Vandever Avenue Civic Association

Adopt a Block

Vandever Ave & Village of Eastlake partner on Northeast Blvd

City of Wilmington News and Information
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Mayor Baker Unveils Wilmington Adopt-a-Block Program
New initiative is another in a series of programs intended to generate citizen and business involvement to keep Wilmington as clean and attractive as possible
Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker, City Council Member-At-Large Charles ‘Bud’ Freel and members of the Clean Wilmington Committee today introduced the City’s latest community-based effort to help make Wilmington a cleaner and more attractive City.
The Wilmington Adopt-A-Block Program was unveiled at a news conference on East 22nd Street at Northeast Boulevard, one of the first stretches of the City “adopted” for regular quarterly cleaning by the Village of Eastlake Civic Association and the Vandever Avenue Civic Association.
In recent weeks, more than a half-dozen organizations have stepped forward during the planning stages of the program so they could be among the first to sign-up to clean an area of the City at least four times a year and more often if possible. Participating groups can register for the Wilmington Adopt-A-Block Program through the City’s Office of Constituent Services by calling 302.576.2489, or by visiting the City’s website at and downloading an application. Groups will work directly with the Department of Public Works on the collection of debris and litter gathered during Adopt-A-Block efforts. Groups are encouraged to clean-up as large an area as possible depending upon the number of volunteers associated with their organization.
The City will recognize and thank participating organizations by placing a green and white Adopt-A-Block sign in the area that a group agrees to “adopt,” to signal not only that this area is the responsibility of a particular group, but to encourage others to get involved in the program.
Mayor Baker said the Wilmington Adopt-A-Block Program is looking for citizen, community, or business-based organizations throughout this great City that would like to be part of an effort to clean and beautify Wilmington streets, neighborhoods and communities. “More and more citizens around the City understand that they can have an very big influence on the look of their block and their neighborhood and send a clear message about the pride they have in their community,” said Mayor Baker.
“Over the course of just a few years we have initiated a number of programs that offer citizens more opportunities to get involved in their City’s future and which compliment the annual Operation Clean Sweep. These programs include efforts by the City Beautification Commission to beautify City parks and open spaces, anti-litter campaigns such as “Wilmington Wins When You Pitch In,” the “Think Green For a Change” environmental campaign, and community tool sheds and programs like the Vacant Property Registration Fee initiative, Instant Ticketing, and the effort to expose and embarrass some of the worst vacant property owners in the City.”
The first groups to sign-up for the Wilmington Adopt-A-Block program, and the areas they have agreed to help keep clean are as follows:
• Vandever Avenue Civic Association and the Village of Eastlake Civic Association will clean Northeast Boulevard from 16th to 26th Streets including the roadway median;
• Brandywine Hills Neighborhood Association will clean the streets, curbs and islands associated with Washington Street, Lea Boulevard, Rockwood Road, Matson Run Parkway, Miller Road and the adjacent park area;
• Friends of Kosciuszko Park will clean both sides of South Broom, South Franklin, Maple and South Connell Streets;
• Knights of Columbus will clean both sides of a four-block area near St. Hedwig’s Church bounded by the 400 block of South Harrison Street, 1100 block of Maple Street, 400 block of South Van Buren Street and the 1100 block of Linden Street
• St. Elizabeth’s Junior and Senior Youth Groups will clean Banning to Oak Streets, Cedar Street, and Broom to Clayton Streets
• West 28th and 29th Street Civic Association will clean both sides of 28th and 29th Streets from Market Street to Washington Street;
• West 34th Street Block Association will clean both sides of West 34th Street from Market Street to Washington Street;
• Wilmington Jaycees will clean both sides of Delaware Avenue from North Van Buren Street to North Union Street;
• Hedgeville Children’s Garden will clean the area of Elm Street and South Jackson Street.
The Clean Wilmington Committee, comprised of citizens, business leaders and City officials, was created by Mayor Baker in 2006 to advocate for, create and support programs to help keep the City’s neighborhoods and communities cleaner and more attractive. The group was instrumental in establishing community tool sheds to assist citizens with their clean-up efforts, and has been very supportive of the City’s successful curbside recycling program, instant ticketing program, and the vacant property registration fee program. The group has also partnered with the City and the Delaware Solid Waste Authority to encourage citizens to take advantage of the bi-annual hazardous waste disposal/paper shredding events held at the Wilmington Riverfront. The Adopt-A-Block program is the group’s latest effort, for which Mayor Baker said he is very grateful.
Participating in today’s Adopt-A-Block kick-off ceremony was Stephanie T. Bolden, 3rd District City Council Member, and Mike Hare, Chairperson of the Clean Wilmington Committee.
John Rago
City of Wilmington
Director of Communications and Policy Development for Mayor James M. Baker
(302) 420-7928 (cell)
Rich Neumann
City of Wilmington
Assistant Communications Director for Mayor James M. Baker
(302) 757-3898 (cell)

Wilmington Unveils Adopt-A-Block Program
click here to watch this story!
By Kyle Schmoyer
WILMINGTON, DE - July 30, 2008 (WHYY) -- Wilmington is sprucing up its neighborhoods one street at a time. City leaders unveiled the new Adopt-A-Block program today. The goal is to get residents and civic groups involved in keeping the city looking good.

