In the end, W.T. White alum Brent Herling never had to make good on his threat of a citizen's arrest. The unhappy neighbor, who smeared beige paint across the funky, half-mile long Forest Lane mural Herling and a rotating corps of more than 100 volunteers were busy restoring, never returned, cowed either by the prospect of encountering TI engineer/amateur artist Herling -- a man who once, single-handed, erased every spot of graffiti along a seven-mile stretch of Forest Lane -- on a dark sidewalk by the massive blowback the act of vandalism inspired.
That was at the beginning of June. Since then the restoration -- the Starship Enterprise's newly crisp transporter beams, the return of the giant armadillo's scales -- has been drama-free, the type of feel-good project that involves lots of paint-spattered children and good neighborly feelings all around. (Herling himself was responsible for a previous spot of controversy when he painted, on a long-blank section of wall with an image of SpongeBob SquarePants; this was seen as historically inaccurate, as SpongeBob did not exist when W.T. White students were painting the mural in 1976,)
Work wrapped up with a celebration on Saturday morning, complete with "Forest Lane 2014 Wall Groupie" T-shirts. Herling, who has recouped the $1,400 he spent on paint and supplies through donations, is particularly proud to have seen the effort to completion, and to have reunited with some old classmates who helped paint the original mural. He encourages passersby to stop and take a stroll down the length of the wall. You miss a lot at 40 miles per hour.
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