Making Democracy Work

Activities and Presentations

Community presentations

Presentations and events for our members and for the public

Watch our What's New? and calendar pages for future Hot Topic lunches and other events; guests and community members are encouraged to attend!   Find photos of past events on Flickr.

New Castle County LWV: Recent Events

Newark Candidate Forums (April 2018)

Carole Walsh moderating April 3, 2018
Carole Walsh moderating on April 3, 2018

LWVNCC (the League of Women Voters of New Castle County) along with AAUW Newark (the American Association of University Women, Newark) and the Newark Senior Center sponsored a pair of candidate roundtable forums for Newark City Council in early April at the Newark Senior Center.

For these forums we tried a new, roundtable format called "Speed Dating With the Candidates." All five candidates from contested council districts 3 and 5 participated.

DISTRICT 5, MONDAY, APRIL 2, 7:00 pm - NEEL BARUA, JASON LAWHORN, LENA THAYER
Video for District 5 is below:     Thank you to videographer Angelo Alberti.

DISTRICT 3, TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 7:00 pm - RICKY NIETUBICZ, JEN WALLACE
Video for District 3 is below:     Thank you to videographer Dani Minutola (of Dani Gabrielle Films).


TED Discussions (2018)

The League of Women Voters of New Castle County (LWVNCC) continued its TED Discussion series on weekends during the first quarter of 2018. For this discussion series we simply view a pre-recorded inspirational video from TED.com and talk about it afterward.

The 2018 TED topics included the following (click the links to download the presentations)...

Complete Communities (February 2018)

James Wilson
James Wilson

Troy Mix
Troy Mix

The Hot Topic for February 2018 was "Prioritizing Investments in Delaware's Complete Communities". Speakers Troy Mix, policy scientist with the University of Delaware Institute for Public Administration, and James Wilson, executive director of Bike Delaware, spoke on the Complete Communities Enterprise District Act... its purpose, and an analysis of how and where it might work to support the development of less car dependent, and more bikeable, walkable and livable communities across Delaware.

Use these links to view the Complete Communities Presentation Summary or the handouts: James Wilson's Complete Communites (Introduction) or Troy Mix's presentation outline.

Following the Hot Topic lunch, David Dooley, planner with the Delaware Transit Corporation, discussed the rationale behind the planning of the changes in Rodney Square. Here is a summary of David Dooley's remarks.


Pretrial Reform (January 2018)

Kate Parker speaking at Jan 2018 Hot Topic
Kate Parker, JD, speaks at the LWVNCC
January 2018 Hot Topic luncheon

In January 2018, Kate Parker of the Delaware Center for Justice spoke to an audience of about 30 Leaguers and guests on the topic of Pretrial Reform. Pretrial justice encompasses bail reform along with other crucial "front-end" components of our criminal justice system.

Kate discussed the overall problem of cash-based pretrial detention, the recent passage of HB204 in Delaware which implemented a data-driven pretrial risk assessment tool and allows judges more non-cash bail options, and the next steps in the pretrial reform journey. Planned steps include submitting the first leg of an amendment to the Delaware Constitution along with enabling legislation, in April of this year.

audience at the Jan 2018 Hot Topic lunch
Leaguers and guests listen as Kate Parker speaks on pretrial reform

LWVNCC Past Events - 2017

Refugee Resettlement in Delaware (December 2017)

Lourena Gboeah
Lourena Gboeah, MSW

At the December 9 TED Discussion in Bear, special guest Lourena Gboeah of the Jewish Family Services of Delaware RISE program talked with us about refugee resettlement efforts in Delaware.

There are 65 million forcibly displaced persons worldwide today. 22 million are classified as refugees, including 6 million from Syria alone. A tiny fraction of these refugees (45,000 to 110,000... around one-half of one percent) are resettled in the United States each year.

In 2017, twenty-five refugees were resettled in Delaware, including families from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, the Ukraine and Eritrea (near Ethiopia). The refugees have many needs when they arrive, including low-cost furnished housing, job search assistance, social orientation, cell phones for communication, and sometimes ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. As the HIAS agency partner responsible for resettling refugees in Delware, Jewish Family Services of Delaware relies on community support to augment the $1000 per person government stipend to settle a refugee.

