September 14, 2006

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Manchester Publisher's Note: Glendi!
By†Jody Reese

It is time to break out of your routine, get out and see some neighbors and eat grilled meat, honey-laden pastries and stuffed peppers. Thatís right, itís Glendi time.

St. Georgeís Cathedral has put on Glendi for more than a quarter century now and each year itís one of the few chances to see old friends and eat some of the areaís best food.

Festivals have had a hard time of it in Manchester. Itís tough for a group of volunteers to organize an event and then to keep the excitement up year after year. Then thereís the need for money.

Glendi has bucked this trend thanks to the close community of St. Georgeís, the hard work of its members and the leadership of New Hampshire Labor Commissioner George Copadis. Copadis is replaced this year by Manchester developer Richard Anagnost, who like Copadis understand the importance of Glendi to the entire region.

Like any event that has thrived for a generation, Glendi faces challenges. Chief among them is the need for more volunteers. Itís true that Glendi is a fundraising event for St. Georgeís. But now itís more than that.

St. Georgeís itself is used free-of-charge as a community center by area residents who have no connection with the church. And some of the money raised goes to other area charities, such as the Greater Manchester Boys and Girls Club, that support the entire community. The folks at St. Georgeís understand no man ó no church ó is an island.

So if the spirit ó or just the need to be a good person ó moves you, give the folks over at St. Georgeís a call and see how you can help for next year (itís too late for this year). It might be a great chance to learn how to make some of those wonderful Greek dishes and a way to get involved in your community without writing a check.

***

Safe parking

You may have read in the Manchester Daily Express about the two separate stabbing and shooting incidents at the Vine Street parking garage (next to Manchester District Court House) over the weekend. It was a clear display of what can go wrong in our downtown.

It should go without saying that for Manchester to grow to be the destination city for southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts it has to be a safe place to visit. And even though it is safe now, these types of violent incidents cause unwanted coverage from television news crews that canít help but paint Manchester in a poor light.

Unlike more complex neighborhood crime on the West Side or in the center city neighborhoods, the violence that happens downtown is almost always related to the alcohol that has just recently been consumed. Unfortunately, the state isnít going to let bars stay open past 1:30 a.m., which would reduce the number of people pushed out onto the street at one time and thus reduce the likelihood of conflict, so something else has to be done.

It might be a good idea for the city to place police at that garage (and the Pearl Street parking lot behind Elm Street) on busy nights when the bars let out or have InTown Manchester hire security guards. Better lighting might help as well. In the end, the solution should involve the bars too ó perhaps with a number of them sending personnel over to make sure the lots are cleared in an orderly manner.

Whatever the solution, this shouldnít be one of those problems that the city just lets languish until it happens again. Letís get out in front of this thing.


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