Member Focus: MaryEllen Moore

New Jersey Girl Makes Good!

After membership discussion, Darien LWV President Gwen Mogenson (left) and League Member MaryEllen Moore (right) join the Feb 2013 CT Against Gun Violence (CAGV) march on Hartford advocating for tighter gun control measures
 After membership discussion, Darien LWV President Gwen Mogenson (left) and League Member MaryEllen Moore (right) join the Feb 2013 CT Against Gun Violence (CAGV) march on Hartford advocating for tighter gun control measures


One of seven children, Mary Ellen grew up in Allenhurst, New Jersey and eventually commuted to NYC for 14 years related to her career. Lived here and there in New Jersey and in NYC as her career involved her as an International Corporate Paralegal for a drug company, organizing boards of directors.  On to similar work for Revlon and finally into mergers and acquisitions for McMillan for five years.   Her husband Scott's work takes them to Bermuda for five years where Dylan is (happily) born; back to the USA in time to put Dylan in nursery school in Darien CT. There she meets her new neighbor, Anne Lynn (former LWV President) who says, "You should join the League." Mary Ellen also runs into Karla Coe (founder of our Food For Thought Program) who also has someone at nursery school, who says, "You should join the League.   So she does. "I wanted to be active but to enjoy non partisan conversations. I wanted to meet interesting people." She enhances the Darien League involving herself with Programs, Membership, Secretary (paragraph after paragraph for years) and Co-President with Karla.  She also helped execute 75th anniversary events surrounding the League and was active and popular on various PTO boards.   Then: "I was really rocked a couple of years ago by the gun shootings at Newtown. Rachel Martin and I spoke. We had to do something. We organized a town wide forum. Jim Himes, George Jepsen, Dick Blumenthal were all there. Callie Sullivan moderated. Great turnout with some representation on gun control from both sides."  Mary Ellen becomes State League contact on guns for a time. "And this will be my cause when I go to California. The topic is near and dear to my heart."   Because their family IS moving on -- next to California, for a life of love, indolence, sunshine and flowers . No, -- strike that.  Never would Mary Ellen Moore be indolent. Under her leadership the Darien League has enjoyed her spirit, her mind and her love of action. Loving mom of Dylan; adored and adoring wife of Scott who retired (young, several years ago). Reliable (Give her a job to do and she does it well); witty, fun, generous and good looking!   Lucky California. All who know her will miss her. But remember as Mary Ellen points out, for a time at least, "We're still here."  

- Interview and write up by Ann Ferris

Letter From the Darien LWV President

Welcome to 2016 and what will be, I’m sure, an exciting Presidential election year. Greater public interest in elections gives us an opportunity to communicate our purpose and activities to a larger audience but we need your help

Please forward this Spotlight newsletter to your friends, especially any new neighbors and add a personal message about why you think the League is important. Most of us joined the League through a personal contact and that remains our most valuable recruiting tool.

The Darien League is 125 members strong. We are men and women, your friends and neighbors ,who share a commitment to good government, increased voter turnout and an informed electorate. Read down to Joan Davis’ excellent recap of our Fall 2015 activities and 2016 initiatives to get a better feel for what we do. As a League member you can feel proud that we make a difference in our community.

We create voter education materials that would not exist without our sponsorship

  • Candidates Night debate forum for Darien and State Elected Officials
  • Election cycle “Voters Guide”, a hard copy and on-line publication containing pertinent questions and responses from our Local and State government candidates, (many voters use this as their primary source of election information.)
  • Annually updated Government Guide – one stop shopping for contact information for our Local, State and National elected officials
  • Periodically updated publications: “You and Your Town Government” and “Guide to the RTM”. If you want to get involved in Town Government or simply want to know more – we are the place to start. These publications are on line at and are generally available in hard copy at Town Hall and the Darien Library.

