May 1, 2019 Minutes

Attendees:  Sue Okie,  Evonne Klein, Carolyn Bayne, Laurie Williamson, Vicki Baldwin, Joan Davis, Mary Genco, Amy Zerbe, Clara Sartori, Gwen Mogenson,  Susan Spain, Stephanie Maher, Martha Banks, Kate Larson, Theresa Vogt, Shelly Skoglund, Susan Vogel, Jill McCammon and Enid Oresman

Call to Order:  Gwen Mogenson called the meeting to order at 9:40 AM.

Treasurers Report: Stephanie Maher reported that the bank balances at the end of April totaled $17,861.32, a very small change from March.  The annual Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance premium has been paid, as well as costs for the Darien Government Guide – 2019.  Work is progressing on the proposed 2019-2020 Budget. A vote will be taken at the June 6th Annual Meeting.

Secretarial Report: A motion to approve the Minutes of the April 3rd meeting was made by Laurie Williamson and seconded by Evonne Klein. The Minutes were approved by a unanimous vote.

 School Consolidation Speaker: Clara Sartori reported that we were unable to schedule a speaker regarding The Hartford Foundation fact-based school consolidation study. We will try again in the Fall.

Darien LWV Volunteer of the Year: Clara Sartori congratulated and thanked Shelly Skoglund, our Volunteer of the Year. Shelly produced the Fall 2018 Voters Guide, served as a question sorter at Candidates Night and actively recruited many to be members of the Nominating Committee. She and others will be honored at a luncheon at the Darien Community Association (DCA) on May 21st.

Government Guide: Gwen Mogenson thanked Nina Miller, Deepika Saksena and Clara Sartori for researching and formatting our annual Government Guide. This is a comprehensive publication listing contact information for our Federal, State and Local officials along with contacts for our local commissions. Enid Oresman will be distributing the hard copies around town and it will soon be available on our website, lwv.darien.org.

 Darien LWV Annual Meeting: Under the planning leadership of Karla Coe and Sandy Filmer, our Annual Meeting will be held on Thursday, June 6th at the DCA.  The business meeting is at 1:00 PM followed by High Tea and speaker Kate Farrar, Executive Director for the CT Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF).

The non-profit CWEALF was founded in 1973 with a mission to advocate for and empower women and girls in Connecticut, especially those who are underserved or marginalized. They work toward gender equality through Legal Education, Public Policy and Advocacy and Advancement and Leadership.

Nominating: Sue Okie, on behalf of the committee including Shelly Skoglund and Stacey Tie thanked all who volunteered to take on a Board position. We have many new members moving up which is very encouraging organizationally. She presented a slate which, with edits, will be subject to vote at the Annual Meeting.

At-large Board Members are expected to attend our monthly meetings and our sponsored events, help publicize our activities via personal email, invite a friend, etc., and agree to fill smaller, specific volunteer requests as they arise.

Motion to Approve a $200 Contribution to the Darien Historical Society: A motion made by Evonne Klein and seconded by Joan Davis was approved for the contribution for use of their facilities for our meeting space.

Motion to Establish a LWV 100th Anniversary Planning Committee: Clara Sartori reported that February 14, 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the League of Women Voters.  The National League has declared it a League-wide day of action themed “Women Power the Vote”. We are planning to partner with the Darien Historical Society on a possible display of historical memorabilia. The National League will also provide substantial resource materials.

We encourage any member to participate in this celebration of women’s right to vote. Evonne Klein, Joan Davis, Clara Sartori, Martha Banks, Susan Spain, Jean Sweeney, Kate Larson and Gwen Mogenson have volunteered. A motion was made by Carolyn Bayne, seconded by Laurie Williamson and approved to establish the planning committee.

Discussion of the Proposed State “Bottle Bill”: Carolyn Bayne reported that the LWVCT has supported policies to promote recycling, including advocating for Connecticut’s original Bottle Bill, since the 1970’s.

