Old Arabi Neighborhood Association’s new board has been busy

As he has from the start, Sugar Fest Committee member Tom Braniff will coordinate the dessert competition.

It’s been a busy few weeks for the new Board of the Old Arabi Neighborhood Association, hosting a pair of meetings and gearing up for several events. Up next is the OANA Member Social to be held at the Valiant Lounge on Tuesday, August 29 from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Hospitality Chair Kelly McCartney promises a good time with great food from local restaurants and a chance to visit with friends and neighbors.

OANA is also gearing up for two of its signature events – Sippin’ in the Sunset and the Old Arabi Sugar Fest, both taking place at the Aycock Barn. The first Sippin’ of the season will be held from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 21, which coincides with the International Day of Peace. This season of Sippin’ is being co-chaired by Katherine Lemoine and Shelli Lafrance Gifford. The 9th annual Sugar Festival will take place on Saturday, October 14 from noon till 7:00 p.m. Interested sponsors or vendors for these events should visit oldarabi.org or call 278-4242 for information or an application.

At the most recent OANA General Meeting held at the Maumus Center, President Barry Lemoine showed a video produced for the school system when the building first opened. The twelve-minute segment highlighted the history of the Maumus Center, but more importantly its impact on educating the community over the decades.

Following the video, Lemoine introduced the new Officers and Board Members, and explained their roles and the committees each will chair. Alison Barrios will serves as Treasurer, while Vice President Charlie LeSage will be heading up the membership committee. LeSage’s efforts have already paid off, as 15 new households have joined the association in the last three weeks.

Board member Troy Barrios will chair the beautification committee and is currently working to assist the efforts of the Old Arabi Community Garden. The hope is to have new fences up by October in order to create a Pumpkin Patch for the fall.

Jenifer Heintz is the head of the new sunshine committee, responsible for sending congratulations or condolences for big life events to the membership. Ray Lauga will chair the Sugar Fest Committee, while Sal Cusimano will oversee the revision and updating of the association’s documents. As she has for the last several years, Linda Van Aman will serve as the OANA secretary.

Following those announcements, the floor was opened for questions and concerns. Several members cited safety issues caused by speeding cars and large trucks on residential streets. A request for the Board to draft a letter expressing these concerns was submitted, with a follow up to take place at the next general meeting to be held on Thursday, September 21 at 7:00 p.m.

Lemoine said he is pleased with the turnout at the meetings and the energy and spirit of volunteerism that the Board has seen thus far. “We are really excited that so many of our residents are sharing their time and talent to help Old Arabi,” Lemoine said. “It’s nice to have the help and support as we continue to promote and protect all of the good things in the neighborhood. We look forward to seeing all of our members at our upcoming social on Tuesday, August 29.”

The Aycock Barn in Old Arabi will host a pair of upcoming events: Sippin Into Sunset on Thursday, September 21 and Sugar Fest on Saturday, October 14.

The traditional donut eating contest will also be part of the Sugar Fest fun.

Hospitality Chair Kelly McCartney invites all OANA members to its August social at the Valiant Lounge on Tuesday, August 29 beginning at 5:00 p.m.