Group Forms To Raise Money For Easton Ambassadors Program In Downtown Area

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette ...

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Easton Ambassadors are looking for a little help from their friends to generate needed money to sustain and expand the program.

The red-shirted Ambassadors clean Downtown streets, assist visitors with local tourism questions and provide police with an extra set of eyes to spot potential trouble.

But officials say reduced funding has limited their ability to perform their duties. Their patrol shrank in 2012 to cover primarily Centre Square and nearby Third and Northampton streets.

The group’s budget is about $230,000 this year but if it can raise its revenues by at least $50,000 to previous years’ totals, it may be able to expand its reach to Pine and Fifth streets, as it had done in the past, officials said.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf/2014/08/group_forms_to_raise_money_for.html

Cities Deploy Fakery Techniques To Cover Up Urban Blight

Camden, New Jersey, one of the poorest and most crime-ridden U.S. cities, has awaited rebirth for a generation. For now, it has Christopher Toepfer and his paintbrush.

Ten feet up a ladder, Toepfer, a 51-year-old artist, is turning a rotting factory’s plywood-covered windows from a mess of gang graffiti into a railroad mural. The spruce-up, though it won’t cure the neighborhood’s ills of poverty and violence, will make a bright spot of the biggest blight on Federal Street.

Thirty years after New York City Mayor Ed Koch drew scorn for gussying up uninhabitable Bronx tenements with decals of curtained windows, urban fakery is spreading in U.S. cities where the recession’s wave of foreclosures added to decades-long decay. The city of Wilmington, Delaware, used the decal approach on a string of row houses earlier this year, and Bridgeport, Connecticut, started working with local artists in October to adopt Toepfer’s approach.

If the technique that Toepfer calls aesthetic board-up is a stopgap, it’s a cheap one, costing just $500 to $1,000 per property, a fraction of demolition costs. It’s also immediate, with a typical makeover done in less than a day.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/07/05/Vacant-House-Fakery-Reborn-as-Cleveland-to-Camden-Fight-Blight/stories/201407040018#ixzz36bqH18zQ

Graffiti Artists Foul Ground Near Point State Park Fowl

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh police this morning arrested a man for spray-painting graffiti near the giant rubber duck currently floating in the Allegheny River at Point State Park.

The 40-foot-tall rubber duck, which arrived in Pittsburgh last week, was not damaged.

A security guard stationed to monitor the floating faux water fowl told police he thought he heard a spray can hit the ground and then saw two people spraying on the sidewalk, according to a news release from police spokeswoman Diane Richard.

Both people ran, but police later caught Ryan Sigesmund, 34, whose address they did not know.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/grafitti-artists-foul-ground-near-near-point-state-park-fowl-705820/#ixzz2gckkdtcL

Business Spearheads Cleanup At 10th & South

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up for Penny Dutch Apparel and private sector involvement!

Vanessa Velez and her mother, Karen, worked in tandem as they shoveled leaves, dirt and debris into orange bags at Reading’s 10th & South Playground.

“We’re just trying to help out, and give the kids a nice place to play,” said Karen Velez of Ephrata.

The mother-daughter pair were among about a dozen volunteers who helped clean up the playground Saturday.

The cleanup was organized by Penny Dutch Apparel of Mountville, Lancaster County, with support from the nonprofit Reading Beautification Inc.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=478864

Rep. Barletta Working To Beautify Blighted Hazleton Trestle

English: Official portrait of Congressman Lou ...

English: Official portrait of Congressman Lou Barletta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Congressman Lou Barletta is all too familiar with efforts to spruce up a railroad trestle near the southern gateway to his hometown Hazleton.

Plans for beautifying the South Church Street bridge were developed by Greater Hazleton Civic Partnership during his tenure as Hazleton’s mayor.

Officials at the time believed they had the answer to addressing the graffiti-covered trestle by having Hazleton artist Dave Corrado paint a mural on wood, which would have been mounted to the bridge, Barletta recalled.

The idea fell by the wayside after local officials learned that the wooden mural would have interfered with bridge inspections.

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/rep-barletta-working-to-beautify-blighted-trestle-1.1483757

Hazleton Mayor: Graffiti-Marred Trestle Sending Wrong Message

Downtown Hazleton, PA

Downtown Hazleton, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hazleton Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi believes a railroad trestle that greets motorists who enter the city from South Church Street should serve as a welcome sign that leaves a lasting impression with people who pass beneath it.

But in its graffiti-covered state, the bridge is sending the wrong message, the mayor contends.

A racial slur that was spray painted on the bridge years ago greets northbound motorists shortly after they cross into city limits.  A pedestrian walkway beneath the trestle is deteriorated to the point where people must walk on the street.

“It’s like the welcoming sign to Hazleton and it’s got a nasty message beneath it,” Yannuzzi said.  “I don’t think it should be there.”

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/mayor-graffiti-marred-trestle-sending-wrong-message-1.1480501

Rutgers Students Pay It Forward On The Mean Streets Of North Camden

Camden

Image via Wikipedia

A joint effort between Rutgers University students, the Camden District Council Collaborative Board and Angel Osorio, community justice director in the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office is aimed at cleaning up and improving pubic safety in one of Camden’s most notorious neighborhoods. 

North Camden is a crime-ridden neighborhood that needs a lot of help.  Rutgers students have enrolled themselves in a class to replace burnt out street lights, remove graffiti and clean up 23 alleys.  This is not a class for the faint of heart.  Checking the street lights means driving around one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the county looking for burnt out street lights, in the dark.

In a twelve block area, 16 out of 47 street lights were out.  Lighting up Camden will reduce crime.  PSE&G is notified of the broken lights and tries to fix them as quickly as possible.  The lighting project also includes finding funding so that residents can install and pay for porch lights (Fifth Ward Councilor Dan Weand has suggested this very idea for Pottstown).  Unfortunately in Camden, street lights are vandalized according to PSE&G.

This class came about as a result of Rutgers officials working with community members who are trying to carry out the North Camden Neighborhood Plan.  The class’s instructor, Lt. Daniel Howard, is a 24-year veteran of the Mount Laurel police department.  Rutgers-Camden’s new chancellor, Wendell Pritchett, wants his campus to be a national model for a civically engaged university.

Rutgers new director of civic engagement, Andrew Seligshon stated Rutgers sees itself as an anchor institution in Camden.  The university wants to attract good students and faculty members.  North Camden residents want a safer, more attractive neighborhood and better schools.  By partnering together, everybody wins! 

I wish I had more than two thumbs to put up!  Talk about teaching social responsibility!  Awesome program and kudos to all involved.