Minutes of the West End Neighborhood Association (WENA) Meeting
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
Reiche Community Room
Board members present: Jennifer Defillip, Leana Good-Simpson (treasurer), Rosanne Graef, Ian Jacob (president), Christine McHale (vice-president), Michel Michaud, Elizabeth Parsons (secretary), Jeanne Swanton, Clifford Tremblay, Judy Witherell
Others present: Jill Bock, Sarah Colton, Webb Farrell, Lauren Guite, Teyonda Hall, Angie Helton, Jon Hinck, Eric Knutsen, Rob Korobin, Alex Legere, Wells Lyons, Adam Marletta, Toby McGrath, Nini McManamy, Susan Nelson, Tracie Reed, Pamela Shaw, Penny Stevens, Regan Sweeney, Spencer Thibodeau, Lisa Whitehead, Gwynne Williams, Wynne Wirth
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM.
Minutes from September’s meeting were accepted as written.
The WENA general operating account contains $336.09. The swim fund account stands at $3,027.01. This report was accepted as given.
Board members’ reports
Rosanne Graef reported briefly on the community organizing training initiative “Together WECAN” that had begun last spring. This initiative is an outgrowth of the Choose Civility Program offered by the Portland Public Library. WENA participants offered some successful “pod” parties (small and focused on particular neighborhoods within the West End) over the summer. She asked that anyone interested in signing up for participation this year to please contact her.
Rosanne also reminded the group about the iPad orientation class being offered by Frank Turek via Portland adult education. The writing class taught by Chrystal Wing has been fully subscribed and the ukulele class slated to start in November has ten enrollees to date. She asked everyone to consider ideas they may have for things they can teach. Please contact Rosanne Graef or Jeanne Swanton if interested.
Finally, Rosanne noted that the Disabilities Commission, which is an advisory panel to the City, meets on the first Wednesday of each month. Meetings take place at 10:00 AM in City Hall. The Commission deals with access difficulties in facilities and programs throughout Portland. Anyone interested in becoming involved with this Commission is welcome to attend their regular meetings.
Ian Jacob reminded the group that WENA & the Western Promenade Neighborhood Association will host a District 2 Candidates’ Forum prior to the November elections. The session will take place on Tuesday, 20 October from 6:30 to 8:30 PM in the Reiche Community Room. West Enders were encouraged to submit questions via email or in person to Ian.
Penny Stevens and Jeanne Swanton announced details of the Reiche PTO/WENA yard sale to be held on Sunday, October 18th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Judy Witherell reported on her attendance at a recent Maine Medical Center neighborhood council meeting. Updates are as follows:
- MMC’s new operating rooms are scheduled to open this month.
- The hospital’s tobacco free/smoke free campus initiative has received some neighborhood push back as smokers have been gathering in front of peoples’ homes. The hospital plans to hire extra contractors to clean up smoking debris. The contact number for reaching people involved with this program is 207-662-2963.
- The hospital’s new snow ban policies for winter 2015-2016 make 205 parking spaces available in the visitor’s garage (Forest Street entrance). Residents are asked to remove their cars from the garage by 6:00 AM.
- The hospital also provided some updates on landscaping and repair activities, including a possible collaboration with St. John’s Valley Neighborhood Association on a garden plot at Valley Street.
- The council’s next meeting will take place on 15 December. Residents are welcome to bring questions to the council via Judy.
Sarah Colton reported on behalf of the Police Department. Senior Lead Officer, Dave Argitis, who was hurt in an accident several months ago has just returned to work. Sarah had prepared an information sheet on how to contact her or Dave and also distributed an information sheet on crime statistics over the past two weeks. She particularly called the group’s attention to the fact that three women had been attacked in the West End during the past month. Police Department officials think the same person is a suspect in all three incidents. But he is still at large. Sarah further mentioned that the Department offers rape aggression defense training. There are scholarships available for those who would like to attend but can’t afford the fee. Sarah invited anyone interested to talk with her.
Ian reminded everyone about the new concealed carry law scheduled to go into effect on Thursday, 15 October.
In preparation for November’s election:
- Nini McManamy, from the group Save the Soul of Portland, made a brief argument for the Yes vote on Question 2. Lisa Whited from the group Portland’s Future made a brief case for the No vote.
- Adam Marletta made a case for the Yes vote on Question 1. Toby McGrath argued on behalf of the No vote.
- Rob Korobin, a member of the Green Independent party, announced his candidacy for the District 2 council seat.
Teyonda Hall from Learning Works made a presentation regarding new Mainers and how WENA can be more welcoming. She discussed the asylum seeking process; described how most newcomers start acclimating to life in the United States; and talked about the ways that Learning Works support them in their transition. Eric Knutsen, also of Learning Works, offered some insights as well. A brief question and answer period followed their remarks. Teyonda encouraged WENA to be intentional about inviting people to participate, including asking for recommendations of individuals who might be interested in joining the Board.
Wynne Wirth and Tracie Reed presented details of the annual Halloween parade. They asked for volunteers to help with the rolling street barricade. Tax-deductible donations to defray costs of the parade would be most welcome. Checks should be made out to Youth in Action which is serving as fiscal agent for this initiative.
- The nominating committee is hard at work and will present a slate of nominees for board and officer positions at WENA’s November meeting. Voting will take place at the December annual meeting.
- Ian repeated the brief evaluation process offered at September’s meeting by asking everyone to fill out a slip of paper stating what they would like WENA to “Stop, Start, and Continue” doing. He promised to share results of these evaluation sessions by the end of the year.
- Gwynne Williams, who is working with the Portland Pollinator Partnership invited anyone interested to help out with establishing some pollinator plants on the perimeter of the Clark Street Community Garden site. She may be contacted at Gwynne88@yahoo.com.
- The fall cleanup of Harbor View Park will be held on Saturday, 24 October. Please meet at the park at 9:00 AM.
- Clifford Tremblay has redesigned WENA’s website. It is available here: http://wenamaine.org/
- Proposed amendments to WENA’s by-laws will be presented at our November meeting. Voting will then take place in December.
- Our November meeting will take place on Tuesday Nov 10th since the regular Wednesday slot coincides with Veterans’ Day.
The meeting adjourned at 7:56 PM.