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Newsletter - August 17, 2023

LWVIN | Published on 8/17/2023


Saturday, September 30

Dear Local League Leaders and Past State Presidents,
Please “Save the Date” for Presidents Day 2023-Saturday September 30! 

We will be meeting in beautiful Crawfordsville at Fusion 54 from 10:30am-4pm.

Look forward to programming including fundraising, board development, sharing and great discussions.

More information will follow!

Barb Schilling, Special Events Chairperson


At the LWVIN in-person Board Retreat in July at the Indiana Humanities Council in Indianapolis, continuing and new Board members took time to reflect on the role of the State Board, the role of the State League vs. State Board, the role of Local Leagues, and the ability of LWVIN to connect with Local Leagues. Discussion was substantive and insightful about our responsibilities and our tasks. Board members took on specific responsibilities to enable your State Board to fulfill the responsibilities we identified. You’ll hear more about those in coming months.

I do, though, want to introduce the Study Committee approved at Convention to review our LWVIN Positions: Lisa Plencner, Tracy Heaton de Martinez, Karen Martoglio, and Tom Gardiner have agreed to serve and will begin their work in September.Their task over two-years is to review our current state positions, to update them in keeping with current legislation, to eliminate duplication with national positions, and to ensure that any LWVIN positions are particular to Indiana.

From the brief business meeting:

  • The Board recognized the Board service of Kimber Sorenson-Brugh. “Her humor, financial savvy and ability to ask thoughtful questions” was greatly appreciated and will be missed as she seeks completion of her Master’s Degree.
  • LWVIN joined the Indiana Business Alliance for Civics to develop partnerships with the business community to register and inform voters.:

The next board meeting, on August 19, will focus on our partnerships and coalitions.

Should you wish to attend the Board meeting, please contact for the zoom link!

Linda Hanson, President


In Part One about the LWVIN website, we talked about how the website could be used by both the public and Indiana LWV members.

In Part Two, the focus will be on the League Resources Page. Some of the links on this page are available to the public. The other links are available only when you sign into Club Express as a member. To sign in, use the User Name and Password that you use to sign into your local League's Club Express.

What's on the resource page? There are quite a few resource categories. I'm highlighting some and suggest you explore the rest at your convience.

  • Are you looking for a single place to find the National and State League positions? Look on the Resource page. Remember, our positions were arrived at through member study and agreement, approved by the appropriate board, and used as a basis for League action.
  • If you follow us on social media, you will recognize some of the Forgotten Foremothers we have posted about. Forgotten Foremothers are the women who have fought for women's rights, but aren't well known.
  • Have you noticed members wearing shirts or pins with the League logo? Or perhaps they were carrying a League tote bag or drinking coffee from a League cup. A link to the LWV Indiana store is on the resource page.
  • Voter Services Resources has gatheredinformation and links to government web sitesas well as curated guides, articles, and videos from the local Leagues and associate groups.
  • Vote411 information is available to help the local Leagues get their voter guide up and running.
  • Did you notice the social media post from August 8th? It covered the organization of the State League.
    • Several program workgroups from the program clusterhave pages with information you will find worthy of reading.
    • The organizational section groups have added information to help local leagues with management.There are pages for local leaders, treasurers, advocates, membership, and Club Express. If you are a League president, treasurer, or on the membership committee, make it a point to visit these pages.
Jerri Martin
LWVIN Media coordinator


Profiles of lesser-known heroines in the fight for women’s rights

Donna Tobias - 1st Female Deep Sea Diver

Donna Tobias was born on May 22, 1952, in Los Angeles, Calif. to Marie and Elmer Tobias. Father Elmer, a U.S. Army Sergeant and veteran of World War II, worked in manufacturing. Donna, who grew up with brothers Gary and Doug, enjoyed her proximity to the sea; she swam and snorkeled often.

Money was tight for the Tobias family. Still in her early 20s, Donna enlisted in the U.S. Navy, “because it was the one on the water,” she said. She immediately set her sights on the Navy’s diving school. She submitted her application and waited – and worked as a hull technician and welder on the base. In January 1975, just two days before the new class would begin, Donna received word: She’d been accepted. She was officially the first woman ever accepted to the Navy’s deep-sea diving program.

The training was grueling and intense. Few who started finished, with barely a third of each class qualifying for certification.“I told myself they’d have to make me leave,” Donna said. “I wouldn’t quit. If you ever uttered the words, ‘I quit,’ you could never take them back, and there were plenty of eyes waiting to see me fail. I didn’t want them asking less of women, for anything.”

The Mark V diving suit could not be changed to fit Donna. Its weight and durability protected divers in the intense pressure, cold, and turbulence of deep waters. In time, Donna grew more comfortable in the bulky, heavy suit. “It was cumbersome on land, but in the water, you could move around; it was less of a problem,”she told the Los Angeles Times in 2001. “In the water, I felt safe in it. I can smell being in this suit—smell the air, the metal, taste it, you know? I got to be fond of it, in the water.”

Donna graduated as the Navy’s first female deep-sea diver on March 14, 1975. As she expected, however, that was as far down that path as the Navy would let her go. Instead of embarking on deep-sea missions and working the salvage projects for which she’d been trained, she moved to Groton, Conn. to be an instructor at the Submarine Naval Base in New London a base active since 1868.

Donna packed a lot into her years with the Navy. She "worked in ports on naval vessels, took part in search and salvage operations in Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, and participated in the sinking of a World War II ship to construct an artificial reef in Chesapeake Bay. She worked in the hyperbaric chamber, which treats divers suffering embolisms, as well as people with carbon monoxide poisoning and gangrene.” She saved lives.

Donna left the Navy in 1980, using the G.I. Bill to earn her bachelor’s degree in education, followed by a master’s in psychology and additional certification to teach students in special education. She brought her trailblazing energy to this new frontier. At the time, special-needs students were segregated from other students in her school system. “She led the charge to become more mainstream, more inclusive,” Louis Allen, her principal at New London High School, told the Hartford Courant. “Donna always spoke up.”

In April 2001, Donna was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame. This was the first time that her students and many friends and colleagues learned that they had a history maker in their midst.In her free time after teaching, Donna still swam and snorkeled often. She was a drummer and singer for a band called the Loose Ends, and worked with a theater group called the Second Step Players. She volunteered with Art Reach, a group dedicated to fighting stigma and educating the public about mental illness.

She retired from teaching when her depression became debilitating. On nice days, she joined her friends on the beach to catch crabs and fish. She began volunteering at Mitchell Farm Equine Retirement, a home for aging horses. Farm executive director Dee Doolittle told the Hartford Courant, “It didn’t take her long to fall in love with horses. They need so much care, and she had so much to give.” In her home garage-turned-studio, she created wood and stone carvings. Her home, friend Judith said, “It was a maze of art, an internal labyrinth. Everywhere you turned, there was something to look at.”

On Sept. 21, 2010, Donna died by suicide at age 58. Fittingly, her loved ones held her memorial ceremony on the beach, looking out across the sea.

In 2018, the Submarine Naval Base New London named their new dive locker facility Tobias Hall in honor of Donna. The name suggestion came from the divers themselves.

(Go HERE to read this entire article on the LWVIN website.)

Kathryn S Gardiner | Published on 8/12/2023