Young people can, and do, make a difference.

York Habitat reports ...

---In July, members of the York Suburban High School football team helped to gut the inside of a home on East Poplar Street, a project that required disassembling and removing a 2-ton furnace. Younger members of the team worked to improve the exterior of a house on Princess Street.

---Students from Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote, Pa., helped clean up Habitat's warehouse on Beaver Street. They also helped with the Poplar Street project.

---Currently, Girl Scouts from Troop 1813 in Floral, N.Y., are in York and helping with the Poplar Street project. They're staying at York College.

Since 1985, legions of Habitat volunteers have rehabbed or built more than 100 homes for deserving families, all of whom have invested at least 225 hours of "sweat equity" in the dwelling.

Not only do the homes provide a better life for families, they have also generated $168,000 in taxes for various municipalities in York County.

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Have you any idea what it costs a middle-class family to raise a child to age 17?

After factoring in inflation, the cost is $295,000, according to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, as reported by the John H. Bowman group, Realtors.

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Worried about your blood pressure?

Eat more bananas.

That's the advice from Dr. Janet Bond Brill, a nationally recognized expert on nutrition and the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

In the "Bottom Line" newsletter, she declares ...

"Bananas are among the best sources of potassium, a mineral that's crucial for blood pressure control. A typical banana contains about 450 mg of potassium, or about 10 percent of the amount of potassium most people should aim for each day.

"Potassium acts like a 'water pill.' It's a natural diuretic that enables the kidneys to excrete more sodium while also relaxing blood vessels -- both functions help control blood pressure."

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For better brain power, stay physically active!

That's the word from Senior Blue, stating ...

"Daily physical activity can help to improve blood flow to your brain. Recent research suggests that regular mild to moderate exercise protects and improves your thinking. It may even help you grow new brain cells. Regular exercise also helps you stay alert and sleep better, too."

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License plate in town ... DRTY DZN.

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Want to attract butterflies to your garden, learn how to grow tomatoes, how to grow grapes, how to compost?

If so, head to John Rudy Park for a morning of learning ... and fun ... 9 a.m.-noon Saturday.

Rain or shine, master gardeners will answer your questions and examine any problem plants you bring with you.

The Garden Open House is the joint project of the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners, the York County Juvenile Probation Department and York County Parks & Recreation.

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Wake Up!

That's the exhibit "highlighting some of the most interesting and innovative alarm clocks ever created," says the National Watch & Clock Museum in Columbia.

The museum adds ...

"From their earliest versions to the most modern rolling or talking types found on your nightstand, the purpose of the alarm clock has not changed. How would you like to get awakened by a pull on your toe or to the flame of a match? Come have a look at these and other unbelievable ways to wake up."

The hours: noon-4 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Columns by Hank Merges, a local writer, appear Tuesday and Thursday in The York Dispatch. Reach Hank at hmerges@yorkdispatch.com or 854-1575.