League members wishing to help with these efforts can go to the jfsdelaware.org/get-involved/rise-with-refugees web page to donate or to sign up for the JFS newsletter.

Two good online resources for information on the global refugee crisis are the UN Refugee Agency (UNHRC.org) and Refugee Council USA (RCUSA.org).


Clean Water (November 2017)

Clean Water - Delaware's Clear Choice

Chris Klarich
Delaware Nature Society Clean Water Campaign Manager Chris Klarich

The topic for the HOT TOPIC LUNCH on Monday, November 27, 2017 was "Clean Water: Delaware's Clear Choice," with speakers Chris Klarich and Laura Miller of the Delaware Nature Society.

Since the Delaware Nature Society, along with its partners, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and Center for the Inland Bays, launched the statewide "Clean Water: Delaware's Clear Choice" campaign in 2015, their Clean Water Alliance has grown to include dozens of Delaware companies and organizations.

Coralie Pryde
LWVNCC Environmental Co-Chair Coralie Pryde

Thanks to our environmental committee for arranging the talk, and Coralie Pryde for introducing the speakers.

Laura Miller
Delaware Nature Society Clean Water Outreach Specialist Laura Miller

Chris and Laura outlined the findings and recommendations of the Clean Water and Flood Abatement Task Force, which was established by the Delaware General Assembly in June 2015, co-chaired by Senator Bryan Townsend and Rep. Michael Mulrooney, and released its recommendations in April of this year. The recommendations include establishing a statewide per-business and per-household clean water fee, which would be implemented by draft legislation that has not yet been submitted. The task force report and draft legislation are available online at cleanwaterdelaware.org.

The Clean Water Alliance encourages all interested individuals to join the "Water Warriors" program, to volunteer for waterway cleanup activities and learn how to effectively engage with public officials about water quality issues.

Click to review the clean water presentation slides in PDF form.


TED Talk Discussion Series (2017)

Starting in October 2017, League of Women Voters of New Castle County (LWVNCC) presented a series of weekend and evening viewings of pre-recorded inspirational talks from TED.com on various social issues, followed by discussions of the ideas presented.

The 2017 TED topics included the following (click the links to download the discussion handouts)...

LWVNCC TEDsters at Bear Library, October 2017
TEDsters spreading ideas at Bear Library in October 2017


Social Media (October 2017)

What is Social Media, and how should we be using it to promote the League? social media icons For the October 2017 Hot Topic, Jennifer Wells of Jenn Wells Design led us through an overview of Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and explained how they are used. As a blogger and young entrepreneur, Jennifer maintains a strong social media presence for her own business, and graciously agreed to share her knowledge with us in two sessions at the Greene Turtle in Christiana.

Click here for the social media presentation slides.


Michelle Lauer
Michelle Lauer

ACE and Addiction (September 2017)

On Sept 25 & 26, psychiatric nurse Michelle Lauer spoke on the topic of trauma or adverse childhood events and their impact on substance use disorders. In her talk, Michelle explored types of addiction, and the relationship of Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) on future health behaviors.

Related resources: ACE and Resiliency score-sheets can be found on the acestoohigh.com website. These can be used as medical screening or individual self-awareness tools. Trauma Matters Delaware, whose mission is to support trauma-informed treatment approaches, invites community members to join their mailing list and/or ACES Connection group at www.acesconnection.com/g/delaware-aces-action.


Human Trafficking Forum (September 2017)

On Saturday September 9, LWVNCC helped to host a forum about Human Trafficking in Delaware at Peniel United Methodist Church in Newport. Program sponsors included the League of Women Voters of New Castle County (LWVNCC), American Association of University Women (AAUW), ZoŽ Ministries, Prison Ministries of Delaware, Inc.

