Presentations and events for our members and for the public
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.
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.
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."
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.
Panelists and speakers included...
Major Meadows and Detective Owen indicated that much progress has been made in training for law enforcement and other first responders to recognize the signs of human trafficking. Delaware has made a positive shift in recent months toward prosecute the traffickers rather than the victims of trafficking, and to provide Safe Harbor for juvenile victims.
Commissioner McDonough noted that the Human Trafficking specialty court in Delaware is being phased out, so while law enforcement is moving forward in this area, the court system is moving backward.
Audience members included Delaware state legislators who actively participated in question and answers regarding law enforcement efforts and non-profit group funding. In addition, audience member Rick from the Delaware Coalition for Open Government (DelCOG) talked about that group's efforts to require the state of Delaware to remove known trafficking companies from "In Good Standing" LLC licensing status.
Johanna Bishop described exciting Human Trafficking awareness initiatives in progress at Wilmington University, including certificate coursework in Human Trafficking, student research projects/presentations, and public symposiums sponsored by the university.
Nancy McGhee, Sandy Bowman and Cheri Collins spoke of their organizations efforts and resources to help trafficking victims. Long-term, wrap-around services are needed to help survivors recover when they escape from exploitation.
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.
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 below:
In all, the LWVDE Advocacy Corps is currently supporting, opposing, or monitoring over 85 active bills in the areas of Education, Environment, Health, Housing, Justice, Land Use & Transportation, Social Policy, and Voting / Elections / Govt.
Go to legis.delaware.gov to find a full listing of bills and resolutions and their current status, as well as your legislators' contact information, and legislative committee member lists. Delaware legislation more often dies in committee than any other fate.
Health Innovations Initiative (April 2017)
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)
Denise Burgher gave a well-received talk on "Colored Conventions" on March 27, 2017. You may click here to read her talk. You can access the Colored Conventions website by clicking here. At the website you can follow the group's activities and keep abreast of their discoveries.
Two Great Armies and a Battle (Feb 2017)
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)
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 here to download presentation notes.
Bettering outcomes for youth who have experienced foster care has been one of Nicole's passions for quite some time. 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.
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)
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.
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.
Wilmington Mayoral Candidate Forum 2016
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.
LWVNCC 2016 Pre-Primary Forum for Wilmington Mayoral Candidates
Carrie Chapman Catt Awards 2016
On Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at Arsht Hall in Wilmington, LWVNCC honored three women who are true community leaders:
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.
During her 20 years with WILMAPCO, Heather Dunigan, Principal Planner, 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.
Constitutional Amendments (2015)
In recent years advocates have arisen for a convention to be called by the states under Article V of the Constitution to propose amendments to the US Constitution. Proponents include some conservative groups seeking a balanced budget amendment, and some liberal groups seeking campaign finance reform (largely in reaction to the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC which allows unlimited corporate spending on campaign ads). Others oppose such a convention as too dangerous, fearing a "runaway" gathering that could propose many more changes beyond the topic for which it was convened.
Constitutional amendments vs. constitutional conventions, a talk by DE Law Dean Rod Smolla
In September 2015 LWVNCC co-sponsored a talk by Dean Rod Smolla of Widener Law School on the topic of amending the US Constitution. Dean Smolla addressed the subject in an engaging, interactive manner by hypothesizing that a constitutional convention had indeed taken place which proposed many far-reaching amendments, and then convening a mock Supreme Court hearing with the adience members to decide whether or not it was legal for the fictional convention to stray from its original purported purpose this way.
Port Development Panel 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.
Able 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).
Following nine-minute presentations by each panelist, written questions were submitted to Mr. Flaherty, the facilitator, who in turn asked one or more of the panelists to respond.
The Hot Topic for May 2015 was "Clean Water Campaign - Delaware's Clear Choice", with featured speaker Blaine Breeding of the Delaware Nature Society. Below is a brief Presentation Summary:
Delaware is faced with issues of polluted water, due to failing infrastructure, population growth, and contamination from chemicals, pesticides, and other harmful contaminates. 67% of Delawarean's think about the quality of their water and believe that their drinking water is contaminated. 1/3 of Delawarean's believe locally caught fish and seafood are not safe to eat. But it's not too late to fix the problem, together we can start to make a difference. From changing some of our habits at home to making larger changes on a State level, we can have clean, clear water that we can be proud of and enjoy. Delaware Nature Society will be working throughout the State, gathering support and educating on the need for action. In addition, we will be working to have our State leaders ensure funds are used to clean our waters.
Libraries of the Future (2015)
LWVNCC, the American Association of University Women, and the New Castle County Libraries sponsored a program on "Libraries of the Future in New Castle County" on Monday, April 27, 2015 at the Kirkwood Highway Library, with speakers Sophia Hanson and Marlene Esposito.
