By Matt Mackinder
Clarkston News Editor
INDEPENDENCE TWP. — Allegedly on the night of Oct. 30, portions of the Story Walk on the grounds of the Clarkston Independence District Library were damaged.
No one has been arrested or charged and the incident remains under investigation by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Independence Township Substation.
“The responding deputy informed me that five of the displays containing stories attached to individual stands/podiums were removed and thrown on the ground,” said Sgt. Kevin Braddock, of the township substation. “None of the displays were broken as a result. The deputy retrieved all five of the displays and placed them all back on the stands. He will be generating a mischief incident report.
“I assume this occurred Oct. 30 due to it being Devil’s Night.”
Library Director Julie Meredith said the incident was brought to her attention almost immediately.
“Jim Carlson is a longtime resident and library advocate,” Meredith said. “He and his dog Rhett walk the trail behind the library regularly, so we are fortunate that he was able to call attention to the situation right away so we could address it before any children saw it.
“We have an amazing staff and they handled the situation like the pros that they are. An incident report was filled out, and the substation was notified. The officer was able to locate the pieces of the disassembled storyboards and helped us put things back in place. Fortunately, there is limited damage in terms of broken or missing parts, but we have a facilities worker that will do a more thorough assessment and make any repairs.”
The Story Walk is a collaboration between Clarkston Community Schools and the library. It is a series of storyboards along a trail. Each board is two pages of a children’s picture book. As you walk along the trail, you read the story. There are several stories as part of the trail and it is changed regularly.
“It is so disappointing that someone would damage something that was put in place for the joy of families in the community,” Meredith said.
Meredith added that the library is in the process of developing improvements to that area, including a new Hammock Garden created by Eagle Scout Drew Salkowski and a Monarch Waystation from a donation in memory of Mary Ann Pappas.
“We currently change the story in the Story Walk more frequently from April through October, then leave the current story until spring because the path is very rustic,” said Meredith. “Our vision includes making that Story Walk path more accessible for strollers, and potentially year-round, and have been working on a plan for a fundraising campaign to assist us in making that happen.”
Photo: Matt Mackinder