Stroll through any Portland neighborhood this summer and you’ll notice a new kind of lawn ornament sprouting up next to the usual crops of peonies and daylilies. The small, simple yard signs, which are adorned with a picture of a bee and the words, “A BEE SAFE YARD,” and “no chemical pesticides or fertilizers” are the brainchild of Avery Kamila and Maggie Knowles, co-founders of the group Portland Protectors. For the past two years, the group has been working to raise awareness of the dangers of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Now, they are lobbying the City Council to pass an ordinance banning the use of such products in Portland. Residents who display the yard signs have already made a commitment to forgo chemical products in favor of organic interventions. They are also sending a strong message to their City Council members that they support a pesticide and fertilizer ordinance. Continue reading CITIZEN GROUP HOPES TO MAKE PORTLAND A BEE SAFE CITY→
Yang is a junior at The Maine Girls’ Academy (formerly Catherine McAuley High School.) This article is part of a program at the school which connects students with mentors in the community. Yang, who is interested in communication, chose to partner with the Deering Squirrel.
As a Chinese student, a common question for me is, Do you have General Tso’s Chicken in China? No, we don’t have that in China. Then, What about Mongolian Beef ? No, we don’t have that either; that’s an American Chinese food. You guys must have fortune cookies right? Actually, they are offered in American-Chinese restaurants. The next question they will ask is which school I go to, and I say, The Maine Girls’ Academy (MGA) Then, there is one question they will absolutely ask me, which is: Why would I decide to go to America to be an exchange student?
Simon Williams has been staring at the wall and dreaming. A Portland native, the young Ocean Avenue Elementary School art teacher has had his eyes on the long brick expanse of Rosemont Market’s Brighton Avenue store for years. Williams dreamed of a community project that would engage local students, enrich the neighborhood he grew up in, and call attention to Portland public school art programs. This June, his dream became one of the most uniquely collaborative public art installations in the city. Continue reading HUNDREDS OF AREA STUDENTS HAVE A HAND IN NEIGHBORHOOD MURAL→
The first thing you notice when you walk through the front doors of Catherine McAuley High School is a giant bulletin board emblazoned with WOW! The board, which is updated regularly, highlights the achievements of individual McAuley students. On the day this reporter visited the school, the list of accomplishments was impressive. One student had recently been chosen as a National Merit Scholar finalist. Another had spent the summer doing volunteer work in China. A third had signed a letter of intent to play basketball for a prestigious university. Three more had been selected for the prestigious District 2 Chorus Festival. Looking at the students celebrated on the WOW! board, and at the others gathered nearby to study and quietly socialize after a long day of classes, it would be hard to guess that the school is in the midst of one of the most significant transitions in its history. On July 1, after a nearly six decade-long affiliation with the Sisters of Mercy, McAuley will formally cut its ties with the Sisters and with the Roman Catholic Church. Continue reading MCAULEY LOOKS TO THE FUTURE WITHOUT THE SISTERS OF MERCY→
Deering Center Resident Takes Cultural Mission to Cuba
Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” In the case of Deering Center resident Eve Sawyer’s recent trip to Cuba, it might be more accurate to say that the journey began with a single Cha Cha.
“The more we can do to encourage people to make a meal a social, family or communal event, the better.” That’s Chef Bryan Dame of Rosemont Market & Bakery on a recent Friday night in the Rosemont Kitchen at 559 Brighton Avenue. The occasion is the opening of the Rosemont Cooking School and launch of the Pasta 101 series of evening cooking classes. For this first class, nineteen students of diverse ages and cooking experience are gathered around a giant butcher block table adorned with the ingredients (semolina flour, local eggs, olive oil, water, fresh basil, chives, corn meal) and the tools that will demystify the process of making fresh pasta. Continue reading ROSEMONT OPENS A COOKING SCHOOL→
On January 10 the world sat in collective shock and sadness as we heard of David Bowie’s death. Only two days after his 69th birthday the pop and rock icon passed away from the cancer that he had been struggling with for 18 months. From his first album (David Bowie) to his last (Blackstar), Bowie has been influencing new and old musicians for decades. His music has touched us all, fan or not, in someway, and even after his passing, he is still with us. Continue reading STARMAN→
It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year since the Deering Squirrel made its debut. Over the past twelve months we’ve learned so much and met so many wonderful people. We would like to thank our amazing contributors for helping to make this crazy dream possible: Evie Ford, Anne Schaff, Nathan Hall, Fleur Hopper, Michele Praught, Ellen Gilliam, Deirdre McClure, Gail Belt, Wayne Cowart, Isaac Van Voorst Van Beest, Richard Farnsworth, Erik Jorgensen, Anne Haskell. We would also like to thank Elizabeth Tarasevich for helping to get us off the ground. We are especially grateful to our advertisers for taking a chance on our little paper and helping it to thrive. As an all-volunteer enterprise we are proud to be able to say that all our ad revenue goes directly to printing and production costs. On a personal note, I would like to thank Dorothy Royle, our design and layout guru, who has put in countless hours ensuring that each issue of the Squirrel is a pleasure to look at and read. Finally, we would like to thank all of you for taking the time to pick up our paper. We can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring.
–Jenny Siler, Publisher and Editor
Celebrating and informing Deering Center and surrounding neighborhoods of Portland, ME