Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Graffiti vandals caught! And more news...

Hi everyone,
Just wanted to let you know that five graffiti vandals have been caught by the BPD just in the last 2 weeks! I'm glad to be passing on good news to end our busy cleaning season!
In other news from B. Police Department, Cpl. Thomas Radford, an officer with 11 years of experience, has joined our team and would like to offer his assistance in any way possible! Additionally, I have recently interviewed Lt. Scott Davidson and will be sending out a newsletter with many of our "frequently asked questions" about the enforcement aspect of graffiti here in Burlington. That should be reaching your mailboxes in the near future.
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you enjoy the break from cleaning graffiti that the winter affords us! Thanks again for all the great work that you do to keep Burlington beautiful.

P.S.-- One Adopt-A-Block member is helping me to organize a Graffiti Removal Steering Committee that will probably start meeting in January to plan for spring. Members will be drawn from the BPD and Public Works as well as from the teen community, City Council, businesses, Adopt-A-Block and the greater community, hopefully. Our first big proposed project is to set up a reward pot for people who call police as they see vandalism occurring. If you're interested in being a member of this important, decision-making board, please let me know! I'll also send out more information soon.
P.P.S.-- In the winter I can't clean graffiti either...so I organize "Operation Snow Shovel" instead. It's a program that matches elderly and disabled people in need of a cleared walkway with volunteers who'd like to shovel for them. Volunteers shovel only walkways, not driveways, each time it snows 3 inches or more. If you'd be interested in providing this much-needed service to someone in your neighborhood, please call me at 865-7548.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cider and Cookies Social-- Let's Talk About the Future of the GRT!

Hello all,
This is Angie, the new coordinator of the Graffiti Removal Team. I'm not so computer-savvy myself, so I apologize for delays in updating the blog. :)

Looks like the season is winding down for removing graffiti, so I'd like to thank all of you who have put in hard work cleaning up Burlington! Additionally, I'd like to welcome new AAB volunteers Greg Eplerwood, Mary Belanger, Karen Newman and Ursula Jones. In order to thank and welcome, the Graffiti Removal Team will be hosting a Cider and Cookies Social TOMORROW (Friday, October 21st) from 5:30-6:30. (Did all of the AAB members get your invitations in the mail?) The hope was that it might be convenient to drop in on your way home from work. However, I've heard from some members that their Fridays are always booked up, so I apologize to those of you who can't make it at this time.

At the meeting, we'll be discussing the future of the program... and I need as much input as possible! From about November until the beginning of April, we can't clean, and though I work on some other projects during the winter, I'll be spending a good deal of time trying to implement changes and innovations relating to GRT. I need to hear from you to know what changes seem most important. If you can't make it, please e-mail me at aspong@ci.burlington.vt.us or call at 865-7548 to let me know what you've been thinking!

In other news...volunteer crews on Saturday clean-ups have been making a lot of progress. Last Saturday, we "Elephant-Snotted" the back of the First Congregational Church on S. Winooski, and it's looking a lot better, though we're going to suggest that the church plant trees back there to keep the tagging at bay. This Tuesday and last, a fantastic group of kids from Mater Christi Catholic School gave the back of the church a second coat of "elephant snot" (the powerful cleaning goop that we like to use on brick) and also cleaned up a ton of tags on Buell and Orchard Terrace. Other prominent locations where graffiti has been cleaned include: the African Market on N. Winooski and North St. (painted), the Springflower Market on St. Paul St (painted), the Burlington Army and Navy, Brooks Pharmacy, and multiple other businesses. We've taken care of tags on several homes (including some with profanity) and mailboxes throughout the Old North End. This afternoon, an afterschool group at Wheeler will take to the streets around their school in search of signs and dumpsters with tags.

The last organized clean-up, leaving from C-CAN (82 S. Winooski Ave.), is this Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon! It's "turning tricks into treats" day. We'll clean and take pictures of tags we locate and get Halloween candy in return. Should be fun!

