Making Democracy Work

Activities and Presentations

Community presentations

Presentations and events for our members and for the public


See the League Studies page for a description of League studies and for links to both the resulting positions and background information.

New Castle County LWV: Recent Events

(website work in progress... events from 2016 and 2017)

Colored Conventions (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.

Transit-Friendly Development (2016)

On Monday, February 22nd, 2016, a rapt audience heard Heather Dunigan from WILMAPCO and James Wilson from Bike Delaware discuss 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.

By clicking on this link you can read Heather's hand-out: This link will lead you to additional WILMAPCO studies on transit-oriented development:

By clicking here you can access the handout which James shared with the group.

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.

New Castle County LWV: Past Events

(website work in progress... events from 2014 and 2015)

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.

To read a full report of the panel written by LWV member Erika Furlong, please click here.

To view Dave Carter's presentation notes and slides, please click here and here.

Mr. Byrd shared the following link to a video presentation of the development of the Evraz site Please click here to view and download a similar presentation from the Evraz site.

A slide presentation on the RiverEdge site, described by Kimoko Harris, can be accessed here.

Farm Forum 2014

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.

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.

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 plan. The Triple Aim is a term coined by the Institute for Medicine and is now a widely accepted set of goals.

Choose Health Delaware, described as a "transformation" of Delaware's health system" was submitted to CMMI in late December, 2013. It is the result of intensive work by a multistakeholder group, under the general direction of the Delaware Health Care Commission, over an eight month period. The larger group was broken into several smaller work groups to develop parts of the plan: Delivery Systems, Payment Models, Population Health, Data/Analytics, Workforce and Policy. Consumers, clinicians, community organizations, health systems, community health centers, payers and leaders from state government participated in the discussions.

For further information, the entire plan (134 pages) is available online:

Also available online on the Delaware Health Care Commission's website are various presentations made to the Commission as well as much other information related to health care policy in Delaware:

Newark City Council Debate 2014

A forum for the Newark City Council candidates was held on Wednesday night, March 26th, 2014. The League of Women Voters of New Castle County sponsored and moderated the event, taking write-in questions from audience members.

The League would like to thank our volunteer videographers Ken Grant and Eden Shand for the above full video of the event.

Recipients from 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.

Archive - 2009 thru 2013

Newark Mayoral Candidate Forum 2013

Newark mayoral candidates 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

Panel members at Southbridge 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.

Delaware and fracking in the Marcellus Shale (2013)

In June 2013 Coralie Pryde gave a Fun Lunch talk to members of the League of Women Voters in which a multitude of topics concerning fracking were discussed. A brief history of the practice was outlined and terms often used in the discussion of fracking were defined for the attendees. Among the topics discussed were the possible side effects of the chemicals used in fracking that have been recorded in animals and humans near these sites as well as lack of oversite in the disposal of the chemicals used in fracking.

To read more about the talk and to download the notes taken during the presentation, please click here.

Gun Control in Delaware (2013)

In April, 2013 Brenda Mayrack, Esq., addressed the fun lunchers on gun control issues in Delaware. A poll by a professional poll taker from outside the state revealed that an overwhelming majority (80-90% range) of Delawareans support gun control. She emphasized that the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence has no intention of taking away the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, but wants to control gun violence in Delaware by promoting sensible gun laws. Several proposals regarding gun control are currently before the Delaware Legislature and Senate. Click here to view the details of her presentation.

"Connections" Social Service Agency (2013)

Cathy McKay Cathy McKay, Director of the social service agency Connections, spoke at the League's February 2013 Fun Lunch. She told how the group reintegrates into the community residents of Delaware State Hospital and others who were homeless because of de-institutionalization. Connections provides an array of opportunities to individuals that many other social service organizations routinely turn away. During a Q and A session, Ms. McKay addressed the issue of neighborhood complaints against Connections clients. Because Connections accepts people that other organizations turn away, she feels that her challenges are enormous, and that claims of mismanagement are not justified. Click here for details of her presentation.

Impact of Healthcare reform on women (2012)

The November 2012 Fun Lunch featured Dr. Jacqueline Christman who presented the impact of the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obama Care) on women. The discussion focused on the probable direct impacts on women, ages 18 to 64, and their families and examined the many aspects of legislation including the cost of the legislation and the source of those funds. Please click here for details of Dr. Christman's presentation.

