Hateful vandalism — 'that's not us, that's not our community'

Community responds, hangs signs of peace, replaces damaged sign

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Barrington residents and town officials moved quickly to respond to an act of vandalism last week. 

On Wednesday, March 1 someone noticed that a swastika had been burned into a Barrington Preservation Society sign that stands along the East Bay Bike Path near the intersection with New Meadow Road.

Just a day later the sign had been removed by town officials and people from Temple Habonim had filled the area with homemade signs preaching peace and love. 

Vandalism marks sign along bike path.

By Friday morning, town officials and volunteers had replaced the damaged sign with a new one.

"We want these signs to represent the community," said Barrington resident Mike Quas. "To have something that is hurtful — that's not us, that's not our community."

Mike and his wife Sydney Montstream-Quas played key roles in helping to get the signs installed years ago. Now Mike plays a key role in helping to keep the signs clean and clear of graffiti or vandalism. 

When he first heard that the sign near New Meadow Road had been damaged, he thought someone might have spray-painted on it. When he realized the swastika had been burned into the surface, he knew something more than cleaning spray and elbow grease was needed.

Eventually, officials realized they needed to replace the sign. They had another set, so they gathered it and the DPW installed it on Friday morning.

A number of officials and volunteers gathered for the event, including Barrington Town Manager Jim Cunha.

"It was a despicable act of vandalism and it will not be tolerated," said Mr. Cunha. "It was a hateful act and a hateful symbol."

Rabbi Andrew Klein also criticized the vandalism and then praised the effort by Lisa Denny, a volunteer with Temple Habonim who organized the creation of the peace signs.

The signs are tied to traffic sign posts near the intersection of New Meadow Road and the bike path.

Police are still asking the public for any information "on the culprit(s) responsible for vandalizing the sign." The department's confidential tip line is 401-437-3933. The detectives can be reached at 401-437-3937.

Barrington Police Chief John LaCross said no threats had been called in at either Temple Habonim or Chabad House.

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