Report by Paula Antolini
November 26, 2016 3:52PM EDT
Photo above: Original decorated “Giving Tree” and inset shows vandalism damage.
Who Vandalized Bethel’s ‘Giving Tree’ and Who Drew Graffiti Inside Town Gazebo?
In this holiday season the spirit of kindness is in the air, especially after the wonderful Winterfest celebration we had yesterday in Bethel, CT… but apparently some culprits do not feel the same way.
Last night the tree in front of the Toy Room store in Bethel, CT, called the “Giving Tree” had the lollipop decorations and lights vandalized beyond repair, said Toy Room store owner Kimberly Ramsey, “Totally bummed that the lights that were around the “Giving Tree” were vandalized last night … can’t be fixed, wires snapped & 2 missing.”
Photos 1 and 2 below show original tree before vandalism, photo 3 shows damage (click on photos to view larger).
The Giving Tree was set up for people to choose a star off the tree, buy a toy gift, and bring the unwrapped gift to the Toy Room of Bethel Social Services, to distribute toys to the needy.
HOW THE TREE BEGAN
Bethel residents Jen Prairie Jane Sage-Robison, Ruby Sage-Robison, Orion Carter, and Emily Carter decided to create a memorial rainbow yarn tree on Greenwood Avenue in Bethel, CT, called “LGBTQ Love Wins in Bethel, CT” to honor the victims of the Orlando massacre.
An idea came to mind when they saw a Facebook post about a dead tree on main street. Sage-Robison said, “We saw a Facebook post from a store owner on Greenwood Avenue about this dead tree in front of her store. She was lamenting how sad its bare branches were and wished someone would do something to spruce it up. Ruby and I went down and talked to the store owner and asked how she’d feel if we decorated the tree in rainbow colors – the symbol of unity and pride in the LBGT community- as a tribute to the victims of the homophobic hate crime in Orlando. She loved the idea.”
They soon joined with others to do the project.
More vandalism was spotted recently, Bethel Advocate saw some graffiti inside the town gazebo around election day (see photos below). Damage was on the gazebo floor and also the tops of two posts at the top of the ramp. Take a close look at the graffiti in the photos below to see if it offers any hints as to who may have committed this act.
We contacted First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker who said he would look into having it repainted, but cold weather could delay it with paint.
View photos of gazebo damage below (click on photos to view larger):
Who is doing all this damage to our town? It is completely unacceptable behavior. We do not know if this is adults or young people doing this damage, but if it is children, parents please have a talk with your children about community pride and that it’s not “cool” to deface town (or anyone’s) property. Keep your eyes open and report any delinquent activity to police or the town.