Members are urged to support the substitute HB 7294 (FILE #561), and to add their name to the co-sponsors. A Summary of the bill features follows:

  • Adds sports drinks, energy drinks, juices and teas. This adds about 340 million new containers which represents more than 26,000 tons of glass, plastic and aluminum per year.
  • Increases the deposit from 5 to 10 cents. This increases the financial incentive to redeem containers rather than litter them, put them into the trash, or into the single-stream recycling bin, and will save municipalities significant litter and waste management costs. Redeeming beverage containers is a better option than curbside recycling.
  • Increases handling fee paid by distributors to retailers and redemption centers from 1.5 to 3.5 cents for beer and from 2 to 4.5 cents for other beverages. The handling fee has not increased in over 30 years (other state handling fees: NY-3.5 cents; MA- 2.25 to 3.25 cents; VT-3.5 to 4 cents; ME- 3.5 to 4 cents). As experienced in other states, we can expect additional jobs at new redemption centers.
  • Increases the radius from 1 mile to 5 miles as the distance from a redemption center which allows “dealers” (retailers) to opt out of the requirement to redeem beverage containers.
  • Allows beverage distributors to retain 20% of the unredeemed deposits (80% to the State General Fund).
  • Establishes State beverage container redemption goal of 90%.

LWVCT.org; 1890 Dixwell Avenue, #203, Hamden, CT 06514, advocacy@lwvct.orgor, kcgolas@aol.com

 Food For Thought (FFT): FFT usually meets the 3rd Thursday of the month. There was no meeting in April due to the school holiday schedule,  The next meeting is Thursday, May 23rd,12:30-2:00 PM, hosted by Ann Ferris, 30 Hale Lane. All members are invited.  Join a freewheeling discussion of a topical news subject. The topic is not announced in advanced so no preparation is required.

Observer Corps Light: Gwen Mogenson reported that in the distant past (before Channel 79 and the town website), the League as a whole was known for having “observers” attend local government meetings and document the discussions and results. Given improved communication vehicles, we instituted “Observer Corps Light” in which we feature a speaker at our monthly meetings who can speak about areas of local interest.

She thanked Deepika Saksena and Juliet Cain for educating us about the multi-town effort in our area, the Pollinator Pathway, and specifically, how you can help to make Darien a part of the solution. The RTM will be considering this topic in the near future.  More can be learned on their website Pollinator Pathway Darien.

Another popular topic was BYO (Bring Your Own), an organization that is advocating for passage of a Darien town ordinance to promote the use of reusable customer supplied shopping bags rather than single use plastic bags. More information can be learned at  BYO Darien.

Gwen welcomed Judy Phillips, Executive Director of the YWCA Darien/Norwalk. Our organizations share a goal of empowering women and we hope to partner more effectively in the future.  The YWCA sponsors many initiatives including the Newcomers Program, Parent Awareness speakers, the Gourmet Group, and the upcoming “Women of Distinction” awards.

Dates Provided (in addition to the June 6 Annual Meeting)

LWVCT Education Fund Symposium on International Relations (SIR)
“Food Matters! Combat Hunger, Recover Waste, Create Energy”
Friday May 17th, 9:00 AM-12:30 PM
Jones Auditorium
123 Huntington Street, New Haven CT

“From Corsets to Suffrage: Victorian Women Trailblazers”
Thursday, May 16 to Nov 3, 12:00-4;00 PM
Lockwood Mathews Mansion
299 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT
(Opening Reception Thursday May 16, 5:30-7:30 PM, $10 for non-members)

New Canaan LWV Meeting
Thursday May 30th, 12:15 Lunch, Joseph McGee, Speaker 1:00 PM
Roger Sherman Inn
New Canaan, CT

The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 am with a motion by Stephanie Mayer, seconded by Kate Larson.

Respectfully submitted,
Vicki Baldwin, Co-Secretary