Published October 19th, 2016
Thefts Darken Orinda's Cheerful Scarecrows Scene
By Sora O'Doherty
This attractive young lady is one of the Orinda Garden Club's scarecows that the show up in the community this time of year. Photo Sora O'Doherty
Orinda's colorful scarecrows are back, thanks to the Orinda Garden Club. But no sooner were the whimsical decorations put in place around Orinda by Nita Roethe and her husband Jim than two of them were stolen.

The scarecrow project was started about three years ago by Marty De Jonghe. A retired Orinda teacher, she made a scarecrow to brighten the Orinda freeway offramp three years ago. People liked it so much that last year she was determined to make more. Her friend, an elderly gentleman named Ray Horton, had a jigsaw and cut out the round pieces of wood for the heads. Then the members of the Orinda Garden Club decorated them and constructed the imaginative scarecrows and placed them around Orinda to remind folks it was autumn and bring a smile to residents' faces.

De Jonghe died suddenly at the end of February at age 77, and Roethe stepped forward to take up the scarecrow project. She didn't know Horton, but ran into a friend at De Jonghe's memorial service who did. Horton, who lives in an assisted living facility, was contacted and cut out 30 scarecrow heads for the club.

This year the club assembled 17 scarecrows to display around Orinda, including five that remained from last year. In front of Morrisons Jewelers they placed a scarecrow decorated with lots of bling and some vivid make-up. They jokingly called her "Dolly Parton." Close by was "Dolly's Little Sister." But not for long. The Roethes put her up on Saturday evening, but by Sunday morning, she was gone, one of the two scarecrows stolen this year. The other, more ominously, was dressed in a clown costume. Roethe has contacted the police about the thefts, and also to ascertain that the clown costume from the missing scarecrow has not been used in any subsequent crimes.

If anyone has any information concerning the stolen scarecrows, they should contact the Orinda police. There is a reward for the return of the scarecrows.

In other Garden Club related news, three sycamore trees taken down by PG&E under high tension lines at the triangle in Orinda will soon be replaced by three flowering plums.

Scaring Up Some Fun This Halloween

All three Lamorinda communities will be helping little ghouls and goblins with trick-or-treating this year.

In Lafayette: Take a stroll down Trick or Treat Street, 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, in Downtown Lafayette (First Street to Dewing Ave.). Children and their parents are invited to Trick-or-Treat on Mt. Diablo Blvd. from Oak Hill Rd. to Dewing Ave. and in La Fiesta Square. All participating businesses will display a "Trick-or-Treat Poster" and balloons. Please come in costume to receive a special treat. Don't forget to bring a Trick-or-Treat bag. Sponsored by the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.

In Moraga: Costumed children are invited to Trick-or-Treat at the businesses of the Rheem Center from 3 to 5 p.m. on Halloween, Monday, Oct. 31. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Sponsored by the Rheem Valley businesses. Located at Rheem Boulevard at Moraga Road.

In Orinda: From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, Orinda Theatre Square and Lamorinda Moms are partnering this year to bring a Trick-or-Treat walk to Theatre Square. The event is open to the public, for kids 12 and under, and kids do need to be accompanied by an adult. In addition to participating businesses handing out candy and Halloween treats, there will be free face-painting and food and drink specials at participating restaurants.

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Copyright Lamorinda Weekly, Moraga CA