Selectboard Chairman Dick DeGray holds up the cut ends of a string of Christmas lights from the Creamery Bridge in West Brattleboro.The lights, which
Selectboard Chairman Dick DeGray holds up the cut ends of a string of Christmas lights from the Creamery Bridge in West Brattleboro. The lights, which DeGray and his wife volunteer their time and money to install, were vandalized Thursday night. (Zachary P. Stephens/Brattleboro Reformer)
Saturday November 24, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- The holiday lights strung up on the Creamery Bridge have been vandalized for the second time in roughly a week and a half.

Brattleboro Selectboard Chairman Dick DeGray said someone cut a wire on the side of the bridge farthest from Western Avenue, making it impossible for the lights on that side to glow. He said he, his wife and a small group of volunteers donated their time and money to decorate the bridge about two weeks ago. The lights were tampered with a few days after they were laid, when several of the small bulbs were removed. DeGray and others replaced them.

The lights were turned on Wednesday night and when DeGray stopped by Thursday evening to check on them he noticed the severed wire.

"This was real vandalism," he said at the bridge on Friday. "It was pretty disheartening for me. ... This really bothered me because it was cut."

He said what is more frustrating is that good-hearted people volunteer to pay for and put up the lights. He said it is disappointing to know someone can be so cruel during the holiday season.

"People enjoy having the bridge lit up like it was many, many years ago before I came to Brattleboro. It used to be lit up much more than we put up on the bridge," he said, adding that he moved to town around 1980. The bridge used to get decked up with even more illumination and a Santa Claus and sleigh on top and DeGray rejuvenated the tradition of lights last Christmas season.


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"So to see this really made me have a miserable Thanksgiving. ... I'm not sure where society is when stuff like this happens."

DeGray said he contacted the Brattleboro Police Department and spoke with Chief Gene Wrinn about the vandalism. He said anyone with information regarding who may have damaged the lights should contact the police. Wrinn was out of the office when the Reformer contact the department seeking comment in the afternoon and a dispatcher knew of no such case.

DeGray, who called it a labor of love, said all those involved with installing the lights appreciated the anonymity that came with it but thought the public should know about what is going on. He would like citizens to keep an eye open for suspicious activity near the bridge.

The Creamery Bridge, an 80-foot-long structure, was built in 1879 and a sidewalk and slate roof were added in 1917. It is strictly a pedestrian at this point. Citizens Bridge, right next to it, connects Western Avenue with Memorial Park Drive.

He said he and his wife were also behind the planting of flowers along Main Street and mentioned how upsetting it was to see it vandalized.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.