PEPPERELL -- The mystery of Pepperell's missing election banner has been solved.
"I was sitting here Friday morning, and I got a call from somebody I know who said, 'Hey I'm looking at the front page of the paper, and I have your sign,'" said Town Clerk Jeff Sauer.
That person was Carol Gates, bookkeeper at Advantage Automotive Center. She told Sauer that the banner, which had been hanging over Main Street announcing the Aug. 28 override election, had been sitting in the garage for about a week after being blown from its post by the wind and removed as a road hazard by a good Samaritan.
"When we had that wicked storm that blew through, one of the guys that works here saw that it was hanging and hitting people's cars who were trying to drive through the thing. So he pulled it down and brought it to the station. All the grommets were broken on it," she said.
Gates said she had called the police to let them know she had the sign, but the news hadn't yet reached Sauer.
Sauer said he appreciated the employee stepping up to help motorists by removing the banner, which had become a driving danger.
"It sounds to me like somebody did the right thing (by removing the banner) to prevent more trouble," said Sauer.
Within about a half hour of calling Sauer, Gates said, he came down to pick up the sign, which Sauer said was in fine condition other than the grommets.
In order to once again post the sign, Sauer enlisted the assistance of the
"You can poke a hole in it, but it can't be suspended above the street because the material would then rip," he said.
As of Aug. 27, it was hanging on the fence outside of the Pepperell Community Center.
"We actually tried to put it up across Main Street (again), but it ripped again, so that's why we put it along the fence," said Fire Chief Toby Tyler.
Sauer said the fence is the go-to location for signs that can no longer be hung up across the street.
"Particularly in times of bad weather, they often go straight to that place now," he said.
Although the banner was removed through innocuous circumstances, Gates said she could see why its absence was noted by some citizens.
"(The override election) is a sensitive subject," she said. "People want to make sure that everyone in town is educated about the vote."
Still, she and Sauer said there is no reason for citizens to feel alarmed about that fact that is was missing, especially as it was not only found and re-posted, but its initial removal was due to somebody doing the right thing.
"It wasn't the 'yes' people, it wasn't the 'no' people, it was just a caring kid who didn't want people to get hurt," she said.