the Executive Committee of the Great Rivers Group and would welcome the opportunity to serve for another two years. I have very much enjoyed meeting and working with other Sierra Club members at both the group and chapter levels. I am presently chairing the program committee for the Cumberland Chapter’s 2015 Activist Weekend.

Ray Smith

The local Sierra Club group gives me a chance to participate more directly than most of the other environmental entities I support. I am so appreciative of the Great Rivers Group and want to get to know its workings inside and out. The members have great environmental awareness and intelligence. I have comfort in the company of the members and simply want to do my part. Besides the Sierra Club, I also support KY Waterways Alliance, Four Rivers Watershed Watch, The Nature Conservancy, Arbor Day Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, and Defenders of Wildlife. I have a BS in Wildlife Biology from Murray State and an MS from Murray State in management of technology (emphasis in environmental remediation). I have worked for the KY State Dept of Fish & Wildlife Resources, Fisheries Division, and have worked in quality assurance in the food industry. I presently am a health environmentalist with the local health dept. Thank you so much for your consideration.

Cheryl Toth

No statement.
+ Louisville Group

Candidate Slate

Karen Chatham
Joy Henry
Geoffrey Hobin
Wallace McMullen

Candidate Biographies

Karen Chatham

I have been a member of the Sierra Club for over 20 years, always with a desire to be more involved. Jacques Cousteau said, “People protect what they love.” Wildlife and nature are two things I have always been passionate about.

I have lived and traveled all over this great country of ours enjoying the many aspects of its beauty. We have a lot to lose if we don’t protect our land and our environment. I am personally grateful for all the Sierra Club does to promote appreciation for our natural resources and affect policies that protect them. I am running for a position on the executive board so that I might make a contribution to this effort


Joy Henry

I am interested in serving on the Louisville Sierra Club Executive Committee because I feel less than confident that our politicians are going to take appropriate action to protect the earth without citizens leading the way. For the past seven years I have been involved with the local Group and plan to continue supporting its efforts to effect change, both locally and beyond. As an avid kayaker, protecting our streams and waterways is of vital interest to me. I am also particularly interested in getting young people outdoors more to enjoy and appreciate nature.


Geoffrey Hobin

Two years ago, while asking for your support of my candidacy, I expressed my wish that “by serving the Greater Louisville Group I might restore my sense of hope” for the future of our planet. My wish has been granted. Thanks to my wonderful colleagues on the Executive Committee I have learned to find a little bit of optimism in all the gloom. Together we have, through so many small and not so small efforts, raised awareness, educated, lobbied, and had fun doing it.

In this era of explosive population growth, when so much of our world is suffering from the symptoms of increasingly destructive resource extraction and consumption, is there a more important task before us all than to protect the health of our planet? If there is, I don’t know what it would be. I would be proud to continue to work with the ExCom and the Group as a whole to address that task for another two years.


Wallace McMullen

I have been interested in environmental issues most of my adult life, and have been an active Sierra Club member for twenty years. I am especially passionate about fighting global warming, promoting clean renewable energy, and conservation. I am currently on the Greater Louisville Group ExCom, the Louisville Groups representative on the Cumberland Chapter Executive Committee, and chair the Sierra Club’s Midwest New Energy Future Project. I am also serving as webmaster for the Greater Louisville Sierra Club’s website.

As Sierra Club members we face major challenges in our efforts to protect clean air, clean water, preserve the livability of the planet, protect wilderness, and combat urban sprawl. If elected I will strive to further the work of the Greater Louisville Sierra Club in pursuing these goals as well as recruiting more active members and fundraising. I will be honored to continue serving on the Executive Committee.

+ Mammoth Cave Group

Candidate Slate

Ron Whitmore
Tom Morris

Candidate Biographies

Ronald Whitmore

My wife (Susan) and I have been members of the Sierra Club since 1989. I am a retired pharmacist with BS degree in Pharmacy class of 1970, University of Ky. Most of my professional career has been in Hospital Pharmacy practice as pharmacy manager of Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset, Ky. My interest in environmental issues began after reading Carl Sagan's "Population, Resources & Environment", in the early 70's. The challenges today have not changed since the 70's, and seem to be even greater with the threat of climate change. With retirement, I have more time to devote to playing a more active role in the Sierra Club to addressing these issues.

Tom Morris

Tom Morris is a Bowling Green native who recently returned to his home town after a career in the computer industry in Columbia SC. Most recently, he was a software engineering manager with EMC Corporation, having responsibility for groups in Russia, China and the US. He has traveled extensively and developed a deep appreciation for the importance of nature and conservation. He is currently involved in efforts to preserve a family farm being threatened by highway expansion. He looks forward to contributing to the Sierra Club as a member of ExCom, and would appreciate your support.
+ NKY Group

Candidate Slate

Kim Luber
Rich Koster

Candidate Biographies

Kim Luber

Although my background in Economics, Commercial Real Estate Development and small business owner, is not the stereotypical Sierra Club hiker, Environmental activist, or “tree-hugger” background, I have found that it allows me the insight to balance the heartfelt issues of environmental stewardship with some of hard economic decisions the planet faces as population and global demands grow. Joining the Sierra Club for me was a way to “Think Global, Act Local”. Initially, I was active in the Northern Kentucky Group Conservation Committee helping with Filmfest and events such as Earth Day. Then I served as Communications chairperson working to keep our Group members informed of the actions and activities of the Group. Posting information in The Cumberland and the Convio are two of our most popular resources. Most recently, I have served 2010-2013 as Chairperson for the Northern Kentucky Group and 2014 as a member of the Chapter Ex-Com. Without hesitation I would say that the Northern Kentucky Group is one of the most dynamic and hard-working group of individuals I have had the privilege of working with. It is because of this enthusiasm and inspiration that I am running to serve on the Group ExCom. I have seen the commitment and hard work of the Chapter Ex-Com and I would hope that I could contribute to the work and effort of the Chapter. I have taken part in the Sierra Club Leadership Program and I am a member of the Chapter Fundraising group. The knowledge and tools gained from these experiences will allow me to make meaningful contributions to the Chapter.


Rich Koster

I am running for a second term on the NKY Ex-Com because I love working with the all the NKY leaders. What a super trouper group! I am also enjoying my chapter involvement and I hope to be more active with that connection the coming two years. I actually joined the SC way back in college and stayed a member until I became a truck driver in 1993. I joined again after 10 years “on the road”, and when I became Executive Director of the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council. During that time I met regularly with the West Michigan Ex-Com and we worked closely together on the Kalamazoo River PCB Superfund Site. With the KRWC I also had the privilege of working closely with state DNR and DEQ leaders, and the Great Lakes Commission

+ Pennyrile Group

Candidate Slate

Burl Hammons

Candidate Biographies

Burl Hammons

My name is Burl Hammons and I am running for a seat on the Pennyrile Group Executive Board.

I retired from the Teamsters after working 36 years in food processing. The last 6 years I worked directly for Teamsters Local 601 as a business agent administering collective bargaining agreements in California’s Sacramento Valley. I also served as an assistant to the California Cannery Council.

During my time at the Union I co-hosted “The Labor Show” on 107.1 L.P. FM on Oroville Community Radio where I sat on the Executive Board of Bird Street Media Project.

In 2011 my wife, Kathy, and I both retired and moved to Owensboro in November 2011 to be with our son and grandchildren. My hope is that through the Sierra Club I can work to leave a better world for my grandchildren.

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