In 2016 the League will be actively involved in the roll out of the 10-year update of the Town Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD)

  • There are three significant mixed use, commercial/residential development proposals being considered by the Town. The POCD provides strategic guidance. These include:
    • Genovese redevelopment of a downtown core parcel
    • Palmer Family redevelopment of a Noroton Heights parcel
    • Federal Realty redevelopment of a parcel of the former Golden Noroton Heights Property
  • Each of these could create significant changes to the development density of our town including required changes to our infrastructure.

An informed electorate is an important part of redevelopment decisions. The Darien LWV is committed to supporting educational programs and materials supporting these issues.

I’ve met some of my best friend through the League.

  • Read Ann Ferris’ charming interview with former Co-President MaryEllen Moore. Maybe you joined the League out of curiosity, though a friend, or found your cause? Yes, we do our research and are opinionated, but we are respectful of all discourse and we’re not as serious as we might seem (see the write up of the holiday party and our Food For Thought discussions ALWAYS go off track) I laugh when I hear that we are deemed “too intimidating, too serious”. Trust me – give us a try, we are not “all that”.

How to Get Involved

  • Come to our monthly meeting, 1st Wednesday of each month. Coffee and Conversation 9:10 AM and business meeting starts 9:30 AM. We meet at Atria, 50 Ledge Road. You will almost always learn something new
  • Click here to Join Us 
    • Dues are $55 for individual and $80 for Household membership

