With the help of local gardening enthusiasts, some children in Derry are learning the valuable lesson that a well-tended patch of ground can yield a bountiful harvest.
Derry Garden Club members are working with children from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Derry on a community garden project, now in its second year. Recently, club members worked with about 20 children, planting seeds and transplanting young plants.
The worthy goal is to teach children to see how the garden evolves through the season as it is tended and also to offer lessons about healthy eating. Throughout the growing season, children will get to taste the fruits of their labor. For some, the taste of truly fresh vegetables may be a life-changing revelation.
In addition to the Garden Club, a number of local groups have been involved with the project. In preparation for the planting season, local Rotarians helped clear weeds and invasive plants from the garden site.
It's part of the Derry Garden Club's commitment to the national garden club effort to "Beautify Blight" and create community gardens for learning and enjoyment from otherwise not-so-attractive spots, club member and project advisor Blanche Garone told reporter Julie Huss.
Experts from Sticks and Stones Farm in Center Barnstead are helping set up a hydroponic garden as well. With hydroponics, plants can be rooted and grown without the use of traditional soil. Garone also hopes to involve horticulture students from Pinkerton Academy in the project.
Children, like tender seedlings, need nurturing to grow and thrive. The Garden Club project lets kids have fun and get their hands dirty, all while teaching valuable lessons about caring for the earth.
It's a good program. We wish them sunny skies and gentle rains.
Alert system gets the word out quickly
New technology is making it easier for police in Londonderry to get vital public safety messages to residents.
"We were using reverse 911," Eric Ledoux, an information technology specialist with the Police Department, told reporter Suzanne Laurent. "But it only covered land lines and a lot of people have switched over to using cell phones."
So Londonderry police have adopted a new alert program run through a computer-based system called Nixle. Residents who sign up for the program can have alerts sent to their computers by e-mail or to their cell phones by text message.
The system is used to get important information to residents quickly. It will be used to notify residents about dangerous weather, road closures and traffic problems caused by serious car accidents or heavy road construction. It can be used to alert residents to criminal activity in a given area and instruct them to stay either in or away from their homes when a dangerous offender may be on the loose.
The system can be invaluable in helping to find lost children or Alzheimer's patients.
There is no cost to the town or to residents using the service, although their cell-phone providers may charge them for receiving a text message.
Citizens can select the type of alerts they want sent to their cell phone and which they would rather receive in an e-mail. There are also options for receiving alerts from surrounding towns.
The more information people have about what is happening in their community, the better. People can use that information to make their own decisions on issues as simple as what route to take to work. They can use information about other dangers to assess the risk to themselves and their families.
Londonderry police should be commended for seeking ways to get that information to the public as efficiently as possible.
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