Child sexual abuse and prevention (2012)

Kellie Turner spoke to League members and guests in April 2012 on the topic of child sexual abuse prevention. She is a spokesperson for the organization, Prevent Child Abuse Delaware. Probably the single most important step that adults can do to prevent child sexual abuse, Kellie explained, was to not allow a child to have one-on-one activities with an adult without checking on the encounter.

Brownfields in Delaware (2012)

In April 2012 Pat Todd, longtime member of Delaware's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Brownfields Committee, talked with a rapt group of Fun Lunchers about brownfields. A brownfield can be as obvious as an old gas station site, or it could be as seemingly innocuous as a former golf course. The chemicals in the ground are the deciding factor. Cleaning up these sites and reusing them is a much better alternative than using undeveloped land (greenfields). Todd reported that a U.D. study showed a $394 million gain in Delaware's gross domestic product from cleaning up just 119 brownfields. Read more about brownfields here.

Rashmi Rangan Stepping Stones Credit Union (2012)

Rashmi Rangan, Executive Director of the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, spoke to a large gathering of Fun Lunch Leaguers in March, 2012, about Stepping Stones, DCRAC's brand new credit union. Stepping Stones was the only credit union in the nation to be chartered in 2011. As much-loved past president of the League of Women Voters of Delaware, Rashmi brought her own special inclusive leadership style. See this article for further detail on Rashmi's talk at the Fun Lunch.

Safe household cleaning (2012)

In February 2012 Sandra Reddy, RN, gave lunch goers helpful information on household cleaning done with both health and sanitation in mind, noting that many household cleaners that we're used to using have harmful effects on the health of family members. Details of her talk can be found here.

Hydrofracking (2012)

fracking forum speakersIn January of 2012 a public information forum on hydrofracking for natural gas (methane) sponsored by the LWV-NCC and Nurses Healing Our Planet was attended by over 75 people. Rev. Bruce Gillette, Pastor of Limestone Presbyterian Church, and Pat Todd, LWV-NCC welcomed the audience. Moderator Coralie Pryde, LWV-NCC, introduced the speakers: Dr. Roberta Winter, Vice President + Advocacy and Issues, LWV PA; Kathleen Stiller, Director, Division of Water, DNREC; and Faith Zerbe, Biologist with Delaware Riverkeeper Network. While the League attempted to provide an industry spokesperson, no one was forthcoming. A lively Q and A session followed the presentations. Click here for a summary of the event.

NCC Comprehensive Plan 2012

put caption hereDave Culver, General Manager of the Department of Land Use for New Castle County, gave January 2012 Fun Lunch attendees a run-down on what to expect from the proposed Comprehensive Development Plan 2012 Update. To start off, he said, there's not much that's brand new in the plan; it's largely an extension of current plans that are working and need either tweaking or an increase in scope. Broader areas of study in terms of both traffic and planning are a hallmark of the new update. The League weighed in on the "Comp" Plan Update with this formal statement. Click here for a report on Mr. Culver's remarks.

Information meeting on Whitehall (2011)

Larry Tarabicos presents Whitehall planIn mid-November 2011 about 50 folks--mainly from the Middletown area--gathered in the public room of the Middletown Walmart to hear a presentation on the proposed Whitehall project. This project is to be the first direct application of New Castle County's Villages and Hamlets Ordinance. Click here for more details. Larry Tarabicos is shown in the photo, as he is interviewed by WDEL.

Needle Exchange (2011)

In September of 2011 Basha Silverman, Director of Prevention and Advocacy Services, and Sara Grainger, HIV Prevention Services and Outreach Program Manager, from Brandywine Counseling and Community Services presented a richly detailed program on the importance of providing free needles, no questions asked, to users of illegal drugs. Evidence-based preventive interventions such as needle exchange programs (NEPs) are demonstrated to reduce injection-related transmission of blood-borne pathogens. On June 7, 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.

Climate Change (2010)

Peter Schultz, Formerly Director of the Global Change Research Program Office in Washington, D.C., currently a principal with ICFInternational, spoke to the public at Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, and to a legislative committee in Dover in 2010. You can view the slides in his presentation by clicking here. Peter pointed to increased storm intensity and sea level rise as two compelling factors in the changes that we might expect to see within the next 100 years. Water purification will be an issue because of greater expected rainfall, and our less wealthy citizens may experience difficulties getting relief from higher temperatures. Agricultural and oyster industries may suffer because of the greater likelihood of pathogens.

Open Government (2009)

open government forum 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.