The city of Wilmington can't do it alone. Leaders say residents need to pitch in and help. "It's a way to get the community itself engaged in keeping a clean city and not just rely on government as their obligation to clean their streets," says Mike Hare of the Clean Wilmington Committee.

With the Adopt-A-Block program, people who live in the neighborhoods sign up to get out and clean up a few times a year. So far, nine organizations have committed, everything from neighborhood groups to the Knights of Columbus. "It's very important," says Christine Kirklin of the Village of Eastlake Civic Association. "It's important to the aesthetic value of the community and the self-esteem value of the community. A clean neighborhood indicates a safe neighborhood."

Vandever Avenue and Village of Eastlake Civic Associations will clean 10 blocks of Northeast Boulevard. They are committed to ridding the area of all kinds of trash, including old tires and even a sofa cushion. "It means a lot if everyone gets involved," says Jaehn Daniels of the Vandever Avenue Civic Association. "It stimulates the environment, keeps everyone unified and it just helps. You get to communicate with each other."

Whole looking good is one goal, feeling good is another. "A cleaner city is a safer city," says Hare. "And people who enjoy a clean and safe city feel better about their neighborhoods and their community."

And residents seem ready to take back their city. "We're no longer going to tolerate the drug trafficking nor the littering problem that goes on in the inner city," says Kirklin.

If you or your group would like to get involved, call the City of Wilmington Office of Constituent Services or search for "Adopt-A-Block" on the city's website. •

3rd District Candidates

Wilmington City Council candidates tangle over city's Drug Mugs
3rd District challenger once appeared for pot possession
By ADAM TAYLOR • The News Journal • August 8, 2008

Councilwoman Stephanie T. Bolden has represented the 3rd District since 1993.

Richard L. Dyton, of Spruce Street, is challenging Bolden in the Democratic primary Sept. 9.

WILMINGTON -- City Councilwoman Stephanie T. Bolden created Drug Mugs in 2004 to embarrass drug offenders into not selling or buying their dope in the city.

She never dreamed, though, that one of her future political opponents would have appeared in the weekly batch of mug shots posted on the city's Web site, broadcast on the city-owned TV station and sent to regional media outlets by the Wilmington Police Department.
But that's the case with Richard L. Dyton, her challenger in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary for the council's 3rd District seat.
He was charged with possession of marijuana in 2006, appeared in the Drug Mugs, and then was convicted of the charge.
Dyton, 39, of Spruce Street, said the small bag of pot wasn't his. A bounty hunter came to Dyton's barber shop in the 1700 block of Pine St. to arrest a fugitive. A melee ensued and the fugitive ran. By the end of the incident, police were on the scene and the bag was found on the shop floor, Dyton said. The police report, though, says the bag was in his pocket.
Dyton was charged with possession of a deadly weapon during a felony, menacing, hindering and possession of marijuana for his alleged role in the fracas. All but the misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge were dropped. A jury found Dyton guilty last year of the possession charge and he was sentenced to one year of probation, plus fines and court costs.
"I'm not going to run away from it," he said. "I accept responsibility for being found guilty of possession of marijuana, but I don't think it disqualifies me from being a leader of the community."
Dyton said he doesn't use drugs.
Bolden would not comment on Dyton's appearance on the Drug Mugs.
Dyton wants to use the Drug Mugs program and his appearance in it against Bolden.
"I think programs like this are actually going to be her demise," he said. "Active addicts aren't deterred by the Drug Mugs. They only bring shame to the person's grandparents at church, parents in their neighborhood, spouses at their job and children at their school."
There is no Republican candidate for the council seat, so, barring an unlikely write-in campaign in November, the winner of the primary will be the district's next council member.
The conviction would not prevent Dyton from taking office if he wins, Delaware Attorney General's Office spokesman Jason Miller said. Misdemeanors do not count as "infamous crimes," which the state constitution says precludes people from serving in public office.
"Delaware courts have ruled that an infamous crime includes only felony convictions, although not all felony convictions constitute infamous crimes," Miller said.
Bolden, a council member since 1993, stands by Drug Mugs.
"I don't feel bad for people who decided to sell drugs with no respect for the seniors or children in their neighborhood," she said. "If they get caught, that's on them. That's what they chose to do in our neighborhood."
Dyton said the program is unfair because it posts mug shots at the time of arrest, not when people are convicted.
"So someone who had a Percocet in their car but didn't have the original prescription with them at the time could end up on the Drug Mugs next to someone who got caught with 100 kilos of heroin," he said.
Drewry Fennell, director of the Delaware Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, agrees there are problems with Drug Mugs.
"Whenever you use an arrest record as a tool to shame people, there is always a concern you're going to damage that person or their family's reputations and abilities to earn a living," she said. "Those consequences, which I think are unintended, can be devastating when they occur, particularly in cases when the person is not ultimately convicted of the crime."
Community reaction to Drug Mugs is mixed.
Christine Kirkland, chairwoman of the Village of Eastlake Civic Association, said she likes it.
"It's not only a deterrent, it lets the community know who in the area is up to no good and it puts a face on them for us," she said.
Jaehn Dennis, president of the Vandever Avenue Civic Association, thinks publicizing the pictures is "demoralizing and demeaning" to addicts.
"We can deal with the drug problem in another way without exposing them like that," he said.
Dyton said the Drug Mugs are a form of entertainment in the 3rd District, which includes Northeast Wilmington and the East Side.
"It's like watching sports highlights on ESPN," he said. "Then people just talk about who was on the Drug Mugs."
Dyton said Bolden should focus more on programs for drug treatment, ex-prisoners returning to Wilmington, ways to reduce the HIV/AIDS rate and education. He said he would do that if elected.
Bolden said she's supporting the Hogar Crea and Gaudenzia drug treatment centers, and the Beautiful Gate Outreach Center, which works with HIV/AIDS patients. All three facilities are in the 3rd District. The city government has made prisoner re-entry a priority and given money to the Wilmington HOPE Commission to develop a comprehensive strategy on the issue.
"Everything I've done on council has been a reaction to the cries from the community I hear," she said. "With the Drug Mugs, the cry was that people were upset with people with no values using drugs and moving in. The people that deal drugs sell to addicts with illnesses just to make a little bit of money. When it comes to situations like that, I'm not going to tolerate it."

