I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving despite all the irregularities and unfortunate situations that have been dealt upon us.

This week marks one year that I’ve been writing the Derry Diary column. It’s hard to believe that time has gone that fast. However, what a year it has been.

I could never have imagined that I’d be writing this column in the first place (haha, I hear you and I get it), especially after the year we all have experienced.

I’m not going to lie or sugarcoat anything, but many times it has been very difficult to write this column under the circumstances. A lot of times, I literally had to manufacture things to write about. But thankfully for the good people of this community who provided me with helpful information, I was able to squeak by.

So, I would like to thank everyone who has helped and supported me throughout my first year of writing the column.

It is an honor and a pleasure to serve, you, the readers of our community!

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The greatest gift of all for a child is the gift of learning. A unique opportunity to enrich the lives of the youngest amongst us with the gift of learning is now available. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is now available to the children of Derry Area School District. This program, established in 1995, provides quality, age-appropriate books once a month to children from birth until their fifth birthday.

The books are selected by a committee of education and child development experts. The books are free to the children and mailed directly to them each month. Thanks to grants from Latrobe Elks Lodge No. 907 and the Derry Area School District Foundation, we are able to register our first group of recipients. However, our goal is not to register some of our children. Our goal is to register every eligible child in Derry Area for this program.

We’re hoping to fund a large number of our recipients through sponsorships. It costs just $25 to sponsor a child for a full year of membership in the Imagination Library. That’s less than $2.10 a month for a child to have a high-quality book mailed directly to his or her home! Anyone wishing to give the gift of books can send their donation to: Derry Area School District Foundation, Attn. Brenda Bitz, 982 North Chestnut Street Ext., Derry, PA 15627. Please memo your check “Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library” or “DPIL.”

Also, please include your email address so you can receive updates on the books that children receive each month and other facts about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, early literacy and events for Derry Area’s Pre-K population. For questions concerning donations, please contact David McCleary at dmccleary@dasd.us or call 724-694-2780, ext. 3312. This is a unique and special way to impact the lives of our very youngest Trojans and help them improve their quality of life and chances for success in school and beyond. We hope everyone will find it in their hearts to give the gift of books to the youngest children of Derry Area.

If anyone has any questions concerning registration, please contact Barbie Jones at bjones@dasd.us or call (724-694-1400, ext 1377. Please also watch for information and articles on the project in the Derry Diary and on social media.

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Derry Township Tax Collector Debby Zello writes in with an important announcement:

“I hope everyone is doing what they can to stay healthy and safe during this COVID-19 pandemic. Just want to keep everyone updated on wants going on for real estate and per capita tax updates. First, the penalty period for your spring, county/township real estate taxes, has been waived and the face amount is due by Dec. 31. Secondly, there have been no due date changes to your fall, school real estate taxes, face amount is until Nov. 30, and penalty until Dec. 31.

“Next, our office is currently open for in-person payments when you follow the guidelines posted on the administration building doors. Masks are required. Should the office close again due the COVID-19 pandemic, please mail your payments to: 978 N. Chestnut St. Ext., Derry, PA 15627. If a receipt is required. include the entire statement and a self-addressed stamped envelope. I would suggest to call the office (at) 724-694-5115 for any office hour updates before coming to make a payment. As long as the administration building remains open, there is a red locked box outside of the tax office for real estate and per capita payments. Payments need to be in a sealed envelope when placing them in the box. If you would like a receipt, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope...You need to make sure it is postmarked by Nov. 30 by the USPS to avoid the penalty charge.”

Zello noted that the administration building will be closed through Monday, Nov. 30.

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The regular meeting of the Derry Area School District will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, in the middle school auditorium. The meeting will be livestreamed via YouTube for those wishing to attend remotely. Any questions for the board should be submitted in advance to board secretary Scott Chappell by 4 p.m. Dec. 1.

Please submit questions to schappell@dasd.us and include your full name on all correspondence. Questions will be read and answered in the order in which they are received. The agenda and link for the meeting will be available on the district website.

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Derry Borough residents are reminded to not blow or rake your leaves into the street as this is a violation of MS4 regulatory policy. Leaves building up in the streets can create water collection on streets and clog storm drains which can cause hazards.

The borough’s MS4 ordinance notes that it’s a violation to put residential leaves and grass clippings onto streets. Fines can be assessed.

Additionally, Derry Borough will continue to pick up bagged leaves weekly on Mondays through Thursdays until Thursday, Dec. 3. The public works department asks kindly for our residents to please put the bags in the front of your property for pick up. Please be mindful of separating from your refuse.

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In case you missed it, earlier this week, Derry Area School District Superintendent Eric Curry released a letter to Derry Area School District families concerning required travel restrictions/protocols:

“Dear Derry Area families:

We are sharing with you the most recent required travel restrictions/protocols released on Tuesday, Nov. 17, by Dr. Rachel Levine, the Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

  • The Secretary of Health issued an order that took effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Nov. 20;
  • This order requires anyone who visits from another state to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering Pennsylvania;
  • If someone cannot get a COVID-19 test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania;
  • Pennsylvanians visiting other states are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their return to the commonwealth, or to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania. This does NOT apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment;
  • For more information, view the following guide: PA COVID-19 Information for Travelers

“Obviously, these new orders will have a significant impact on all schools in the commonwealth and more specifically the Derry Area School District. We are making a good faith effort and walking a thin line daily trying to keep our students in school for face-to-face instruction knowing that for these students and their families this is the best educational model. If we have even a small number of students and/or staff members in quarantine for 14 days, or awaiting test results, it may be enough to force us to temporarily return to full remote instruction.

“Please take time to review the recent orders. I am asking that all strongly consider the need to travel in the coming days. Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.”

“Regards,

“Eric P. Curry”

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Have a great weekend!

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Derry Diary items may be emailed to liberoni@aol.com.

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