The new Route 9 Library in Delaware incorporates innovations from Denmark's very progressive library system. Click here to download the presentation notes.
The Seamen's Center of Wilmington (2015)
At the February 2015 Hot Topic lunch, Executive Director of the Seamen's Center of Wilmington Joan Lyons discussed how the Center operates, its needs and the many challenges seafarers face as they travel the world. Click here to download the presentation notes.
The mission of the Seaman's Center of Wilmington, Inc., is to meet the needs of the seafarers who visit
the Ports in the State of Delaware. The goal is to make their time in port a rewarding one by providing
personal, practical and spiritual assistance. A warm welcome is extended to ease the pain of loneliness
and isolation and to offer a respite from the hazards of the sea.
Stop the Middle Class Squeeze (affordable housing), November 2014 NCC Councilman Penrose Hollins
Project Vote Smart, February 2014 Vicky Kleinman
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."
Three local agricultural experts discussed farm issues at an engaging forum held at Cokesbury Village on Feb. 26, 2014.
Ruth Linton, owner of Highland Orchards, a family-run†fruit and vegetable farm located north of Wilmington, spoke of natural growing practices, the farm's †Community Supported Agriculture†program, and the burden of complying with federal paperwork requirements.
Bill Powers, a farmer and a New Castle County councilman who raises beef, pork, and lamb on his 50 acre farm, talked about challenges such as grain pricing and the difficulty of farming to compete with development for land.
Prof. Sherry Kitto, Professor Soil and Plant Sciences at the University of Delaware, spoke on genetically engineered crops.
See notes for all three speakers here.
Choose Health Delaware (2014)
"Choose Health Delaware", Delaware's State Innovation Plan which was developed under a planning grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) was the focus of two LWVNCC programs presented in March 2014 by Joann Hasse, LWVDE Health Care Chair.
Choose Health Delaware, described as a "transformation" of Delaware's health system" was submitted to CMMI in late December, 2013.
Steps toward accomplishing the "Triple Aim"--better health for Delawareans, improving healthcare quality and the patient experience, and lower health care costs--are spelled out in the state's 134-page plan.
The Delaware Health Care Commission website includes presentations made to the Commission and much other information related to health care policy in Delaware.
Newark City Council Forums 2014 and 2015
Forums for the Newark City Council candidates were held on March 26th, 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 video of the 2014 event.
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:
The Newark Mayoral Candidate Forum organized by the League of Women Voters, was attended by nearly 400 Newarkers on November 14, 2013. 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.
Female Inmates (2013)
Wendi Caple, warden at Baylor Women's Correctional Institution, was the guest for the October 2013 League of Women Voters Fun Lunch talk. Baylor is the sole women's correctional facility in Delaware. Warden Caple outlined several major issues with the prison, including overcrowding, budget shortages and lack of mental and physical care for the inmates. Education and vocational training are also lacking due to space and staff shortages. Warden Caple also discussed the various social aspects which are part of the inmates' path to prison: traumatic experiences, substance abuse, or mental illness. All of the aspects ensure that recidivism is high.
Despite incredibly daunting odds, the staff are able to offer GED education and group therapy is available. Warden Caple outlined several programs that would be helpful to the prison population including transportation for visitors and a nursery for pregnant prisoners.
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. 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 GalloglyCarrie Chapman Catt Awards 2012
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
Middletown Whitehall Project, November 2011 Larry Tarabicos
Impacts of Climate Change in the Mid-Atlantic, April 2009 Peter Shultz
The Eighth Carrie Chapman Catt Awards ceremony and fundraiser was held in September 2012. The honorees were...
In June of 2011, after five years of success with a pilot program, the Delaware Legislature passed Senate Bill 13: An Act to Amend Title 29 of the Delaware Code Relating to Sterile Needle and Syringe Exchange. This bill continues, and makes permanent Delaware's first needle exchange program. Brandywine Counseling is the contracted service provider. This presentation was arranged by our Social Justice/Urban Health Committee, then chaired by Sue Radecki. Please contact our current Healthcare Chair if you would enjoy sharing in the work of this committee.
Open Government Forum, February 2009
In February of 2009 the LWVNCC presented an Open Government Forum, held at the Girl Scout Headquarters in Newark. A presentation by Dr. Margaret McKay, FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Chair for LWVDE, was followed by a panel which included Senator Karen Peterson (DE-9th District, speaker in the photo), and left to right, Drew N. Fennel (Executive Director of the ACLU of Delaware), John Flaherty (lobbyist and open government activist) and Robert J. Valihura, jr. (former 5-term State Representative). Participants engaged in a discussion of the background of open government legislation, of recent attempts to extend FOIA rules to the Delaware legislature, and suggestions for changes Delaware could make so information would be more readily accessible to the public.