My Opinion about the Drug Mugs

My Opinion about the Drug Mugs
As I stated quoted in the News-Journal on August 8th, 2008 putting the pictures and listing the charges against them is demeaning and demoralizing. The program has no validity that I have seen to date, it’s certainly does not stop the drug use, but it does create another victim; the accused family. It is embarrassing to their families and the victim’s children alike. It has not slowed down any criminal activity. What I have heard coming from this action is bitterness not only from the victim, but from people all over the city. How many of us after viewing the mugs will go up to the victim and say ha-ha I saw you on the drug mugs. Then the assault rate would really go up.
Stephanie T. Bolden’s position as city council person is to create a resolution to become law as well as other elected officials. Why that power couldn’t be used to create programs to deter and treat the illness upon arrest. Like mandatory counseling, as a first option, upon refusal list the names with the charges without the degrading pictures. She boast about her teaching credentials of high school children, makes me wonder just how effective she is doing that, if you come up with thoughts, like drug mugs. Drug Mugs is a flop.
She so boldly wanted the public know about her opponent Richard Dyton having used drugs, this approach to me was nasty and shrewd. She mentioned that to me first hand before this campaigning got started, I did not know this about the man. And I could care less, in fact I have to ask; is a council person when applying to run for the office asked if they ever used drugs? Then I would ask with a raised eyebrow if the answer was no, are you sure! I say that because not many boomers can say I never touched the stuff. Why would she attempt to discredit her opponent like that is beyond me, for an official with all her education and supposing good footing with her district since 1993. I’ll tell you why Councilwoman Bolden has a communication problem with a pitch that is too high. She feels as though she does not have to answer to voters and that we gave her the green light to do as she feels, and that simply is not true. Her footing has been lost for some time now and the only way she has gotten elected for these many years is that machine she has in place; absentee ballots, and her sorority buddies working the field. She has forgotten about most of the 3rd District especially 11-02 and 12-02 and that is where most of her voters are. She works heavily in 07-01, 08-02, 13-02 and with the dawning of the Village of Eastlake community in the upper part of 11-02. Look at the signs, look at where they are placed and the areas she concentrate her ruthless machine. She has taken the voters in 11-02 & 12-02 for granted, just like she has done so with most civic groups. She has been running around with this report card that she created for herself, with no input again from the voters, can a student do that?; create their own report card. She and I have had our words and one thing that I said to her in an email “you are self serving and foresight shows your plans to run for Hazel's seat”.
How this all started I was asked by Adam Taylor on a phone interview 8/7; he asked me what were my thoughts about drug mugs and “Would Dyton’s drug use deter me from supporting him?” my answer was no, simply because his previous use if that were true has no reflection on what he does now. If elected I would apply pressure and expect just as much from him as 3rd district councilman as I do from ST Bolden. I have to say that since I became president of Vandever Civic Assoc, it has been an uphill battle to communicate with her and to except where I stand on the side of the people. That is in part because I am not a part of her machine. I am the squeaky wheel!

In the struggle

Jaehn G. Dennis

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