Oakenshawe June Updates

Happy June Oakenshawe Neighbors,

This month’s Oakenshawe Improvement Association (OIA) Newsletter Update includes:

  • Contractor Recommendations
  • Happy Pollinators on the Green Space
  • Green Space Summer Spruce Up: July 22
  • Save the Dates & Community Updates
  • Oakenshawe Opines: feat. Tanja Dresp

Contractor Recommendations

Have you had a good experience with a contractor, handyman, landscaper or house cleaner?  Are you willing to share with your neighbors? The Oakenshawe Improvement Association often gets emails from members asking for suggestions for repairs, home improvements or just help with the yard.

We have created this google doc for folks to add names and contact info for the ones you have liked and recommend.  Help your neighbors and help a contractor with new business.Be sure to include your name and contact info! 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11O2MFdA2L-baXLWVzym8VNKLc1E3FL5zRxBQvJYeWaY/edit?usp=sharing

Happy Pollinators on the Green Space

Make sure to check out the pollinator garden on the Oakenshawe Green Space this summer. Thank you to the volunteers who created the garden. Every safe space for our littlest neighbors counts. Whenever possible, consider native plants and avoid pesticides and herbicides which can have unintended consequences on beneficial plants and animals as well as our soil and water quality.


Green Space Summer Spruce Up: July 22

Come enjoy your neighbors on Saturday, July 22 from 9-11am as you weed, spread mulch around trees and prune! Have fun and enjoy some lemonade and a baked good to sweeten the deal. Volunteers are needed to:

  • weed around trees
  • spread mulch around 7 trees
  • cut back a few bushes
  • trim ornamental grasses
  • weed the pollinator garden

Speaking of the pollinator garden, go explore it and identify the plants. Whoever submits the names of the most non-invasive or native flowers we should keep and/or the most invasive plants that we should consider removing will be recognized as a pollinator warrior in the next newsletter. Tip: you can get a phone app to help you ID the plants!

Please bring paper bags, weeders, rakes, trimmers, shovels, gloves and your phone if you can. 

Contact Louisa Creamer at louisa.creamer@gmail.com with questions or if you would like to volunteer for a certain job.


Save the Dates

Below are some important dates in 2023 that you should add to your calendar. 

  • Sunday, June 25: EUP Monthly Cleanup
  • Monday, July 17: OIA Quarterly Meeting
  • Saturday, July 22: Green Space Spruce Up
  • Saturday, July 29: EUP Monthly Cleanup
  • Saturday, September 9: Annual Oakenshawe Block Party 
  • Monday, October 16: OIA Quarterly Meeting

Community Updates

Time to Start Planning the Oakenshawe Block Party

The OIA Block Party happens the Saturday after Labor Day. Are you interested in helping plan and organize this year’s event? Contact Karen Stokes at karen.stokes2@gmail.com.  

Councilmember Ramos Weekly Newsletter

Councilmember Ramos sends out a weekly District 14 newsletter (Oakenshawe falls within Council District 14) that includes updates on legislation in City Council, events, and more. This is a good resource to stay up to date on local news. Sign up for the Councilmember’s weekly newsletter on her website.


Oakenshawe Opines

Where Misery Lives by Tanja Dresp

Driving through parts of this city

That I normally do not see,

I think to myself

This is where misery lives.

Streets broken, pavement cracked and patched over and over,

running like painful scars through the flesh of this city.

Homes abandoned, row after row,

windows and doors boarded up.

Dirt and debris, crumpled paper, cans, bottles, fast-food containers and trash on the ground.

Pawn shops and liquor stores on street corners everywhere.

“We need to stop killing each other,” I read on one store sign.

At the street corners, at bus stops, on house stoops, there are people, of all ages, but mostly male and black, sitting about, walking around, seemingly aimless, with nothing to do.  Waiting, walking, talking, shaking hands, greeting each other.  In tattered clothing, with tired bodies and empty eyes. Waiting? For what?

Where three firefighters look helplessly down on a black body writhing and rolling on the broken pavement. Not knowing, is he sick, a drug addict, even dangerous?  Or just another tattered human in a place where misery lives.  Does his life matter?

Where bodies are shot and killed,

Veins are injected, where hope loses hope.   When will it end?

This is also where love and friendship and family lives.

An adult hand, dragging a little toddler behind, walking too fast, little feet trying to keep up, tripping, a curious bright face with observant eyes, full of life.  What does he see?

A grandmother with a glimmer in her eye, a neat skirt, with resolute steps, proudly pushing a stroller with a little girl inside, happy pigtails popping in the air.  Grocery bags hanging from the stroller trying to get home.   Where do they go?

Two girls in their bright school uniforms, chatting and laughing on their way to school, trying to avoid the cracked pavement, to not to trip on the broken road, to keep themselves sane and safe.  What will they learn?

This is where hope tries to survive among the misery, I think.

Thank you to Tanja for sharing their poetry. If you would like to be featured, send a local business review, poem, or story for the next newsletter. Submissions can be sent to John Hillegass at johnhillegass@gmail.com. Publication and editing decisions are at the discretion of the OIA Board.


OIA Block Captains: only a couple blocks to go

OIA’s Block Captains help communicate with neighbors, especially those who may not be on this newsletter. Thank you to the amazing volunteers listed below. Hopefully, most of you have already met your Block Captain. 

BlockCaptainBlockCaptain
BarclayVanessa ProtoSouthway 200-300sJessica Kohnen
BirkwoodRachael EdginSouthway 400sShannon Frede
CalvertLaura UrbanEUP 200sEd & Karen Stokes*
CalvinDavon PulliamEUP Guilford HallNeed Volunteer
The CarrolltonNeed VolunteerEUP 301-320Need Volunteer
Guilford Terrace (Even side)Ben WrightEUP 321+Need Volunteer
Guilford Terrace (Odd side)Co-Captains: Marcy Feeney & Anne KernUniversity Place (Odds)Robin  Prescott
Homewood TerraceLeah GlasheenUniversity Place (Evens)Amelia Jamison
Oakenshawe PlaceJenny SorelVenableDavon Pulliam**

*Ed and Karen Stokes have agreed to help temporarily on the 200 block of EUP until we can find a permanent block captain.

**Davon Pulliam has agreed to help temporarily on Venable until we can find a permanent block captain.

If you know anyone who lives on a block without a captain, ask them if they are interested in volunteering or can think of a friendly neighbor who might be interested. Block Captains greet & welcome new neighbors, drop off flyers ahead of quarterly OIA meetings, seek volunteers for events, and gather contact information to keep OIA’s neighbor database up-to-date. If you are interested, please reach out to John at johnhillegass@gmail.com


On behalf of the OIA Board, we hope you have a wonderful June and we look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood.

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