By Squirrel Staff

Have you ever wondered what you could do to make the world a better place? One local teen has come up with an unexpected answer: an all-night dance party! Each year for the past three years Deering High School student Eben Raszmann has been doing his part for the community by dancing the night away at the annual STRIVE Rocks dance marathon at the Maine Mall. The event is a major fundraiser for the non-profit STRIVE organization, which serves young adults with developmental disabilities through a number of different programs, including a summer camp, after-school activities, an education series, and STRIVE U, a post-secondary education and training program. In past years, Raszmann has raised as much as $1000 in pledges during the event. But this year he has set the bar even higher with an impressive goal of $1500.   Continue reading NEIGHBORHOOD TEEN STRIVES TOWARD AMBITIOUS GOAL


By Squirrel Staff

At the end of January, Winter Storm Juno dumped over 27 inches of snow in Portland, turning Deering Center into a true winter wonderland and shutting down the Portland Public Schools for two days. Despite the blizzard conditions many brave souls ventured out to enjoy the day. Mark Ford sent us this stunning image of the DHS fields.

Photo by Jennifer Stanbro
Photo by Don Eliott
Photo by Don Eliott


We all have a guilty pleasure show that people tease us about, that our friends just don’t understand. It may be General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, or maybe even The Bold and the Beautiful, to name just a few. They are so bad they are almost good. Of course I have my favorites. But why do we enjoy watching them? That’s the bigger question. How does the human race enjoy these shows and why? Is it the fact that they keep us hanging? Or is it that they milk every little detail for days and mess with our minds? You can never really tell what’s so good about these shows. They just are. These are the tv shows that own our world. The soap operas.

XOXO tv girl


By Michele Praught

Remnants of the canal today, photo by M. Praught

Throughout time people have created objects in order to improve on a situation. Engineering, architecture, manufacturing, and artisan work have all left their marks on cities, towns and villages. At one time vital, practical, ingenious, or mundane, what remains is often a rusty anachronism waiting for the inevitable scrap pile. Left in place, these objects act as historical bookmarks: messages from the past to the present reminding us that things mattered then just as they do now, with no less significance. To recognize this can make us humble and realistic about change in our world.   Continue reading THE CUMBERLAND AND OXFORD CANAL


By Representative Erik Jorgensen

As the first full weeks of the 2015 legislative session wrap up, all talk is all about the Governor’s biennial budget request, released last Friday. From my perspective, it feels like the freighted moment at the amusement park where the roller coaster, having clicked and clacked up a steep slope, is now poised at the top, in the instant before the ride really gets going.   Continue reading THE EMERGING STATE BUDGET


On rainy nights
when the street lights flicker
and the women argue,
a man can be spotted
drearily entering an old brick building
by the river on 12th Street.

He heads to the back of the building.
Finding an ancient stool to sit on,
he hears the sound of the slow jazz
memories haunt him about his family.

He puts on his black coat.
He can’t help but remember
that an eternity ago it was his dad’s.

When he hears the sounds
of the rushing dark blue waves
outside the window
he can’t help but remember
the family visits to a house
on a river far, far away.

–Elias Woolsey, age 13


By Ellen Gilliam, Director, Portland Public Library Burbank Branch

Lots going on at the Burbank Branch of Portland Public Library here at 377 Stevens Ave. The Deering neighborhood squirrels are chattering about the following:

Update on the Burbank Renovation Project. The long awaited remodeling of the Burbank Branch is on track to begin this spring! After some unexpected delays while final plans were made about infrastructure improvements (new energy efficient windows and HVAC systems), we are finally able to say with some certainty that the project will commence within the next few months. A specific timeline is being developed now and closure dates for the branch will be announced as soon as details have been confirmed. We appreciate the patience and goodwill of all our faithful Burbank users.   Continue reading RENOVATION


by Evening Reverie

GEMINI  May 21–June 20

Archetype: The Twins | Element: Air

Talk to yourself much? How’s that inner twin treating you lately? Mean? Caustic? Lot’s of should’s? Stop it NOW NOW and again NOW. That evil clone will slay your soul, and you can’t afford to lose that, especially NOW, what with gorgeous life spread out all around like a flooding plain. Swim, float, kayak, wade in, all in your own time and choosing. Keep it up, you’ll love it, and so will everyone around you. It’s gonna be a good year.

SAGITTARIUS November 23–December 22

Archetype: The Archer | Element: Fire

Please grow up and claim your adulthood. You arrived a long time ago. Cut out the kid stuff. No one is charmed by your gamine act. You are the ultimate master of your story. OK, maybe not but please at least pretend. We see you are still an apprentice in your own life but with a new costume, a new shtick, we might believe you, and then you might believe you. Acting! It’s easy, really, and you know that ’cause you’ve been on stage since the womb.