Sorry to have so many announcements at once! But I hope to see many of you soon. And happy cleaning for the last leg of the season!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Here are a few updates for the coming weeks. If you are interested in cleaning with me or if you have an area you feel needs some attention, let me know!

June 20th
  • I'm out with a crew from the Burlington Neighborhood Project cleaning up the Lakeside beach (it's off of the the bike path before you hit Oakledge)

  • I'll be out with a few Adopt-a-Blockers cleaning up graffiti on the Winooski Bridge--on the Burlington side of course.

July 13th

  • A group of kids from Colchester High School are making their way into Burlington to clean with GRT.

July 17th-20th

  • GRT will have a group of 20 high school age kids from UVM's Upward Bound program for the week. We should be able to get lots of graffiti cleaned this week!


Here's something a little interesting from Burlington City Arts:


Request for Proposal
Deadline for submissions: June 23, 2006, 5:00pm

Burlington City Arts is issuing a Request for Proposals from artists and craft persons for a public art project that will emphasize the balance between form and function by creating an artful bicycle parking rack. The proposed location for the artwork is within the right-of-way on the sidewalk in front of Radio Bean/Lovely Nails/The Other Place/Vermont Sandwich Co., at the corner of North Winooski Street and Pearl Street.

Project Website

For more information, contact Sara Katz at 802-865-5356 or skatz@ci.burlington.vt.us


I have been out with numerous Adopt-a-Blockers cleaning up tougher areas that your kits probably can't control. If you have a troublesome spot that is on brick or cement or something you might need paint for, LET ME KNOW!! I'm always ready and willing to go out and clean.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Last week Adopt-a-Block gained a few new members. We had a nice chat here at our CCAN office and went home with new cleaning supplies, t-shirts and a new sense of pride in Burlington (Am I right??). A big THANKS to all of you who came!


Here's a little update about what GRT is doing in the next coming weeks...

May 31st-June 9th I'll be working with the Healthy Neighborhood/Healthy Kids group from Champlain Elementary School. We are going to do a little graffiti removal and trash pick up in the neighborhoods around the school--focusing on the VT Railways building on Briggs St.

June 1st I'll be up at Leddy Park cleaning with Kids on the Run, an all girls running group from Flynn Elementary School

June 13th Another Healthy Neighborhood/Healthy Kids group, this time from Barnes Elementary School, will be cleaning with me around the North St. area.

The Converse Home and Champlain Senior Center are starting two new cleaning groups of their own.
  • With a little help from a passionate AAB member who volunteers at Converse Home on lower Church Street, the "Converse Cleaner-Uppers" have taken off. So, if you see them out and about with the navy blue Graffiti Removal Team VOLUNTEER shirts on, stop and say hello.
  • The Champlain Senior Center is in the works of getting a regular group to go out and about to do trash pick up in their N. Winooski neighborhood.

I do have a bit of blog related news....

I have added the areas adopted by AAB members on the sidebar -------look-------->>
Take a moment and see if your streets are covered. Or, if you're an AAB member, look and see if I've covered the correct territory. If not, let me know and I'll give it a little fix.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Interested in a Mural Project?

Join ReCycle North's YouthBuild and Spectrum on
Thursday, May 25th at 3pm

Come dressed to paint at 230 St. Paul St. (across from Kerry's Quick Stop)
for an intergenerational mural project.

Contact Kim Parker at kparker@recyclenorth.org -or- 658-4143

Monday, May 15, 2006

I am recruiting for new Adopt-a-Blockers.

If you know of anyone that might be interested---Please pass the word!
Or, please attend on Thursday, May 25th at 5:30pm yourself if you feel like passing on some expert first hand knowledge.

