A stack of hay bales on a Massachusetts farm that were decorated in support of the Democratic presidential ticket but that were burned down has been replaced with a similar display but a different message.
The original display at Holiday Brook Farm in Dalton featured 19 wrapped hay bales painted with the words “USA” and “Vote” along with the names of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris.
A local man is accused of burning it down Friday evening. No one was hurt.
The new, nearly identical stack of hay bales now says “Love, Unity, Respect” and features a U.S. flag, a globe and the word “Vote.”
Farm owner Dicken Crane told the Boston Globe that he decided on the new message after seeing the widespread attention drawn by his first display.
“We really didn’t want to increase the divisiveness around the election,” Crane said Monday. “It’s a message that we really hope this country is about. If we respect unity and love, it makes the names on the political message less important.”
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The suspect, Lonnie Durfee, 49, of Dalton, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to burning personal property. He was held without bail pending a hearing Friday to determine whether he is a danger to society, the Berkshire Eagle reported.
Prosecutors requested the hearing based on Durfee’s arrest in 2014 on suspicion of assault and battery.
A voicemail was left Tuesday with Durfee’s attorney.
Durfee used motor oil and gasoline to set the display alight because he “disagreed with the political stance it represented,” according to the police report.
He apologized and offered to pay for the damages, estimated at about $2,000, the report said.