‘Noodles’was one of the more innocuous of words and symbols spray-painted on Easley Covered Bridge over the weekend. It is symptomatic of a problem dogging the county’s historic bridges for years: vandalism ranging from spray paint to outright structural damage, to the ultimate insult – the complete loss of Nectar Covered Bridge to arson in 1993. Probate Judge Chris Green commented: ‘It’s more than a shame that people have no more regard for these historic treasures that we’ve struggled so hard to preserve. We’ve got to do something to change our attitudes as a county toward these icons of our heritage. It’s a crime to deface public property, and we’re going to have to treat those who do it as criminals. If it comes to our installing surveillance cameras as a deterrent to this behavior, and to provide evidence for apprehending the offenders – so be it.’ The county’s three covered bridges were reopened to traffic in late 2013 and early 2014, after a process of five years and expenditure of nearly half a million dollars to repair and renovate them both from normal wear and deterioration, and from the depredations of repeated vandalism. The most recent incident has been referred to the Blount County Sheriff’s Department for investigation.