Stop Human Trafficking Forum sponsors: AAUW, Zoe Ministries, Prison Ministries of Delaware




This inspiring and information-packed forum brought together representatives from law enforcement, the court system, government agencies, academia, and private non-profit groups to exchange ideas. All stressed the multifaceted nature of the problem and the importance of collaboration between the groups in all sectors to tackle it.

Panelists and speakers included...

  • Major Daniel Meadows, Delaware State Police
  • Detective Adrienne Owen, Delaware State Police
  • Commissioner Mary McDonough, Delaware Court of Common Pleas
  • Yolanda Schlabach, ZoŽ Ministries of Delaware
  • Nancy McGee, Coordinator, Sexual Assault Network of Delaware (SAND)
  • Johanna Bishop, Director, Behavioral Sciences Program, Wilmington University
  • Cheri Collins and Sandy Bowman, Meet Me at the Well Foundation
  • Fay Whittle, Prison Ministries of Delaware

Yolanda Schlabach gave an eye-opening video presentation at the forum. Yolanda's similar TEDx talk, filmed in October 2016 in Wilmington, titled Sex Trafficking in the U.S.: Young Lives, Insane Profit is a good primer for those who think sex trafficking doesn't happen in our state, or to people "like us."

Update Feb 2018: Yolanda now has a second TEDx talk, published in Dec 2017: Life After Trafficking: The Bridge From Trauma to Triumph.

Panelists also recommended the books Walking Prey by Holly Austin Smith, Nobody's Girl by Barbara Amaya, and The Slave Across the Street by Theresa Flores, as resources to help us understand how ordinary people become trapped into the world of human trafficking.

Community members who suspect a human trafficking situation (sex slavery or forced labor) should call the Polaris Project hotline at 1-888-3737-888 or email NHTRC@polarisproject.org.

Fight Like Your World Depends On It
Fight Like Your World Depends On It

An Inconvenient Sequel (August 2017)

August's Hot Topic was a viewing and informal discussion of Al Gore's climate change movie, "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017)".

LWVNCC will request this film along with the original "An Inconvenient Truth" (2007) to be purchased by the New Castle library system to support continued private screenings in our area; its run at the Brandywine Regal Cinemas is now over.

This August Hot Topic marked the start of a new practice of holding one session in the daytime, and an additional one the following evening, to make League events accessible to more members.


DE House Bill Header (sample) Legislative Update (June 2017)

June's Hot Topic lunch was held at Michaels Restaurant on Monday, June 26, 2017. LWV volunteer lobbyists and committee chairs discussed a wide range of Delaware bills covering government, health, elections, the environment, justice, etc.

The current status of all DE House and Senate bills for the 2017-2018 session is available at the legis.delaware.gov website.

Some of the more notable current Delaware bills are listed in this 2017 legislative summary.


Health Innovations Initiative (April 2017)

Julane Miller-Armbrister,
Julane Miller-Armbrister

Julane Miller-Armbrister, Executive Director of the Delaware Center for Health Innovation (DCHI) gave an informative talk for the April Hot Topic explaining how DCHI is seeking to transform Delaware's health care "system" so that it may better address patient and provider needs and improve population health while achieving greater value by reducing per capita costs of healthcare. A key facet of this transformational work is an increasing emphasis on person-centered care, which involves engaging consumers in defining goals for their health and healthcare so that they may access care accordingly.


Colored Conventions (March 2017)

D.Burgher
Denise Burgher gave a well-received talk on "Colored Conventions" on March 27, 2017. You may read Burgher's full talk here. The organization has a website at ColoredConventions.org. At the website you can follow the group's activities and keep abreast of their discoveries.


Two Great Armies and a Battle (Feb 2017)

Bill Conley
Bill Conley engaging the audience

In February, a lively group listened to a dramatic and exciting presentation on the topic "Delaware, 1777: Two Great Armies And A Battle." The speaker was Bill Conley, President of the W3R in Delaware (French army role at Yorktown) and coordinator of the preservation of Cooch's Bridge battlefield in Newark.

