'Curb alerts' prompt advisory

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Shumway — What's a "curb alert"? It's when something is advertised as being given away for free -- to whoever shows up and scoops it off the curb. "It is a great idea for keeping good stuff out of the landfills and for sharing with those that can't always afford things. It becomes a bad idea when the item sits out on the curb for days that turn into weeks," says the latest Shumway Neighborhood Association newsletter. "No one will want to take that couch that has spent the night at the mercy of every cat that wandered by or the TV that was rained on or the toys that are now missing parts." Furthermore, junk left at curbs tends to attract more junk -- as well as people who figure a junky-looking neighborhood is an easy target for crime. So, go ahead and post those curb alerts, the newsletter says, but be aware that anything that sits for days has transformed from a free gift for someone into a problem for the entire neighborhood.