You can RSVP to me: Kristen Staley,
865-7548 or kstaley@ci.burlington.vt.us


Thursday, May 11, 2006

May 11th Update

Hi Folks,

This past weekend was Green Up Day, as I'm sure you all knew. It was great to see a few of our GRT and Adopt-a-Block volunteers out for the big day, as well as out for the Friday Downtown Green Up Day. Thank you all so much for what you did. The two days went over with great sucesses.

Here are a few stats from the days:
  • 500+ Volunteers
  • 168 graffiti tags removed
  • 107 greenbelst groomed
  • over 6 TONS of garbage collected. Whoa.
    • Including 2 dumptrucks of Tires
Another BIG thank you to our own Jean Forden, Adopt-a-Blocker. She was willing to speak at our May 2nd press conference as a voice for all Burlington GRT and Adopt-a-Block volunteers. She came with her green bag, trash gloves on and newly made volunteer sign:

***If any of you are interested in having a sign made for when you go out to clean, let me know. I worked with Jean on getting this made exactly the way she wanted. ***

But the cleaning doesn't have to end here, as many of you already know. The Graffiti Removal Team is still in motion.

  • I'll be out cleaning with 8th graders from Edmunds Middle School on Monday, May 22nd.
  • I have been doing one-on-one work with a few people for community service hours, cleaning up tags here and there.
----->If any one is interested in volunteering to clean with me at anytime, let me know. There are plenty of projects. Or, if you know a student or youth in need of community service hours, I'm your gal. <----------


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

April 26th Update

Green Up Day (Saturday, May 6th) is just around the corner and GRT is right in the middle of the madness. We have planned 13 clean up sites in and around the Old North End. That's plenty of area to come out and clean.

So, come on out next Saturday at 9-9:30am at Barnes Elementary School on North St. and join in to help out. When you register you'll get a fantastic Green Up shirt--yes, it's bright green, but with a lovely purple accenting color this year.

Don't forget to stay afterwards for the Green Up celebration. There will be a mini parade with Green Up Guy & Gal, Mayor Kiss, and a live performance from Burlington's own Sage Blonde


  • This past weekend (Saturday, April 22nd) GRT worked together withabout 15 students from UVM for their Community Works Day. We cleaned the small area on South Champlain St. from King St. to Maple St. This included a few tags on Advanced Music, Handy's Lunch, the old Alley Cats building and another residential area.
  • This coming Friday, GRT will be working with Blodgett Ovens on Lakeside Ave. A group from ReCycle North's Youthbuild program will be painting and cleaning tags along their bikepath and community pinic areas.
  • On another note... Within the past month, over 100 tags have been cleaned by GRT and it's community groups. I'd say that's some pretty good work

Hey Adopt-a-Block Members...
What have you been up to?
  • Don't forget to send in any sites that you have cleaned to keep me updated:kstaley@ci.Burlington.vt.us or 865-7548.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Hello Everyone!!

e to the new Graffiti Removal Team blog. I shall be updating this on a somewhat constant basis to let you all know what GRT is doing for your Burlington Community. Feel free to comment or contact me, Kristen Staley--Graffiti Removal Team Coordinator, Americorps*VISTA, with any questions or concerns about the program.

Just a heads up...
I am playing catch-up with GRT infor
mation, so this first posting will be a bit lengthy.


Last week Burlington's Adopt-A-Block Members met for a small but informational meeting here at our CCAN office. We shared a nice dinner, a few laughs over cleaning stories and suggestions for improving our Adopt-a-Block program. A big THANK YOU to those who came out!
For those of you who could not make it, here is an update on
some news in the program and upcoming dates:

Green Up Day! is Saturday, May 6th 9:30am - 1:30pm Come out and do what you all do best--help keep Burlington clean! Beginning at Lawrence Barnes Elementary School, 123 North St., we will spread out and spruce up the town with a huge team of volunteers, removing graffiti and picking up litter. Afterwards, a celebration will follow at Barnes School with music, food and family activities.