Conley provided colorful maps to show the routes taken by the British, French and American armies, and spoke about life in the army and therevolutionary war battles which took place in our area and surroundingstates. In addition, he shared W3R's work with the National ParkService in creating the new National Historic Trail - the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route - through Delaware.

Bill Conley and his family are raising funds for the Brian Conley Resiliency Center that they are creating in Middletown, DE, as part of their efforts with their Warriors Helping Warriors organization. The center will help military veterans adapt to post-service life.

Aging Out of Foster Care (Jan 2017)

Nicole Magnusson
At the January 2017 Hot Topic lunch, featured speaker Nicole E. Magnusson from the Delaware Attorney General's Office gave a talk titled "Aging Out: From the Nest to the Sky", focusing on programs that are assisting the young people as they age out of foster care. Click to view the foster care presentation highlights.

Bettering outcomes for youth who have experienced foster care has been one of Nicole's passions. She has been involved with the improvements of the child welfare system in Delaware since she was placed in foster care with her younger sibling during her senior year of high school at age 17.

Soon after entering care in 2007, Nicole became involved with the Delaware Youth Advisory Council, a statewide group comprised of current and former foster youth. She has been appointed to serve as a Commissioner to the Child Protection and Accountability Commission and she sits on the Board of Directors for Children and Families First.

LWVNCC Past Events - 2016

Human Trafficking (2016 - 2017)

After an initial Hot Topic Lunch presentation by DE Deputy Attorney General Abigail Layton on the topic in April 2016, LWVNCC co-sponsored Human Trafficking (Exploitation) Forums with panelists and speakers in June 2016 at First Presbyterian Church Education Building in Newark, in September 2016 at MOT Senior Center in Middletown, and in May 2017 at Masci Hall (St. Helena's RC Church) in Wilmington. See our Current Issues page for more on this ongoing problem in Delaware.

Opiate Use in Pregnancy (Nov 2016)

Nov 2015 Hot Topic Lunch At the Hot Topic lunch in November 2016, featured speaker Wendy M. Felts APRN, MSN, NNP-BC provided a reality check of the problem facing our state and the nation about addiction "My Baby Was NOT Born Addicted": Opiate Use in Pregnancy.

Wendy M. Felts
Wendy Felts

Felts is the Nurse Manager of the Pediatric Unit at Christiana Hospital, which houses the Continuing Care Nursery. This nursery allows for extended hospital stays for any newborn, including those being observed for or showing signs of substance withdrawal. She also covers as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner and manages the Maternal/Child per diem pool, also at Christiana.

Documentary Film Screenings (Oct 2016)

In October 2016 LWVNCC sponsored screenings of Brave New Films "Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA" at two locations in member's homes.

The film tells stories of how gun violence affects the lives of everyday Americans. It features personal stories from people across the country who have been affected by gun violence, including survivors and victims' families. The film looks into gun tragedies including unintentional shootings, domestic violence, suicides, mass shootings, and trafficking - and what we can do to put an end to this profit-driven crisis.

The goal of the film is to serve as a tool for individuals and organizations to use to create a dialogue and inspire action in their communities. It is completely free to screen.

2016 Candidate Forums

The League of Women Voters of New Castle County (LWVNCC) together with the Triangle Neighborhood Association sponsored a pre-primary forum for candidates for mayor of Wilmington, DE, in September 2016 at Salesianum High School in Wilmington. Approximately 200 people attended the debate. This was a particularly crowded race, with eight candidates in the Democratic primary.

Candidates for Newark City Council districts 3 and 5 fielded questions from residents of Newark at a candidates' forum in preparation for the city election April 12. About 75 people attended the event to learn the positions of the candidates on subjects concerning the city, including parking near Main Street businesses, the city budget, development, dealing with storm water and other issues.

The event was sponsored by the LWVNCC, AAUW, Newark; and the Newark Senior Center. It was moderated by Carole Walsh, committee co-chair with Judy Taggart; Cami Seward coordinated the volunteers who reviewed questions.

