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Community News – South Portland Public Library to host Passamaquoddy Language Keeper – Press Herald

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South Portland Public Library will host a presentation by Passamaquoddy Language Keeper Dwayne Tomah on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Tomah is a teacher of the Passamaquoddy language and culture, and the youngest fluent speaker of the Passamaquoddy tribe in the world. He will lead a discussion at the South Portland Public Library, 482 Broadway, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Dwayne Tomah Courtesy image
Tomah will open with a Passamaquoddy song, lead participants through the history of the Doctrine of Discovery and how it’s still playing out today and then move into a safe space to field questions directed to a modern day Passamaquoddy man.
He has dedicated his life to working on the language and cultural preservation and is currently working with the Library of Congress on translating the Passamaquoddy Wax Cylinders, which are the first recordings in the world of native languages.
The program is sponsored by the South Portland Public Library, Friends of the South Portland Public Library, and the Maine Humanities Council.
Elks Lodge conducts school supply drive
For the past month, a School Supply Drive was undertaken at the Portland Elks Lodge 188. Three elementary schools in Cumberland County were contacted and asked what supplies would be helpful to teachers in their classrooms.


Brown Elementary School representatives, from left, Natalie Dunn, school secretary, Lisa Burns, principal, and Beth Dolley, school counselor, accept school supply donations from Stephanie Ingraham and Barbara Pileggi, members of the Portland Elks Lodge 188 board of directors.  Courtesy photo
The three schools, Longfellow School in Portland, Sacarrappa School in Westbrook, and Brown Elementary School in South Portland all responded with items that would be helpful: crayons, washable markers, colored pencils, glue sticks, pencils, erasers, Kleenex, hand wipes and snacks.
Members of Lodge 188 were given the list and asked to make donations by Sept. 30. At the same time, the Lodge applied for a $4,000 Beacon Grant to purchase extra supplies (electric pencil sharpeners, dry erase marker sets, construction paper, copy paper, bulk snacks) and warm winter clothing. Members of Elks Lodge 188 came through with hundreds of items as well as cash donations.
Deliveries to the three schools took place on Oct. 12-13, and the three schools received a combined $6,000 in school supplies and warm winter clothing.
Ketcha Outdoors hires new executive director
The Ketcha Outdoors board of directors announced Laragh Kavanaugh as the new executive director for the organization. According to an Oct. 14 news release, “Laragh brings over 20 years of leadership experience to the role of executive director, both as an outdoor educator and as a director at an international nonprofit. From guiding youth wilderness expeditions for Outward Bound, to leading international programs in India and Ghana, to directing operations for Maine-based Council on International Educational Exchange, Laragh’s breadth of nonprofit management and youth development experience will serve Ketcha’s community well.”
“Ketcha Outdoors plays an important role in our community and builds caring, confident youth who respect the natural world,” Kavanaugh said in an email. “I am committed to delivering safe and high-quality programming, enhancing communication and building inclusive communities. Having grown up in Maine and since becoming a parent, I understand the positive impact the natural world has on youth and how important access to quality outdoor programs is to Maine families and communities.”
Since 1964, Ketcha Outdoors has provided children of all ages with connections to the land and the confidence to create their sense of place in the world. The year-round nonprofit outdoor education organization is most well known in the community as Camp Ketcha in Scarborough. The Scarborough location offers a summer day camp, preschool and pre-k programs, after-school care, and other nature-based youth programming. The organization also administers the Portland Gear Hub, a nonprofit bike and outdoor gear shop in downtown Portland, which increases access to the outdoors through affordable, reliable gear, and education. The Gear Hub offers free earn-a-bike programming to youth and adults, teaches bike maintenance classes, and sells refurbished bikes, camping gear, and cross-country skis.
“Having received over 70 applications for executive director, the Ketcha Outdoors community feels very fortunate to have Laragh Kavanaugh accept this exciting challenge of leading the Scarborough and Portland campuses into our next chapter of service to the greater Portland community,”  said Jay Evans, Ketcha Outdoors board president, in an email. “With Laragh’s thoughtful leadership and strategic mindset, Ketcha is well poised to serve Maine’s children, families, and individuals for many years to come.”
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