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There are any number of programs to fight crime. Some work best after a crime has been committed. Still other look for the causes of crime and try to steer would-be criminals in a law-abiding direction.

The Weed and Seed program is a national effort to involve communities in problem areas, particularly those with youth gangs and drugs. In the summer of 1995, a Weed and Seed project began in the Sunset area of Sikeston. Efforts at finding jobs for youths and educating them about drugs have been a part of that project.

Started by the U.S. Department of Justice, Weed and Seed currently involved some 165 communities nationwide. The Southeast Missouri Weed and Seed project currently targets Caruthersville and Poplar Bluff as well as Sikeston. The project will expand to Cape Girardeau as well.

For several months, Weed and Seed has been looking for an executive director. Recently it was announced that the search had ended with the hiring of a capable director who has considerable experience dealing with youngsters.

Calvin Bird, former executive director of the Cape Girardeau Civic Center and assistant pastor of Greater Dimension Church of God in Christ in Cape Girardeau, will take on the director's post. He will have an office at Southeast Missouri State University, which is one of the partners in the project.

Bird has a big job ahead of him. But he has shown in his previous civic involvement that he has both an understanding of the objectives of youth programs and a sensitivity to teen-agers who need direction and good role models.

Weed and Seed is an example of communities working with law enforcement to prevent crime, says U.S. Attorney Edward L. Dowd. "It takes all kinds of efforts to really make a difference," he said. Having Calvin Bird in charge will be a key part of that effort.