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Vandals strike park's totem pole again

April 10, 2012

Officials say the Comanche Trail Park totem pole was attacked by a hatchet-wielding vandal over the weekend. (HERALD photo/Amanda Moreno)

For the second time in less than five years, the historic totem pole at Comanche Trail Park has come under attack by vandals.

According to officials with the city of Big Spring, damage to the local landmark was discovered Monday.

“The pole was intact Saturday morning, so it had to be done some time between Saturday night and Monday morning,” said Kenny Davis, municipal landfill director.

“It appears to have been done by either a kid or a small man or teen using a hatchet, not an axe. I'm fairly sure if they had used an axe they would have brought the entire totem pole down.”

According to Davis, the existing pole was replaced in February 2010, with the majority of the work — including intricate carving — done by inmates at the local prisons.

“The existing totem is made of a true pine pole, which isn't a very hard wood,” Davis said. “So it's absolutely possible this kind of damage was done by a child or a smaller teen or adult.”

Despite the damage, Davis said the totem pole isn't going anywhere.
“The vandals got about one-third of the way through the pole,” Davis said. “However, it's not like a strong wind is going to break it in two. It's not going anywhere. Our concern at this point is they will come back and try to finish the job, so we'll be putting a steel plate over the area to protect it.”

The pole was first attacked in December 2008, when vandals used an axe to chop the local landmark down, according to police officials.

Shortly after the attack on the totem pole, vandals also targeted the nearby Kids Zone children's center in Comanche Trail Park, which was set ablaze during the late night hours.

Both acts drew a public outcry — as well as large rewards for information leading to the arrests of those responsible for the acts — however, no arrests were ever made in the crimes.

While the totem pole was eventually replaced — and Kids Zone was rebuilt, bigger and better than it was prior to the December 2008 fire — Davis said he and other city officials can't help but wonder why someone would choose to once again attack the local landmark.

“It's just hard to believe someone would want to do that,” he said. “You have to ask yourself, do they have something against Native Americans? Do they have something personal against that totem pole? It just doesn't make any sense.”

Regardless of why, Davis said it's simply a matter of time before the vandals are caught.

“There are video cameras in the park” he said. “The cameras weren't quite in the right position to catch them this time, but we've moved them to bear right on the totem pole now. Whether this is kids or teens, or even adults, we'll catch them on camera.”

Anyone with information regarding the totem pole or any other acts of vandalism are asked to call Big Spring Area Crimestoppers at 264-TIPS (8477). No caller ID is ever used and informants can remain anonymous.

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