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.

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