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Robins Sighted, Graffiti In Windham

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 2/23/24 | 2/23/24

By Michael Ryan

WINDHAM - Robins have been sighted in Windham even as government officials try to see who painted graffiti on a community stonewall.

Three red-breasted harbingers of spring were spotted by town supervisor Thomas Hoyt, earlier this week, a mile or so up Mill Street.

“I had to check on something in that area, out by the sharp bend. As I was leaving, I turned around on Oliver Road and there they were,” Hoyt says.

Robins are among the most welcome of birds with their sweet summer song and sudden reappearance as the weather starts to warm.

They are a sure sign that even if snowmobilers are waiting to put away their machines, wishing for late season snows, winter is outta’ here.

Meanwhile, on a more serious note, Hoyt, in a radio interview this week, reported an act of vandalism that is being investigated by local police.

As of press time (Wednesday evening), security cameras in the vicinity are being reviewed for possible identification of the person or persons responsible for the defacement.

“Somebody spray-painted the beautiful stonewall bordering the Windham Cemetery, just below Mitchell Hollow Road,” Hoyt says.

The structure extends from Mitchell Hollow Road eastward, presenting an iconic entranceway or memorable exit to and from downtown for visitors and residents, stretching hundreds of feet.

It was created and revived by stonemason Derek Barlow as part of the town’s massive infrastructure renaissance twenty years ago.

Over the years it has become a local landmark, prettified with flowers in the summer and autumn while serving not only as an earth-retaining fortress but also as a testament to rural history.

Smaller stonewalls built out of necessity by the earliest settlers of Windham can be seen throughout the mountains when the leaves have fallen.

Barlow’s work is a masterpiece with its sharp angles blending into the rising landscape and gentle visual amid so much surrounding ruggedness.

The graffiti is apparently large initials “NAM” with squiggles and an angel halo over one of the letters although there is nothing heavenly about its presence, according to the supervisor.

“It’s unfortunate and annoying. Derek put his heart into this stonewall and it’s an important part of the town,” Hoyt says.

“For whatever reason, somebody took it upon themselves to do this. Maybe it’s kids or something but it upsets a lot of people.

“We’re looking at cameras to see if we can recognize who did this or find somebody walking by who maybe noticed something,” Hoyt says.

Barlow has been contacted, hoping to clean the stones that have been defiled with black paint, happening sometime during Valentines week.

“Hopefully there is a proper way to remove the graffiti and the outline without scarring the stone,” Hoyt says.

“We had an issue like this some years ago when someone put graffiti on one of our pump houses. We were able to find out who did it.

“The penalty was that we supplied the materials and they had to repaint the pump house. This is different because of the texture of the stones,” Hoyt says, noting formal criminal charges could be an option.

In other matters:

—Town council members approved the hiring of Sondra Allen to help town clerk Bonnie Poehmel with cleaning out and updating records.

“It will be a day here and a day there,” Hoyt says, noting Allen currently also serves as secretary to the planning board.

“Every year, we have a deadline to mop out old records and put in new ones. Some things we keep for life, others need to be discarded.”

A large space on the bottom floor of the municipal building is used for filing and record-keeping, keeping documents accessible but not underfoot.

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