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Annual Meeting

AFFEW plans to hold the 2014 annual meeting on Thursday October17th.

There will be a report of activities and election of members to the 2015 Board.   Hors d'oeuvres will be provided, along with informal access to the board members.


5:30 Social Time

6:00 Appetizers

6:45 Formal Meeting

7:00 Speaker


The speaker will be:

Tanya Cabala


Topic:  Protecting Local Water Resources, Strategies for Success.

Tanya Cabala is a freelance consultant, working primarily for environmental interest groups and agencies in the Great Lakes region. In 1989, her passion for protecting the environment was ignited and she began a grassroots citizen’s environmental movement in her hometown to focus attention on the community’s legacy of industrial pollution. By 1991, her full-time volunteer work led her to a position with the Lake Michigan Federation (now the Alliance for the Great Lakes), where she opened the group’s first office in Michigan and served as Michigan Director, Associate Director, and the Land Conservation Program Manager during her 14-year tenure. In acknowledging her leaving the organization in 2005, the Muskegon Chronicle called her, “one of West Michigan’s best known and most influential environmentalists” and credited her with shutting down illegal sand dune mining activities, spurring the cleanup of an area lake, and helping to ban oil and gas drilling under the Great Lakes.

Cabala spearheaded the establishment of advisory councils, still viable today, to oversee cleanups of White and Muskegon Lakes, two of forty-three Areas of Concern specially designated under an agreement between the U.S. and Canada. She served on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s stakeholder group, the Lake Michigan Forum, was an inaugural member of the Statewide Public Advisory Council on Michigan’s Areas of Concern and the founding Chair of the White Lake Public Advisory Council. She was also instrumental in launching the White River Watershed Partnership as part of her work at the Federation.

Through her outreach and writing, Cabala’s primary focus has been to motivate and engage people in efforts to protect what matters most to them in their communities – lakes, rivers, wetlands, dunes – and to view their own actions as a crucial part of a larger and necessary effort. She is a columnist for the White Lake Beacon, a frequent public speaker and resides in Whitehall, Michigan in her childhood home. She is an avid reader and enjoys writing, history, hiking in the state’s splendid parks, and kayaking area lakes and rivers.


Speaker: Water, effective advocacy important


Tanya Cabala is perhaps best known in the Great Lakes environmental community as the former state director for what was once called the Lake Michigan Federation and now is known as the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

In the White Lake area of Muskegon County, she’s also a Whitehall city councilor and one of the organizers of a group that for more than 20 years advocated and worked for cleanup of contamination sites on White Lake.  Later this month, the group will dissolve after a celebration that the contamination is gone and White Lake is coming off the list of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies areas of concern.

“It’s a big deal,” she said.

Thursday night at Jamesport Brewing during the local environmental group AFFEW’s annual meeting, Cabala, now principal of Great Lakes Consulting, shared her views on the importance of protecting water and, when possible, working to clean polluted sites.

She complimented AFFEW, now in its 24th year, for its longevity saying many local environmental groups don’t last that long, sometimes started in reaction to an issue people are concerned about.

“I applaud you for your work and longevity,” she said.  “You’ve been around a long time and you know what you’re doing.”

Whether AFFEW members know it or not, she said, AFFEW is part of the community’s fabric now.  She urged those attending to protect water resources.  She said water is easily polluted, but it takes time to clean water resources once contaminated.

“Water is the center of all issues,” she said.  “It is so essential to the economy, to recreation.”

She said it even has a spiritual component in many people’s lives.

One of the biggest threats to water in the region currently is presented by issues of runoff, which she said is still poorly regulated.  She’s been active in an effort to stop the use of coal tar seal coat on parking lots and driveways because of the pollutants that runoff from the sealant that harm water.

She said asphalt based sealants are in the same price range, work as well, and don’t present he same environmental or health concerns that coal tar based sealants do.  She said they are a reasonable option to be considered by those who use or seal pavement.

The issue also served as an illustration of how she said groups can more effectively advocate.

“Be an expert,” she said.  Learn the topic — both or all sides of it.  “Be accurate.  Be credible.  Know your stuff.”

She also said people need to be persistent and be willing to come at issues in different ways and adjust when options are removed or blocked.

“People have more power than you think,” she said.  Being a squeaky wheel that is knowledgeable and passionate on an issue can help that issue and concern be addressed even by those who initially disagree with or discount its importance.

“Look at the long term.  Don’t burn bridges,” she said, explaining she now works with some of the same people in city government she once battled and admittedly treated poorly early on.  Don’t treat officials poorly, she said.

Be non-partisan.  Use your politicians and appreciate those who help you, Cabala also suggested.


One of AFFEW’s signature programs is its battery recycling effort in Mason County.

AFFEW President Julia Johnson (sic Chambers) and battery project chair Heidi Moloney reported 837 pounds of household batteries were recycled in the past year.  It costs AFFEW about 57 cents a pound to recycle the batteries through Battery Solutions in Howell.  All components are recycled.  Donations to help cover the costs are appreciated, it was noted.

During elections four incumbents — Moloney, John Palko, Jim Clark and Brenda Begnoche were re-elected— and Lorrie Dykstra was elected to fill a seat being vacated by Jill Budzynski, who will become the group’s volunteer coordinator.   PO Box 177; Ludington, MI 49431