What have they got against Hooty?
The handcrafted "Hooty" sign that welcomes all to the Meadows neighborhood on Canyon Crest has gone missing, the victim -- again -- of vandals.
Meadows resident Jane Szabo's sign (which is really Woodsy Owl, but she calls it "Hooty") disappeared on Oct. 24.
This isn't the first time it's suffered insult. Szabo says she painted and installed the original sign (which has Smokey Bear on the other side) about 2008, where they were undisturbed for years. Then last fall, someone threw a large rock over and over again into the sign, putting a hole in the center and smashing off one side of it.
Jane made a new sign that was installed in January of this year, but that didn't last long, she writes:
That only lasted a few months or so and someone (almost certainly the same person) came back and smashed the sign up again - big huge dents, cracks and chunks missing all across the face. I decided to repair it this time instead of starting all over - to save money and time - and he was back up again looking good by the end of August.
When I made the repair I added a 3/4" OSB / chip board backing to it so rocks should no longer be able to go through the front surface. I hoped that would keep it safe.
But that didn't last long, either: on Oct. 24, Szabo found the sign damaged and Hooty missing:
I guess the rock thrower was not able to damage it, so likely he got up on the side board and used his full body weight to pull the sign straight off the screws. In doing so it broke the 4x4 post at the base of the sign! It was a lot of force. How it was done, of course, is only my conjecture.
Szabo says that her husband Todd "went to inspect the morning I noted it missing and saw that all around the base of the sign were footprints with a diamond pattern, some which lead down into the canyon. He suspected the sign had been dumped down there - in a big pile of poison oak, but he was unable to find it. Maybe someone drove away with it - but I am not sure. I really think whoever is doing this is someone who walks in and out of the Meadows - but that is all a guess too."
"I just can't understand why someone would be so intent on damaging," Szabo writes. "Most of my Meadows neighbors LOVE our signs."
The county is going to fix the 4x4 post this week, and Szabo said that she is planning to remove the Smokey Bear sign until then. But the mystery of who has got it in for Hooty remains.