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A Wrinkle in Time

The little hand was on the 12 when Modesto's broken flower clock was lifted from its moorings Tuesday.

The big hand was already on a pickup truck bed.

A city crew used a crane to remove the 20-foot-diameter clock from its K Street site so damage done by trespassers could be repaired.

About two weeks ago, according to a surveillance video, six young people sat on the hands. That caused the electric motor to "seize," parks supervisor Todd Rocha said Tuesday.

City workers have not determined how long the repair will take or how much it will cost, he said. The clock is at the corporation yard on Jefferson Street.

It was the first time the device was removed since its 2001 installation on a slope at Modesto Centre Plaza.

The family of late winemaker Julio Gallo provided $90,000 for the project, which was dedicated to his late wife, Aileen. The Modesto Garden Club maintains the plantings on the clock face.

Tuesday afternoon, those flowers and shrubs remained in place, as did the 12 concrete blocks that mark the hours. The hands, gears and motor made it to the corporation yard without further damage, Rocha said.

"There's not a lot of experience with these things, so we're doing the best we can," he said.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at or 578-2385.