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Biographical Sketches
of the
Marcellus Shale Study Committee

2008-2009 League of Women Voters of Indiana County


Vera Bonnet spent 17 years as the owner operator of what grew to be a million dollar Pittsburgh printing business. After selling the business in 1999, she returned to the university, receiving an MA in Adult and Community Education from IUP. She is ABD in the area of Administrative and Leadership Studies, also from IUP. Vera has had a strong interest in social justice and diversity issues. Having participated in the National Coalition Building Institute at Seton Hill College, she has co-led numerous workshops on diversity on college campuses and in the community. She served as Executive Director of the Indiana Arts Council for the past 2½ years, until her retirement this year.

Stephanie Prohl Chandler joined the LWV of Indiana County in 2007, much to the delight of her mother, an active veteran League member in New York. She enjoys serving the local League as a board member, designing presentation posters for League activities, and taking part in environment-related study committees.  She is employed as a professional artisan bread baker and aspires to be a partner in a baker-owned shop.

Peggy Clark lost her drinking water supply in 1984 to underground coal mining. After the mining company said it would supply an underground tank and keep it filled for six weeks, she and others formed Concerned About Water Loss due to Mining (CAWLM). Peggy testified in Harrisburg and before the Office of Surface Mining in Washington, D.C. The result is coal and gas operators are presumed at fault if home owners lose water supplies that are within 500 feet of the work site. The law has since been amended to 1000 feet.

JoAnne Ferraro retired from a position in Accounts Receivable at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in January 2000. Since that time, she has been a member of the Pennsylvania Senior Environmental Corp that monitors local streams.  She has participated in numerous training programs conducted by DEP and is a member of numerous environmental groups as well as the Board of the LWV of Indiana County. 

Sherene Hess, a Penn State graduate in Environmental Resource Management, has served as president of the League of Women Voters of Indiana County since 2001.  Outside the LWV, she is the coordinator for Penns Corner Resource Conservation and Development Area, a program of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. In this capacity, Sherene works to bringing together agencies within a nine county area to achieve projects and programs that will protect air, land, and water quality and improve the health and well being of communities. Prior to her current position, she was project director of the Water Resources Education Network (WREN), a program of the LWV-PA Citizen Education Fund.  She also has experience as the executive director of the Indiana County Solid Waste Authority.

Pepita Jimenez-Jacobs joined the League because of its policy of knowledge-based advocacy to raise civic consciousness.  She attended Board meetings for years as a non-Board member and after gaining American citizenship continued to attend as a Board member. She is the League's representative to the boards of various county human service agencies. She has been part of League studies in day care, universal health care, and the environment. Before retiring in 1986, she taught psychology at Marygrove College in Detroit and IUP. She is an emeritus member of the Society for Research in Child Development.

Susan McClure is a charter member of the LWVIC.  Her experience includes LWVIC Voter editor as well as chairing the Agriculture and Immigration Studies.  She has been active in other LWVIC services including Candidates Night and Voter Education, fund raising, and the nominations committees. Susan retired from IUP’s English department in 2001 and currently chairs the Indiana Borough Planning Commission.  As a Master Gardner, she gardens organically both at home in Pennsylvania and at her cottage in Michigan.

Clarice Reber is a charter member of the League of Women Voters of Indiana County where her first study portfolio was local taxes. Recently she retired as Assistant Professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she served as Department Chairperson of the Department of Special Education and Director of the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. Clarice actively participates in the local LWV where she serves on the Board of Directors and is studying environmental issues.

Lori Rittle, a charter member of the LWVIC, has focused on environmental issues including Land Use, Air Quality, and Water Quality studies.  She participated in the "Coal: The Burning Study" for the LWVPA and created an audiovisual program advocating recycling within the county's solid waste management plan.  She serves on the Indiana County Solid Waste Advisory Committee.  A retired clinical social worker, Lori volunteers for the Red Cross as a disaster mental health volunteer.

Cindy Rogers worked as a special education teacher for over 25 years and 10 years as a staff development specialist, training others in issues related to people who have developmental disabilities. She has written articles in local newsletters on wild plants and has led wild flower walks for over 15 years in the community. She retired in 2008 and is pursuing her interests in the environment through work with the Evergreen Conservancy, the League of Women Voters, and other local groups.  She brings her background in teaching and research to the League for the work on Marcellus Shale.

Aida Shotts served as LWVIC president for six years and, as a Board member, has coordinated Candidates Night and Legislative Interviews for eleven years. She is a former high school business teacher and hails from Northcentral PA (Bradford County). In addition to her LWVIC contributions, she and her husband Bob volunteer for the Salvation Army.

Mary Beth Sweeney is a board member of the League of Women Voters of Indiana County and chair of the Marcellus Shale Study Committee.  In 2007 she retired as Coordinator of the Westmoreland County Community College Indiana Center and prior to that was the Adult Education Coordinator at Indiana County Technology Center.  From 1983 - 2003 she was a member of the Indiana Area School Board of Directors, serving as President from 1993 - 2003. 

Dreama Van Cise-Watta joined the LWVIC to participate in the local air quality study that reviewed air emissions from three local, coal burning, generating plants.  As a believer in stewardship of the earth, she is a member of her church's Green Committee. Dreama works full time as a home health nurse while pursuing a Master's Degree in Nursing at IUP.  She is also a Master Gardener.








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