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Stolen signs create safety issue
REGION -- There's an old Maine adage that says "You can't get there from here."
That might have become a reality for a good number of tourists who venture their way to these parts from Rangeley, except for one businessman's signage which is about all an unfamiliar traveler has to guide them.
Dennis Daniel is owner of Ellis Pond Variety, located on the Roxbury Notch Road near Roxbury Pond. He has 50 to 60 signs that read "Food & Gas" over 30 miles along snowmobile trails and roads coming down from Rangeley.
But there's a problem -- someone is stealing those signs or worse, deliberately putting them in other places to deceive motorists.
"This has been happening for three years. Someone doesn't like me. Fine, but this is also a safety issue," said Daniel, who spent three hours on Sunday placing 14 new signs in spots where the old ones disappeared.
While his signs bring him business, he feels the signs are also providing a service.
Daniel said an older couple was renting a cabin at the nearby lake came into the store for lunch and said they would come back in the evening for another meal after venturing to Rangeley. On their way back, the couple took a wrong turn in their vehicle and did not get back in time.
The next morning he saw the couple, who told him what had happened and that they eventually found their way again because of Daniel's signs.
On another occasion, someone turned one of his around and the motorist became disorientated and ended up traveling over a logging road before realizing he better turn back.
About 30 miles away coming from Rangeley, there's an intersection that will take motorists this way or to Dixfield. Until they reach these areas, there is no place for food or gas, or a bathroom facility.
Daniel said, "I talked to a customer today and told her what's been happening. She's 70 and asked 'what if someone is having a medical issue? This is a destination point.'"
He has reported the sign issue with the Game Warden, but there's not much that can be done until the culprit is located. Anyone with information about the sign tampering is asked to call Daniel at 545-2713.