Jenna Raphael, of Batavia, spent a lot of time with the quaint little structure she affectionately calls "her house" during baseball season last summer. She had hoped that it would inspire people to take pride in their community.
Unfortunately, somebody came to give the opposite message...
The little red house, which is at Dwyer Stadium and manned during Muckdogs games as an information area for the public, was vandalized some time during the last few months.
Muckdogs General Manager Travis Sick discovered the damage after the winter snow melted. He said there's no way to be sure when the incident actually took place.
Furthermore, since no one is at the stadium at night, there is no way to determine who the vandals are. Sick suspects it may have been a group of kids in the area.
Fortunately, the damage was not extensive. The door was kicked in and the lock severed (above photo); parts of the door were broken off, so it will need to be fixed. There was also some debris on the floor inside that was not there before.
Nevertheless, Sick and Raphael both see this as a "disappointing and almost ironic" incident (Sick's words).
"The sign says 'take pride in your community,' and someone decided not to do that," he said.
"It's hard for me to understand what motivates kids and adolescents to do this," Raphael said. "I don't think there is enough to occupy youth in this community, therefore they turn to these types of mischievous behaviors."
Locted near the stadium's Kid's Zone and, Sick says "off the beaten path," this house was given to Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse (GCASA) last year. GCASA staff repainted it and made the above sign.
Raphael used it as a station from which to share information with Muckdogs spectators about Genesee County Drug Free Communities Coalition's (a GCASA program) efforts to address and improve environmental conditions that can lead to problem behaviors -- drugs, alcohol use, crime, fighting, etc. -- among our youth. For information on the coalition and, by extension, how this fits in with their overall mission, click on the following link: http://thebatavian.com/blogs/billie-owens/gc-drug-free-communities-top-10-finalist-international-honor/22803).
"Vandalizing a house (with a sign) that says 'take pride in your community' shows a lot of disrespect," Raphael said, adding that it "sends a distasteful message to those who continually work to make Genesee County a healthier and safer place to live."
She hopes to use the house again during the Muckdogs' upcoming season, in spite of what happened.
Because there is really no way to find out who the culprits are, no charges are being pressed. But Sick is encouraging any community members who are in a position to do so, to keep an eye out for suspicious activity at the stadium at night.
"If you see anyone walking around that shouldn't be there, call the police."
Top photo taken by Linda Cummings