Remember Democracy is NOT a Spectator Sport

 Looking forward to an interesting 2016 and a great year for our local league

Gwen Mogenson

President – Darien LWV President

Darien LWV Feb 3rd 2016 Agenda

Darien League of Women Voters
Agenda for Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Open to All Members
Atria, 50 Ledge Road
Coffee and Conversation 9:10 AM
Business Meeting Begins 9:30 AM
Please sign in at the hospitality coffee table (even if you arrive late) so that we can get a correct attendance list.
Call to order and approval of January 6, 2016 Meeting minutes(Clara Sartori)
Thank you Karla Coe for Jan Minutes
Treasurers Report (Kate Larson)
  • Year to Date Financials
  • Membership Update
  • Finance Drive Update
Membership (Larson or Molly Myers)
  • Membership reporting to State and National due 1/31.  Statistics are used to set 2016-17 PMP (per member dues payments). We only retain about $8 of local dues for local programming.  Correct membership reporting is essential.
  • We have NO NEW MEMBERS for 2015-16 and will be losing several members due to relocation, non-renewal for other reasons etc.
  • One last President’s renewal e-mail request sent out Jan 25th targeting 8 potential renewals.
  • We will have to work hard to regain our targeted 125 membership level.
  • January Spotlight e-mail newsletter should be used as a recruiting tool
    • Most people join the League through a personal connection
      • Forward it to your friends, especially new residents, with a personal lead in telling them why you think the League is important. Invite them to a monthly meeting or one of our events. Follow Up!
  • It’s a Presidential Election Year with more emphasis on political involvement. In this crazy election cycle, we define ourselves as a last bastion of reasoned, respectful dialogue, largely focused on local issues and voter turnout. The Darien League is truly non-partisan.
Observer Corps Light (Sartori)
  • Thank you to our January meeting guest speakers, Pam Gery, Darien Director of Parks and Recreation and LWV member Mary Flynn, chair of the RTM Parks and Rec Commission, for an insightful discussion of possible Weed Beach development options. The town has engaged the consulting firm of Weston and Sampson to create various designs for this town-owned property. Community input is highly encouraged.
THANK YOU to our members who worked on January Events (Sartori)
  • Darien High School Voter Registration Drive (188 New Registered Voters – a record)!
    • Members, Lisa Gallagher, Christa McNamara, Clara Sartori and Barbara Thorne volunteered their time. The Registrars are very thankful for our support
  • Legislative Coffee, January 27th
    • Thanks to Joyce and Mike Critelli for hosting this event and for Joyce’s work on coordinating the event.
    •  Martha Banks, Carolyn Bayne, Joyce Critelli, Mary Genco, Clara Sartori and Laurie Williamson did extraordinary background research to develop and prioritize our very pointed discussion points. This is the League at its best.
    • Follow up
      • Joyce Critelli will provide the required reporting to the State League
      • Mary Genco will draft a letter to the editor summarizing our issues
      • Joan Davis will draft a general newspaper article about the event.
Spotlight E-mail Membership Newsletter
It’s been a long time since we’ve released a Darien LWV Spotlight news release.
  • THANK YOU to Joan Davis and Ann Ferris for drafting the content and Deepika Saksena for formatting it for our website posting.
  • This edition of Spotlight is a great recruiting tool for new members . Please forward it to those who might be interested in the League.  Most members have joined through a personal contact – that might be you!
Government Guide Update (Martha Banks)
  • The Darien League annually publishes a hard copy and on-line contact reference for our National, State and Local elected officials along with Darien appointed commission members. This is a one-stop shopping reference should anyone want to contact their representatives and it requires a tremendous amount of detail work. We are one of the few Leagues in the state to produce this resource.
    • Thanks go to Martha Banks for sourcing and organizing the data and to Deepika Saksena for making sure this is posted to our website, both of whom have worked on this project for multiple years.
Nominating Committee (Sue Okie)
  • Thanks to those of you have already volunteered.  Please help our nominating committee (Sue Okie, Carolyn Bayne, Christa McNamara and Molly Myers) attract new Board members – we have a great organization and there should be increased interest in a Presidential election year.  Contact Sue Okie to volunteer or recommend new Board Members. There’s something for everyone – from a little bit of introductory involvement to leadership development opportunities.
Upcoming Events (Save the Dates)
Food For Thought (Karla Coe)
Next FFT, 3rd Thursday February 18th, 12:00 – 1:30 PM, Hosted by Ann Ferris, 30 Hale Lane
  • Recap of January FFT discussion
  • Join a freewheeling discussion of a topical news subject. The topic is not announced in advance so no preparation is required.
Town Plan of Conservation and Development – POCD (Sartori/ Wynne Shapiro)
This is a 10 year legislatively required update due by June 30, 2016 or Darien could lose State funding. Technically, only a vote by the Planning and Zoning Commission is required to adopt but there will be public hearings and briefings to the Board of Selectmen and RTM
  • Darien LWV will sponsor a free and open to the public program, Monday Feb 22nd, 1:00 – 3:00 PM at Louise Parker Berry Auditorium at the Darien Library, using interactive technology to access community input. The program will include a presentation by external consultant Glenn Chalder from Planimetrics and include discussion by Town Planner, Jeremy Ginsberg and Planning and Zoning Chair, Susan Cameron, followed by Q&A. 
  • The 2016 Plan will provide high level guidance to three (Genovese downtown, Noroton Heights Golden Property and Noroton Heights Palmer Property) significant development plans in process. These have the potential to significantly change the character of our existing town. Community involvement is essential. 
Darien LWV and Darien Library present the film “Suffragette”
Sunday February 28th, 2:00 PM, Louise Parker Berry Auditorium at the Darien Library
  • Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan star in this film recounting the sacrifices our sister, British suffragettes made to gain the right for women to vote in their country.
  • Free and open to the public – Invite a friend!
Darien LWV will co-sponsor a Greenwich LWV Program “Money and Politics”
  • Tuesday, March 1st, Details TBD.
    Join us for a panel discussion regarding the election funding effects of the Supreme Court decision “Citizens United”.
Fairfield County Foundation “Day of Giving” 
Thursday, March 10th. 
Log in and donate to the LWVCT Education Fund fundraising effort to develop Spanish language voter information material.  More details TBD.
Darien Town Officials Lunch, March Date TBD
  • Another membership perk to engage in small group discussion with Town leaders regarding issues and priorities for Town Government
 LWVCT Education Fund
47th Annual Symposium on International Relations (SIR)
Friday, April 8th
Topic is Social Media: Global Impact on Political Involvement, Youth & Privacy. Details to Follow
Other Information (the 411)