North Volunteer members of the Golan Heights Rescue Unit were called into action three times last weekend. The warm spring weather drew thousands of people up north to enjoy the flora before summer sets in and much of the vegetation dries up.One rescue operation involved a 15-year-old girl who fell from a height into the cold water at the Banyas spring. The girl struggled to the bank, but was unable to get out of the deep crevice. The rescue team, called out by the teen’s parents, strung ropes across the drop and managed to extricate her unharmed. In two other incidents in the region, a 25-year-old man was rescued from Gilabon Valley by helicopter after a large stone fell on his head; and a woman was treated for a suspected leg fracture at the Arbel Cliffs, near Tiberias.Scant Pessah food for needy At this time of the year, ahead of Pessah, one can normally see a large number of food collection points in Haifa’s shopping malls, and trucks loaded with food packages for the city’s disadvantaged residents.However, this year local charity organizations are having a hard time getting the public to contribute. A spokesman for the Yad Ezer Lahaver charity said that companies and people he has contacted in recent weeks – who contribute every year – said they were unable to provide donations this year due to the economic crisis.Meanwhile, the Ariel Behadar institution, run by the city’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi She’ar Yashuv Hacohen, will hold its annual Seder night meal for the city’s neediest residents, including the elderly, Holocaust survivors and solitary new olim.Central Region Spray helicopter gets ’em up early Residents of Herzliya who live near the airfield got a rude awakening last Sunday when a helicopter pilot started revving up his engine at 5:40 a.m. The disturbance was just the latest in a series of incidents connected to the airfield that have aroused residents’ ire.A representative of the local action committee against plans to extend the airfield said that “the noise increased and continued until the spray helicopter took off at 5:58.”A spokesperson for the Israel Airports Authority said a permit had been granted for the early flight as part of activities carried out for “agricultural purposes,” and that such permits are issued by the Transportation Ministry every year.Residents’ forum aims for ‘quality’ A residents’ forum set up in Ra’anana appears to have all-round support. One of the people behind the initiative, Derech Aheret (“another way”) Party member Yoram Horowitz, said: “The aim of the forum is to work toward restoring quality to Ra’anana.”Meanwhile, the municipality welcomed the move, saying it supported the involvement of local residents in the forum.Horowitz said he believed that the forum’s apolitical approach would bring in a large number of Ra’anana residents dissatisfied with the way the local political system operates. A municipality official said that the mayor would be happy to discuss a range of local issues with representatives of the new forum.New bicycle path opened Last week, a new bicycle path was officially opened in Rishon Lezion. When completed, it will help cyclists ride from the local bus station to the beach in complete safety. The path was named after Eliezer Rosen, who lived in the city and was killed on June 8, 2009, at 81 while riding his bicycle.Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Tzur, who attended the ceremony, noted Rosen’s valuable work for the country and the city, saying that the circumstances of Rosen’s death highlighted the need to enable local cyclists to move around Rishon in complete safety.Construction work on the new cycle route is scheduled for completion in a few months; however, Rosen’s family had asked for the ceremony to take place ahead of time.Disabled students stage protest Last week, several dozen Tel Aviv University students, including some in wheelchairs, staged a protest over the lack of disabled access to a number of buildings and facilities on the Ramat Aviv campus.A Tel Aviv University official said the university was aware of the problem and was working to make all campus facilities disabled-accessible.B-G Airport neighbors can sleep easy People living in the proximity of Ben-Gurion Airport will be able to sleep easier following a court ruling that prohibits takeoffs from the airport between 2 and 5 a.m. in the winter, and between 2 and 4 a.m. in the summer. In effect, the new d e c i s i o n cements an interim order previously issued against the Transportation Ministry and the Israel Airports Authority (IAA).The ruling stated that “This result indicates an appropriate balance between aviation needs and the interests of residents of local authorities near the airport.”Circus gains reprieve The Florentine Circus, located at Hakfar Hayarok, has averted an end to its operation there following a decision by the Ramat Hasharon Municipality to suspend a demolition order on the circus’s premises.At a meeting between circus owner Nir Kaplan, chairperson of the Interior Ministry’s District Planning Committee Gila Oron and Ramat Hasharon Mayor Yitzhak Rochberger, it was decided to put the demolition order on ice, and that alternative plans for the circus’s operation would be submitted to the local committee for consideration. The order to demolish the circus tent was due to be applied on April 7.The Florentine Circus is one of the few enterprises in the country that teaches clowning and acrobatics to youngsters under the age of 18.Animal lovers protest circus show Last week, a number of animal lovers in Netanya staged a protest outside the city’s Hechal Hatarbut against the use of cats by the Great Moscow Circus in its show there. One demonstrator said most of the people coming to the show ignored the small demonstration, but two families, hearing about the inclusion of the felines in the act, decided not to attend the circus’s performance.A Netanya Municipality official said the producer of the show had obtained all the necessary permits for the event, including from the Agriculture Ministry and veterinarian services.South SPNI awarded for work with Beduin The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) has received an Environmental Excellence Award from Life & Environment, the umbrella environmental organization that incorporates around 120 green enterprises.The SPNI’s work in the Negev includes efforts to improve environmental conditions for Beduin in the region and provide Beduin children with a sense of belonging and responsibility for their surroundings.SPNI trains and mentors local Beduin instructors, who spearhead environmental education programs in a number of Negev communities including Rahat, Khura, Segev Shalom and the Abu Basma Regional Council.The environmental education programs encompass over 3,000 pupils and teachers in the region in a range of activities, and are also supported by the Environmental Protection Ministry, Education Ministry and local authorities.Eilat’s special art show Last Thursday, the Meyuhad rehabilitation occupational center in Eilat hosted the opening of a special exhibit in which all the art on display was created by center personnel.The exhibition, opened by Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevy, comprises works in a wide range of disciplines including painting, ceramics, papier maché, dolls, bags and jewelry.The center was established around five years ago with the support of a number of bodies, including the local municipality, Welfare Ministry and the Rashi Foundation. It has five personnel and there are currently 35 people with special needs employed there. A further 20 people hold jobs in various workplaces around Eilat.C’mon, let’s compost! Ashdod’s Housing Culture Association has announced that it will encourage apartment block committees in the city to recycle garbage, separate domestic waste and produce compost.The Ashdod program will include introductory lectures on the subjects and presentations of the program to residential committees.The latter will include information about expected costs of purchasing and preparing composters. Apartment buildings registering with the program will be required to buy containers to separate domestic waste for each apartment; to purchase or prepare a composter; and to undergo training in preparing compost.Osnat Ben-Lulu, head of the Ashdod branch of the Housing Culture Association, said that on completion of training and after making the necessary purchases and producing compost, apartment owners will receive a gift of plants to place in the compost-enriched soil.