How You Can Help:
  • I am in need of Team Leaders for the big day. Team Leaders will take a group of volunteers (about 10-15) to a specific area (your choice or we can suggest one) to clean. You will need to attend one short volunteer training and give us a site assessment for the area you will be cleaning. Our first training is this coming Monday, April 17th at 5:30pm. There will be another one TBA.
  • If you don't want to be a leader for the day, you can still clean! Show up at Barnes Elementary School at 9:30am to register for the day!

Confused on What to Clean??

Last week at our AAB meeting the discussion about what we can and cannot clean came up. I'd like to clear up the topic for everyone. So, here is a little informational list about what we CAN and CANNOT clean:

We CAN Clean...

  • Verizon Boxes--This isn’t new news, but just incase you weren’t sure. The wipes take off sp ray paint with a bit of elbow g rease.
  • Traffic Boxes-- This is brand new information. I just received the OK this morning about cleaning these. This has been a long awaited “yes”, so I am very excited. As of now I do not have the info on the color of paint to be used, but we can certainly wipe them down with our graffiti wipes and cleaner.
  • Street Signs, Street Light Poles, Benches, Bus Stops, Telephone Poles, Newspaper Stands, Anything in Burlington's Parks
  • Silver Residential Mailboxes-- We have silver spray paint to use, which takes care of it right away. Let me know if you need any.
  • Red Myer's Dumpsters--We have red spray paint for them. Let me know if you need any.
  • Green Gauthier & All-Cycle Dumpsters--We don’t have any green paint, but go ahead and clean them. The orange cleaner works fairly well with a scrubber.
  • Any Residence or Business with Permission--GRT has a long list of businesses it has permission to clean. Even if we do have a signed permission slip it's still a good idea to let the manager on duty know who you are and that you plan to clean up. As for private residences, this a good chance to meet the neighbors and let them know what fabulous work you are doing. And, while cleaning up, you might also get a few recruits. Let them know how they can keep their area clean!

We CANNOT Clean...

  • Blue & Green USPS Mailboxes--I know. It’s painful to see them all covered and not touch them. I have told by Michael Hakey, Burlington’s USPS Manager that the maintenance crew is well aware of the boxes and will be out to clean soon.
    • In the meantime, can report any boxes that need cleaning to Mr. Hakey, Michael.c.hakey@usps.gov and let him know how the messy boxes affect you. I have let him know we are here to help clean, but it doesn’t hurt if you let him know too!
  • Burlington Electric Boxes-- I am in the midst of a conversation with BED about gaining permission to clean their boxes. They are fully aware of the necessity for them to be cleaned, but unfortunately "energized environment" of the boxes makes it difficult for community members to clean.
  • A Business or Residence WITHOUT Permission--Please be respectful and ask before you clean. Most people are more than happy to have you help them out.
    • For those places that are not responsive, it doesn’t hurt to explain to them that graffiti hurts more than just the property owner and offer to teach them how to clean if they do not want your help. Or, you can always refer someone to me for assistance on cleaning graffiti.


Graffiti Photo Database

Ever notice how you see the same graffiti tags or pictures? This is because only a handful of vandals are out there destroying building walls and they go by certain names. A long awaited photo database has been created by GRT so these tags and pictures can be cataloged for the Burlington Police Department and Parks & Recreation. This way when a graffiti vandal is caught (and YES, they are caught) we can assist BPD by building a case load and proving the high amount of damage and harm caused. Can't deny a picture, right?

This is where GRT volunteers and Adopt-A-Block Members come in...

Take some pictures before you clean!! The GRT has been trying to do is take photos of every tag, even if we are going to clean it. This way, we can prove the damaged caused eventhough it was cleaned up. Don't let the vandals take advantage of your good work. Document it and send it to me:kstaley@ci.burlington.vt.us

Of course I understand not everyone can take photos or has access to a digital camera. Do not fret. At least give me a description (where, what, when) of what you cleaned. This helps GRT know what it's volunteers are doing and where some great cleaning action is happening.