Transit-Friendly Development (Feb 2016)

On Monday, February 22nd, 2016, Heather Dunigan from WILMAPCO and James Wilson from Bike Delaware discussed transit-oriented development (TOD) in Delaware. Heather talked about the principles and practicalities of TOD, and James discussed a specific bill currently in our State Senate, SB 130, the Healthy and Transit-Friendly Development Act, a bill endorsed by the League.

Heather Dunigan
Both Heather's hand-out and Jame's hand-out are available to read in PDF format, and additional studies on transit-oriented development can be found on the "wilmapco.org" website.

James Wilson

During her 20 years with WILMAPCO, Principal Planner Heather Dunigan has been working to promote transportation choices through community planning.

James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware, a non-government, member-supported, non-profit advocacy organization whose mission is to make cycling a mainstream and family-friendly transportation option in Delaware.

Archive - 2012 thru 2015

Port Development Panel 2015

Facilitator John Flaherty poses a question to the panel in Nov 2015
A stimulating evening of presentations and questions and answers was enjoyed by about 85 people, on the topic, "Perspectives on Expansion of Delaware Ports." The panel took place in November, 2015.

Panelists included John Flaherty, President of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government (facilitator), Gene Bailey, Administrator of the Port of Wilmington (long-term contract), Dr. Mike Casson, Director of the University Center for Economic Development & International Trade (economic considerations), Dave Carter, President of the Delaware Audubon Society (environmental considerations, including Coastal Zone Act), Bob Byrd, lobbyist with the Byrd Group (Evraz site), Sen. Bob Marshall, Chair of the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee (current Port of Wilmington site), Kimoko Harris, Business Agent with ILA Local 1883 (RiverEdge site).

Presentation Notes for 2014 and 2015
Constitutional Conventions (YouTube video), Sept 2015 Widener Law Dean Rod Smolla

Clean Water Campaign, May 2015 Blaine Breeding of the Delaware Nature Society. (See an update on the Delaware's Clear Choice clean water campaign under the Nov 2017 hot topic.)

Libraries of the Future, April 2015 Sophia Hanson and Marlene Esposito

The Seamen's Center of Wilmington, Februrary 2015 Joan Lyons

Stop the Middle Class Squeeze (affordable housing), November 2014 NCC Councilman Penrose Hollins

The Coastal Zone Act, May 2014 Vic Singer. This presentation was followed up in September 2014 with an LWV tour of the coastal zone.

Choose Health Delaware, March 2014 Joann Hasse

Project Vote Smart, February 2014 Vicky Kleinman

Farm Forum, February 2014 Ruth Linton, Bill Powers and Sherry Kitto

Vision for New Castle County's Department of Land Use, January 2014 Eileen Fogarty

Summer Film Series 2014

The League of Women Voters of New Castle County partnered with Delaware Pacem in Terris and other non-profit groups to sponsor a summer film and discussion series entitled "Restoring Democracy and the Common Good."

  • 7/8/2014 Campaign finance reform post Citizens United and McCutcheon (2010)
  • 7/15/2014 Lobbyist influence and the revolving door Story of Citizens United v FEC (2010)
        and State of Conflict - North Carolina (Bill Moyers 2014)
  • 7/22/2014 March to End Corruption (Bill Moyers 2014)
        and Legalize Democracy (2014 by Move to Amend).
  • 7/29/2014 Gerrymandering and voter suppression Short videos from storyofamerica.org (2014)
  • 8/5/2014 Corporate ownership of media - Part 1 Shadows of Liberty (2014)
  • 8/12/2014 Corporate ownership of media - Part 2

Candidate Forums 2013 thru 2015

Forums for the Newark City Council candidates were held on March 26, 2014 and on March 24, 2015. The League of Women Voters of New Castle County co-sponsored and moderated the events, taking write-in questions from audience members.

The League would like to thank our volunteer videographers Ken Grant and Eden Shand for the full videos of these events.

Newark mayoral candidates
Candidates for Mayor of Newark prepare for the LWV Forum in 2013

A November 2013 Newark Mayoral Candidate Forum organized by the League of Women Voters was attended by nearly 400 people.

