Minutes of the West End Neighborhood Association (WENA) Meeting
Wednesday, 8 July 2015
Reiche Community Room
Board members present: Jennifer Defilipp, Rosanne Graef, Ian Jacob (president), Christine McHale (vice-president), Michel Michaud, Elizabeth Parsons (secretary), Jeanne Swanton, Clifford Tremblay
Others present: Webb Ferral, Cameron Goodwin, Peter Hall, Miles Linsmith, Holly Lord, Janet Mishoe, Kaitlin Morse, Josh Murphy, Susan Nelson, Kent Redford, Larry Reinhartsen, Dave Schertz, Pamela Shaw, Penny Stevens, Trevor Watson, Gwynne Williams, Tony Zeli, Carol McCracken, and Marpheen Chan.
The meeting was called to order at 6:32 PM.
Minutes from June’s meeting were accepted as written.
The treasurer was absent but sent in a report as follows: WENA general account stands at $172.09; Swim for Life fund stands at $2,777.01. Ian Jacob also reported receiving an additional $75 from the WENA membership and outreach initiative.
Board members’ reports
Ian spoke about his representation of WENA in discussions with City representatives on ways to keep General Assistance funding flowing despite rulings from Augusta. This discussion has been tabled while the Supreme Court sorts out the dispute about Governor Lepage’s veto of the GA assistance bill.
Ian also reported that City officials, looking ahead to winter, are encouraging everyone to use the new Fix It! Portland app/website (http://portlandmaine.gov/1448/Fix-It-Portland) to report snow removal violations. Use of this service last winter increased calls for City intervention from about 300 to 1500.
Rosanne Graef spoke about the ongoing Together WECAN training. The final meeting for the summer has been held and attendees planned a few small actions to stimulate curiosity about WENA and help neighbors get to know each other. For example, Rosanne, Pamela Shaw, and Eli Dale have planned a July 25th potluck brunch in Clark St. Park. This event will run from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM and will be advertised via posters near the park and via Next Door West End. Generic publicity posters have been designed by Clifford Tremblay and will be posted on WENA’s website.
Dave Schertz represented the Police Department since Dave Argitis is recovering from anaccident sustained while on bike patrol. Items of note include:
- A suspect has been arrested in relation to the recent rash of residential and commercial burglaries.
- This suspect may have been involved in the recent bank robberies. The PPD is working with the Federal government on this matter.
- The PPD is dispatching bike officers who will patrol beginning at 2:00 AM in an effort to reduce the number of car break-ins. These officers will cover the West End on an as needed basis.
- There has been an increase in bike thefts. Officer Schertz recommended bike owners take photos and record serial numbers of their bikes since this helps a great deal should a recovery effort be needed.
- Everyone is encouraged to use the online reporting method (http://me-portland.civicplus.com/1181/Submit-On-Line-Police-Report) for non-emergency issues. All such reports are logged and reviewed.
- Officer Schertz had no information on the investigation into recent incidents of women being accosted in the West End. Ian will contact Lt. McGary about this.
- Thefts of copper downspouts seem to be confined to the West End. Anyone who hears anything suspicious in this regard should call the police.
- Anyone who suspects they hear gunshots at any time should log this in with the police. An officer will investigate.
Trevor Watson thanked the PPD for their help with a recent middle-of-the-night break in at his home. He is concerned about cuts to police department staffing and urged all WENA members to press the City Council and others about this in light of increasing crime in the area.
Ian reported on progress with the neighborhood membership and outreach effort. He has compiled a list of over 100 organizations within the West End’s borders. He and Liz Parsons have done some successful preliminary outreach. He asked for additional volunteers to participate in the effort, stating that board members will be expected to participate at some level. Jeanne Swanton offered to work on an informational brochure.
Penny Stevens spoke regarding the planned yard sale to support Swim for Life. WENA will be working with the Reiche PTO on this event taking place inside the school gym. The date will be October 18th. WENA will have a special portion of the area marked off for our sale. Penny asked the group for donations (except clothing and furniture). Volunteers will be needed on the Friday evening when people drop things off; on Saturday to set up tables; and Sunday to help sell. More information and a sign-up sheet will be available at our September meeting.
Further to Swim for Life, Ian noted that we need to take in about $3000 this year. He has talked with Rosanne about strategies for this and stated that all board members should participate by making at least a $5 donation while asking others to do at least the same. Ian has sent letters to past corporate donors in hopes that funds raised from them will bring in a significant portion of the needed total. Some discussion followed his remarks.
Environment Maine interns Cameron Goodwin and Miles Linsmith spoke briefly about the Sierra Club’s planned Community Solar Farm (CSF) Open House. This event will take place at St. Luke’s Episcopal Cathedral on 22 July. One location for an envisioned CSF is on land in Wayne owned by Rosanne.
Kaitlyn Morse of We Compost It! (http://www.wecompostit.com/portland.html) spoke about their new residential service. The City’s stated goal is to reach a 50% recycling rate. The current rate is about 33% and the next 17% will need to come from recycling organic materials. This company handles all the Portland schools’ food waste and about 50% of the waste coming from City restaurants. They are capable of processing about 1200 tons of food waste per year and have made a special offer of $8.99/month to WENA residents who sign up. A Q & A followed her remarks.
Holly Lord made a brief presentation to gauge interest in aging in place initiatives. A group of this sort has begun on Munjoy Hill in hopes of creating a non-profit, village-network style model. Other groups in Maine are at various stages of development. A Q & A followed her remarks and she suggested interested people read the article found here: http://www.nextavenue.org/village-movement-redefining-aging-place/.
- Historic Preservation and the Planning Board will have workshops related to the envisioned Avesta housing development at 17 Carleton Street, The Planning Board meeting is scheduled for July 14th and the Historic Preservation meeting for July 15th. More information is available on the City’s website.
- Trevor Watson spoke on behalf of a group that is concerned about the fast track of zoning changes and how the project has been presented thus far. He brought a petition and offered to talk with anyone who was interested.
- The Public Art Committee that had a gazebo to install in a park has chosen Payson, despite WENA’s appeal that it be placed in Harbor View.
- WENA’s annual picnic will be held August 12th at 6:00 PM in Clark Street Park. More information will be forthcoming.
The meeting adjourned at 8:10 PM.