Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sussex County artist garners prizes for oil paintings

Artist Kathi Sojka of Glenwood recently attended the “Homecoming Hues” Painting Retreat at North Bend State Park in Cairo, West Virginia. She took first place for her oil still life “Peaches and Grapes” and Best of Show for her oil landscape “Spring Awakening.”

Sojka works in several mediums, including pen and ink, acrylics, watercolor and oil. Her paintings have been accepted for juried shows, such as the Ringwood Manor Association of the Arts and the Ridgewood Art Association show. Her Christmas card design was chosen for the ABF Freight Company Christmas card and the painting was featured on the cover of the company’s “By-Lines” magazine.

Sojka is a member of the Ridgewood Art Institute and the Sussex County Arts Council. She teaches ongoing classes in different mediums at the A.C. Moore location in Parsippany and in her home, by appointment.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Teamsters Sponsor Voter Hotline on Election Day to Combat Voting Malfeasance

Hotline Setup to Report Voting Irregularities, Intimidation or Request Assistance

For the November 2006 elections, the Teamsters Union is launching a national voter hotline to assist members with problems or questions they may encounter on Election Day. Voters can call the toll-free number 1-877-4IBTNOW (1-877-442-8669) to report voting irregularities, intimidation or request assistance. The service will be available in English and Spanish.

Voting malfeasance has plagued recent elections in many states. Disturbing occurrences included broken voting machines, uncertainty over polling places, voting locations not opening or closing as scheduled, poorly trained election workers, not enough translated materials and registered voters not being listed.

The Teamsters belong to the MyVote1 Consortium and the union's hotline is being established in conjunction with the consortium's efforts. The consortium consists of a broad and nonpartisan group of policy and grassroots organizations. Each member has committed to assist voters and improve our electoral system. On Election Day, the MyVote1 Consortium will track voter complaints so that problem "hot spots" can be addressed in real-time.

"With the future direction of our country at stake, no one can overstate the importance of the upcoming elections," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. "That is why we have taken measures, like setting up a voter hotline, to ensure that members are able to exercise their rights regardless of possible intentional obstacles and inadvertent errors."

The 2006 elections will be hotly contested with all 435 House seats up for vote. In the Senate, races are being held for 33 seats. At the state level, 7,382 legislative seats (83 percent) are in play. Elections for governor will take place in 36 states.

A recent Government Accountability Office study revealed that in 2004 election officials were overwhelmed by strong get-out-the-vote drives. Most voting lists failed to be ready in time for the elections. In addition, polling locations struggled to manage heavy early turnout and officials unequally applied new federal voter identification requirements. According to many news reports these problems and many more persist and will likely arise this year.

"The Teamsters stand ready to vigilantly defend the fundamental democratic principle that each person's vote should count," Hoffa said.