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Warm weather brings out the vandals

| Friday, Aug. 11, 2006

Summer seems to bring out the destructive street artists.

In Everson, most stop signs and a number of buildings have been tagged.

"There is graffiti all over town," Mayor Tim Shoemaker said.

Everson Council President Michael Banaszak said that in addition to the graffiti, some houses have been hit by eggs.

"I don't want to minimize this, because it's a crime, but it's no more than other communities," Banaszak said. "We didn't have the problem until the weather got warm."

The Everson Police Department is investigating, and Banaszak said that officers have several leads. The department is also working with the Scottdale Police Department. Scottdale has experienced several similar graffiti incidents.

"The police are taking care of it," Scottdale Mayor Pat Walker said.

Dawson also has trouble with vandals.

"It's kids," Mayor Barbara Wilhelm said. "They're pulling up street signs and throwing them, pulling the lettering off the firemen's lot and discharging firearms. We've had a dog shot with a BB gun, graffiti and curfew violations. It's always worse in the summer."

Dawson has a 9:30 p.m. curfew for individuals 18 and younger.

Wilhelm believes that young people out after curfew commit most of the damage.

"The graffiti is uncalled for. It's on walls and on the road," she said.

The borough does have ordinances regulating curfew and vandalism.

Wilhelm said that both offenses carry fines of up to $300 per incident.

Dawson's problems have been compounded due to the resignation of Michael Garlowich, the borough's code enforcement officer. Council has not yet moved to replace Garlowich.

"We have to worry about graffiti, firearms and vandalism. People call the (state) police, but they don't always respond, and when they do, it takes hours," Wilhelm said.

"All cities have problems with vandalism," said Connellsville Mayor Judy Reed. "We don't take such incidents lightly."

Reed credits the public with keeping vandals in line.

"If they see anything happen, call 911 immediately," she said. Police cite vandals, and fines can range from up to $300 to imprisonment.

"We want people to keep an eye out for their neighbors," Reed said.

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