CANCER  June 21–July 22

Archetype: The Crab | Element: Water

Do no harm, starting with yourself, and that ever-so delicate and soft soul. You got the stuff to know what you want to do, for you and those pesky OTHER PEOPLE. You think they need you to be a certain way? To hell with that. Be your way, cuddle up with that, and say, I get to live my life. You got the stuff, you got the love, you got the strength. Give lots of that to your peeps, but keep the best for you. Otherwise, the plane you and your tribe are travelling in goes DOWN.

CAPRICORN  December 23–January 20

Archetype: The Fish-Tailed Goat | Element: Earth

Brood much? Isn’t this a good time for it? Freezing grey skies, treacherous sidewalks. Go dark, go deep, and go alone. Think other people might help? Don’t count on it. This is an amble through the night that only you can take. Snf. Still, inner work is your territory, you weird goat fish, and I feel sure that come spring, the stars of the dark night will beam their light out of your fingers, tongue, toes and eyes. It will all be worth it. You better get some Snickers though.

LEO  July 23–August 21

Archetype: The Lion | Element: Fire

You conceited wretch. Have to get that in there because you need to hear it. But really, this is YOUR YEAR. Get out the script, the pen, the brush, and the tools, man, and act, write, paint, construct. The well of creation is bubbling up and if you don’t let it vent, you will end up a moldy spud on a couch. You know how you say stuff everyone wishes they would say but have better judgment than you because it results in job loss and divorce? No worries for you. Let it rip. There will be applause. You conceited wretch.

AQUARIUS  January 21–February 19

Archetype: The Water Bearer | Element: Air

You ole’ risk taker, you. Taking anyone along on the ride this time? Do. SO MUCH MORE FUN. You’ll have to collaborate. I know how you hate that but it’s good for you. See, you might love it, or even fall in love! Troublesome as that is, sharing ’n all. Keep in mind others have brilliance just like you think you do, and it might rub off on you if you let it. Them. Then get out the bullhorn and SHOW US THE WAY. You always do, and we need that.

VIRGO  August 22–September 23

Archetype: The Virgin | Element: Earth

I know you like to be of use, dearest. You are smart, articulate, organized and neat. And you give such good advice. But here’s the thing: no one wants it. You are hosing us down with the benefit of You. Your overpowering ego is too much in charge. Tamp that monster down, and aim the hose on your own insufferable know-it-all self. Will it clean you up? No? That’s EGO again. Ignore it (if you can) and just hang with us without tidying up our lives for us. You are a hoot.

PISCES  February 20–March 20

Archetype: The Fish | Element: Water

The dreaming depths of you are hard to articulate, yes? You feel it before you know it for a long time, and that is frustrating. Kinda feels like gasping. That’s OK, though, you have plenty of water to float in and water brings joy. Which then brings clean gulps of air, and then, answers. No one needs to know your methods. THEY DON’T WANT TO KNOW. You’ll just freak ’em out and they’ll give you the poker face, which means, in your case, stop talking now.

LIBRA  September 24–October 23

Archetype: The Scales | Element: Air

Good fences make good neighbors, but your side of the fence needs repairs. You gotta be solid in knowing who YOU are separately from the roles your people impose on you. That’s THEIR thing. “You gotta play your own kinda music, sing your own special song.” Mama Cass. Speak up and ask for absolutely everything you need. People love to be asked for help, so Do That. They will comply happily (well maybe; they do owe you but people are disappointing).

ARIES  March 21 – April 19

Archetype: The Ram | Element: Fire

We love your fire. When you burn, we feel it, and when you take up arms, we cheer. Oh, I mean we cringe and take cover. We see your eyes, and we think, “uh oh.” Choosing your wars, that is not your strong suit. Because everything is a war with y’all. Discernment, my impressive friend, is key, and so is reflection. Into your mirror, and into your soul. Every day. You’ll see! No more scary.

SCORPIO  October 24–November 22

Archetype: The Giant Scorpion | Element: Water

You thrill us all with your enthusiasms. Your mind is super absorbent and you hold on to it, not like the rest of us. You got that long-term memory DOWN. The rest of us forget pretty much everything soon as we hear it. Why then do you self annihilate? We are so impressed, so why aren’t you? You smother us with your prevarications and we are exhausted. Your amazingness makes us feel alive. Cut it out, focus on that, and be PROUD.

TAURUS  April 20 – May 20

Archetype: The Bull | Element: Earth

Find a padded room, because your peace and beauty loving insides are going to be pressed to near death, like the witches in Salem. That’s what immobility gets you. You are an ungulate about to be tipped. Once that humiliation is past, struggle to your hooves and be not afraid. Stare mildly back at your torturers and be steadfast in your truth. Those you love will sigh and say, yep, you’re never gonna change. But that is why they love you.