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Los Osos bear statue to be fixed thanks to father-son team

Dave Doust, left, a concrete artist, and his son, Kyle Doust, a special effects artist, talk about how they plan to repair the damaged nose of the Los Osos bear statue on South Bay Boulevard.
Dave Doust, left, a concrete artist, and his son, Kyle Doust, a special effects artist, talk about how they plan to repair the damaged nose of the Los Osos bear statue on South Bay Boulevard. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The Los Osos bear will soon be able to smell again.

The iconic bear statue stationed along South Bay Boulevard in Los Osos, which lost a chunk of its nose in a vandalism incident last week, is on its way to recovery.

A father and son team with molding expertise has volunteered to replace the missing six-inch portion of the bear’s nose.

The missing snout was found mostly intact by Los Osos residents John Zweemer and James Parry in bushes near the statue last week.

“We wanted to find this because it was an attack not just against the bear, it’s an attack against our town,” Zweemer said. “This is our town’s landmark piece.”

After learning of the damage, which took place overnight Feb. 25, Los Osos residents Dave Doust and his son, Kyle Doust, have volunteered to replace the snout.

Dave Doust is a retired fire captain who now is a concrete sculptor specializing in fountains.

Doust makes high-grade molds with his 32-year-old son, Kyle, who concentrates on painting, mold-making and sculptures and attends Long Beach State where he studies technical theater and design to make sets for the movie industry.

“This is very sad and we decided that we have this expertise and so we said ‘Let’s do it,’” Dave Doust said. “We like to help and we have the energy for this.”

Pandora Nash-Karner, a co-coordinator of the volunteer, community project group Celebrate Los Osos, said she was contacted on Monday by Dave Doust.

“I received an email entitled ‘I have the ability to restore the bear,’” Nash-Karner said. “He said, ‘Together we can totally restore the bear for no cost.’ It’s really amazing to have them step forward.”

The Dousts will use stainless steel rods and marine epoxy to replace the nose of the statue created by artist Paula Zima. The materials were donated by Miner’s Ace Hardware in Los Osos.

The process began this week and the Dousts hope to finish their work sometime this weekend, though it could take until next week to complete the project.

The bear highlights the history of a valley where grizzlies once roamed in abundance — hence the name Los Osos, which means “the bears” in Spanish.

In addition to the damage to the bear statute, the control panel that lights it up at night was smashed.

Los Osos Rotary president-elect Gary Dove will fix that device and install a new solar panel to replace one that was stolen in a previous vandalism incident this year.

Dove, an electrician, said the cost to replace the panel, controller, cabinet and power supply will be around $500. The Los Osos Chamber of Commerce is accepting donations to pay for the lighting system’s replacement.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the vandalism incidents, but no arrests have been made.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. For more information, call the Sheriff’s Office at 781-4550 or to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 549-STOP or 549-7867.

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