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MONDAY, AUGUST 25, 1997202/307-0703



WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Executive Office for Weed and Seed, Office of Justice Programs, announced today that four winners have been chosen in the first Weed and Seed National Poster Contest. Winners were chosen from four age categories: kindergarten through first grade (I), second through fifth grade (II), sixth through eighth grade (III), and ninth through twelfth grade (IV). The contest, which was first announced through each United States Attorney's office last spring, ended with an official judging in Washington on August 7.

Winners, who must reside in an Officially Recognized Weed and Seed site, are as follows: Taneka Tate of Sikeston, Mo.; Chris Haynes, 10, of Lakeland, Fla.; Jason Thornton, 14, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Raul Jimenez, 17, of Los Angeles, Calif. These students have won an expense-paid educational trip to Washington, D.C., to be announced in the fall of 1997.

First begun in 1991, the Department's Operation Weed and Seed is a multi-agency strategy that "weeds out" violent crime, gang activity, drug use, and drug trafficking in targeted high-crime neighborhoods and then "seeds" the target area by restoring these neighborhoods through social and economic revitalization. The Weed and Seed strategy recognizes the importance of linking and integrating federal, state, and local law enforcement and criminal justice efforts with federal, state, and local social services, and private sector and community efforts to maximize the impact of existing programs and resources. It also emphasizes the importance of community involvement.

Four elements make up Weed and Seed: law enforcement; community policing; prevention, intervention, and treatment; and neighborhood restoration. Law enforcement activities constitute the "Weed" portion of the program. Revitalization, which includes prevention, intervention, and treatment services, and then neighborhood restoration constitutes the "Seed" element. Community policing is the "bridge" that links the Weed and Seed elements. The 1997 contest theme to be depicted in posters was "What Weed and Seed Means to My Neighborhood." Many of the children depicted images of growth and revitalization, which is an important part of the Department's Weed and Seed strategy. In addition to depicting the Weed and Seed theme, all contestants were required to use the words Weed and Seed on the poster, but were prohibited from including the name of their city. The winning poster in the high school age group was written in Spanish and offered an inspirational message.

"It was exciting to see the work that went into these posters and the hope that they represent for the future of these children" said Stephen Rickman, Director of the Executive Office for Weed and Seed. "We believe that the children's participation in their local Weed and Seed program will offer them many options for personal development, such as exploring their artistic abilities."

"We were happy to see so many children expressing themselves through art, as they made visual their hopes for improving their communities and stopping the violence that has gripped many neighborhoods for such a long time," added Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson, who oversees the Executive Office for Weed and Seed.

The national poster contest was open to all of the approximately 120 Weed and Seed sites nationwide. All contest participants will receive a "Certificate of Excellence" from EOWS, praising them for winning local contests and participating in the event. The Second Annual Weed and Seed National Poster Contest will be announced at the Weed and Seed National Training Conference, beginning on August 26.

Judges of the contest, chosen from the arts community and from the Department of Justice, were Shay Bilchik, Administrator of the Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Noel Brennan, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs; Diane Frankel, Director of the Institute of Museums and Library Services; Harriet Fulbright, Executive Director of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; Samuel Hoi, Dean of the Corcoran School of Art; and Reginald Robinson, Deputy Associate Attorney General at the Department of Justice.

To learn more about the Weed and Seed program, call the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at 1-800/851-3420 or visit the EOWS web site at Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.

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EOWS 97118

After hours, contact: Adam Spector, 202/516-6843