Online community brings the ‘bark’ to Concord’s White Park

  • Megan De Vorsey with her dog Toko visit White Park. By day, De Vorsey is a public defender for Merrimack County. But in the mornings and evenings, those walking their canine companions at White Park know her as the operator of the Dogs of White Park Facebook page. Caitlin Andrews / Monitor staff

  • Sasha, one of the Dogs of White Park, who moved with their owner to California. Megan De Vorsey said the dog walkers who frequent White Park had a going away party for Sasha and her human and still check on them from time to time. —Courtesy Megan De Vorsey

  • Stanley. —Courtesy Megan De Vorsey

  • Cosmo. —Courtesy Megan De Vorsey

  • Merci. —Courtesy Megan De Vorsey

Monitor staff
Sunday, October 22, 2017

By day, Megan De Vorsey is known as a public defender for Merrimack County.

But in the early mornings and evenings around White Park, De Vorsey is known by different titles. “Toko’s mom,” for instance, Toko being her rescued terrier. Or, “the lady who runs Dogs of White Park.”

That’s right, everyone – there’s a Facebook page cataloging the pooches of White Park, where you can get an almost daily fix of the four-legged friends who frequent the park. The page has about 300 followers, and is pretty well-loved by Concord’s community of dog walkers, De Vorsey said.

“People tell me they check on it while they’re away,” De Vorsey said, Toko’s leash in hand. “A woman who moved away to Florida recently just checked in.”

It may sound silly, but having a community based around the pooches of the park makes sense, De Vorsey said. After all, people usually walk their dogs at the same time, at the same place. It’s natural to run into those same people and to get to know each other through pets.

“I’ll come up to people and ask to take their dog’s picture, and they’ll tell me they’ve heard of the page,” De Vorsey said. “I didn’t really think too much about it. It’s just a sense of community. It’s kind of like a ‘Humans of New York,’ in the sense of, ‘Who are you living around?’ ”

Like any community, there are celebrations and sadness. De Vorsey recounted the story of a University of New Hampshire School of Law student who owned a dog named Sasha and was a frequent visitor of the park. When Sasha’s human moved away, De Vorsey organized a going-away party at the park, complete with coffee cake and hot drinks. When another well-known dog had to be put down due to illness, De Vorsey organized another gathering the morning of the animal’s death to say goodbye.

So next time you’re in need of a quick cuteness fix, be sure to check out De Vorsey’s Facebook page; she updates it almost every day. Or just head to White Park and do some dog watching.

Get your leaf on

It’s that time of year lawn owners dread: The leaves are falling faster than you can rake them and collect them into tidy, jumpable piles. But fear not: The city will begin its annual leaf collection routes next week, running from Oct. 30 through Dec. 8, weather permitting.

Concord and Penacook residents participating in the program should leave their unbagged leaves at the curb by the start of the program. Crews typically sweep through the city only once, so be sure not to miss out.

Don’t like to leave collection up to chance? Once the city starts picking up leaves, a collection map will become available on the city’s website showing where the three collection crews were the previous day, letting organized leaf peepers better predict where the city is going to go next (and giving them more time to prepare).

But be warned – much like this weather we’ve been having, collection routes are subject to change. Best to get your piles together early.

Tricks and treats

Trick-or-treating hours will take place in Penacook on Oct. 30 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. In Concord, trick-or-treating will take place on Oct. 31 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

If you can’t wait that long to get dressed up and rake in boatloads of candy (Who can?), then be sure to check out InTown Concord’s Halloween Howl this Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The event will shut down Main Street, and in addition to businesses offering trick-or-treating, Parks & Recreation will put on activities, and the YCMA will bring back the haunted bus. There are even rumors of a haunted house.

Road closure

West Portsmouth Street will be closed Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the final paving of the Interstate 93 Exit 16 roundabout project.

Interstate highway traffic will be diverted to either I-93 Exit 17 for northbound travelers or I-93 Exit 15 for southbound travelers.

Drivers on Mountain Road/East Side Drive will be allowed to travel through the roundabout, but will not be able to travel westbound to access I-93, the end of West Portsmouth Street, the Foundry Business Park or the Locke Road business park. Anyone wishing to reach these locations will need to get on I-93 at one of the other exits.

Shawmut Street will also be closed Monday, from Mountain Road to Winthrop Street, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Flaggers and signage will be out to direct traffic appropriately.

Election information

Sample and absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk’s office for the Nov. 7 municipal elections. If you are a registered voter or will register to vote at least 10 days in advance of an election, and are unable to vote at the polls on Election Day due to absence from the city or physical disability, you may obtain an absentee ballot from the city clerk. Either pick up your ballot at city hall or write to request one.

The Monitor will host three moderated candidate forums on Tuesday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m at Concord High School. Mayoral candidates and at-large city council candidates will take the stage from 6:30 to 7:20 p.m., school board candidates in contested races will take the stage from 7:30 to 8:20, and city council candidates in contested wards will take the stage from 8:30 to 9:20.

Have a question for your candidate? There’s still time to send a question to news@cmonitor.com; or, just show up to the forum, and there will be pen and paper to write a question down. If we like it, we’ll ask it.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)