Candidates responded to a wide range of topics in questions posed by members of the audience. Transparency in government, budget, town and gown issues, and the proposed Data Center were included in the topics covered by the questions. The Wilmington News Journal, WHYY, and the Newark Post covered the event.

Sea Level Rise Awareness Week 2013

Sea Level Rise Awareness week [Sept 14-22, 2013] was supported by four well-attended League forums throughout the state. Each meeting had a showing of the Michael Oates short film on Delaware sea level rise and flooding was shown, followed by a presentation by Chad Tolman on the scientific basis for sea level rise.

Panel members at Southbridge
Southbridge Sea Level Rise Panelists

Then came a review of options for addressing adaptation issues, presented by a representative of the Coastal Programs Division of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). The final segment of the three events (excluding Southbridge) was a short talk on the moral issues related to sea level rise, given by a local pastor. Southbridge residents were treated not only to a short talk by Michael Oates but also to a pointed set of comments on residents' concerns by Wilmington City Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz.

Presentation Notes for 2013 and previous years

Nuclear Power Generation, November 2013 Kay Gallogly

Female Inmates, October 2013 Baylor warden Wendi Caple

Delaware and fracking in the Marcellus Shale, June 2013 Coralie Pryde

Gun Control in Delaware, April 2013 Brenda Mayrack, Esq.

'Connections' Social Service Agency, February 2013 Cathy McKay

Impact of Healthcare reform on women, November 2012 Dr. Jacqueline Christman

Brownfields in Delaware , April 2012 Pat Todd

Stepping Stones Credit Union, March 2012 Rashmi Rangan

Safe household cleaning, February 2012 Sandra Reddy, RN

Hydrofracking, January 2012 public forum by LWVNCC and Nurses Healing Our Planet

NCC Comprehensive Plan 2012, January 2012 Dave Culver, and League Statement on the NCC Comprehensive Plan, January 2012 LWVNCC

Middletown Whitehall Project, November 2011 Larry Tarabicos

Impacts of Climate Change in the Mid-Atlantic, April 2009 Peter Shultz


Archive - Carrie Chapman Catt Awards

Carrie Chapman Catt Awards 2016

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at Arsht Hall in Wilmington, LWVNCC honored three women who are true community leaders:

Priscilla Rakestraw

LaVaida Owens-White

Moonyeen Klopfenstein

  • Moonyeen (Kloppy) Klopfenstein, registered nurse at Christiana Care for over 50 years and founder of "Loving Arms"
  • LaVaida Owens-White, Faith Community Nurse with over 50 years experience
  • Priscilla B. Rakestraw, formerly Republican National Committeewoman and Development Director of DE. Breast Cancer Coalition; now Development Director for Ministry of Caring

Left to right: Chad Tolman, Sally Millbury-Steen, John Flaherty


Carrie Chapman Catt Awards 2014

The 2014 Carrie Chapman Catt Awards and fund-raiser was held at Deerfield, a lovely venue brand-new to the League. Photos of the event are available on Flickr.

Three community leaders were honored:

  • John D. Flaherty, President of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government
  • Dr. Sally Milbury-Steen, Executive Director of Delaware Pacem in Terris
  • Dr. Chad Tolman, LWVDE Climate Chair and study leader

Carrie Chapman Catt Awards 2012

The Eighth Carrie Chapman Catt Awards ceremony and fundraiser was held in September 2012. The honorees were...

2012 Carrie Chapman Catt Awardees, June MacArtor, Michael Kalmbach and Rashmi Rangan
Left to right: June MacArtor, Michael Kalmbach, Rashmi Rangan

  • Michael Kalmbach, founder of the New Wilmington Art Association (NWAA) collective and The Creative Vision Factory communal art studio
  • June D. MacArtor, Esq., past Delaware LWV President, law professor, and environmental activist
  • Rashmi Rangan, Esq., Executive Director of Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, past LWVDE President, and founder of the Stepping Stones Community Federal Credit Union in Wilmington