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This past week has been full. Corey Bearak, the Queens Civic Congress president, has been involved with both the Queens Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces and Citizens Against Graffiti Everywhere. He included our groups and you in invitations:

Meet May 12 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. outside Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens. The Queens Civic Congress, Queens Preservation Council, Civic & Community Associations will co-sponsor this event. For information, call 718-343-6779 or 718-229-5505 or e-mail bearak@aol.com.

On May 18, the Queens Civic Congress will present a "Real Property Tax Reform" seminar at 9:30 a.m. at the Samuel Field YMCA, 58-20 Little Neck Pkwy. Speakers will include state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose); state Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Little Neck); City Councilmen David Weprin (D-Hollis) and James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows); and David Moag, president of the City Assessors & Appraisers, Local 1757, District Council 37. The moderator will be Corey Bearak.

Admission is free, but advance reservations are recommended. RSVP by calling 718-225-6750 ext. 247 or e-mail bearak@aol.com. A light free breakfast will be served courtesy of the Parker Jewish Institute.

Our Going Green in Queens program now has a partner program: "Going Clean in Queens."

On April 26, Citizens Against Graffiti Everywhere held a "boot camp" to bring affiliate members up-to-date on new contacts and initiatives. Graffiti is a crime and vandalism. The graffiti writer is subject to arrest, prosecution and punishment. In some cases, parents or guardians may be held responsible. Gangs produce a great deal of graffiti. It lowers property value and makes communities undesirable. Commissioned art, however, is not graffiti. If someone or a business asks to have a mural or wall painted legally, that work should be chosen carefully because if done in a graffiti-like style, it will probably attract unwanted graffiti.

If you see graffiti in progress, call 911 and be prepared to give as much information as possible, like location and a description of the person or persons involved. Report past graffiti to 311, and, if possible, photograph and date the graffiti and turn it over to your police precinct.

Graffiti advocates are often dangerous, so be cautious. If you are a parent, guardian or friend of someone you suspect is involved in graffiti, try noticing the signs. Does that individual usually carry markers, spray or other cans of paint or acid that might be used to etch graffiti into glass? Question the individual, give impressive warnings and be persistent. Some of those people may be able to turned around and be saved.

Graffiti is serious, unacceptable business. We should all spread the word to schools, churches and neighbors, and give your legislators the opportunity to make and support laws to help protect our communities, property and the graffiti people themselves against the scourge of graffiti. So far, CAGE appreciates the cooperation of Borough President Helen Marshall and funding from City Councilmen Weprin and Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans). Please let them and others doing positive things know we appreciate them and what they are doing for us.

This "boot camp" tries encouraging groups within their own communities to coordinate with the police. For more information, call Sgt. Herb Mai at 718-265-8870; Henry Ehrardt or Lt. Torade at 311; Community Affairs at 646-885-4524; Richard Harris of the city Probation Department at 718-725-0716; or Shurn Anderson of Marshall's office at 718-286-2870.

CAGE is part of the national No-Graf Network, which can be found online at www.nograffiti.com. If you want to volunteer to paint over graffiti, write to: CAGE, 300471 JFK Airport, Jamaica, N.Y. 11430.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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