2-1/2 Cents

Sunday, August 13, 2017 

The Villages


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The Chronicle

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My, oh my.  What a silly web we weave.  Almost like retired Navy commander Ackert who moved into a Tallahasee neighborhood four years ago and within a month added a patriotic American flag cover to his mailbox.

The flag cover has been there for the entire four years but on July 26th, his community association sent him a letter saying he would have to remove the flag to protect the "aesthetic and property values" of the neighborhood.  [What happened to the other three and one-half years?  I'd say that their community association is somewhat neglectful or inept, heh?]

The letter continued, "As the holiday season has come to a close, please remove the American flag mailbox wrap.  Decorations may be displayed 30 days prior to the associated holiday and must be taken down within 15 days after the holiday."  [Hey!  Maybe they're for Labor Day, now!]

According to Ackert, "If somebody had complained about it four years ago, it wouldn't be such an issue."

Note:  The association has also asked him to remove a Navy sticker from his window, along with stickers showing support for the local sheriff's office and the Special Olympics.

Back home, here in The Villages - just south of Tallahasee and Ackert's plite, we, too, have an association that believes that a small, white cross placed in your front yard is akin to Ackert's dreaded, flag cover on the mailbox.  If it's not removed, then anarchy will surely follow.  Afterall, it does say in the deed restrictions for District 7 (that's us), paragraph 2.15, "Lawn ornaments are prohibited, except for seasons displays not exceeding a thirty (30) day duration.  Then paragraph 2.27 goes on to say "The Developer reserves the right to establish such other reasonable rules and regulations covering the utilization of Homesites by the Owner in order to maintain the aesthetic qualities of this Subdivision, all of which apply equally to all of the parties in the Subdivision  The rules and regulations shall take effect within five (5) days from the sending of a notice to an Owner."

I guess I'm not sure how anyone could misconstrue a mailbox for a lawn ornament.  And for that matter, a small, white cross.  However, what maintains the aesthetic quality of a home?  Is one small, white cross okay?  How about two small, white crosses?  How about 50 small, white crosses?  And by who's definition of "small" are the residents to follow?  Is one 5-foot, white cross okay?  How about a 3 foot swastica?  See where this is going?

So the deed restrictions aren't very clear.  But then, there are comments by Villagers like the following:

Why do we see small white crosses in front yards in The Villages?

Pam DahlPam Dahl

Several residents, formerly from Michigan brought up why in Frankenmuth, Mich. did the town have so many little white crosses in peoples front yards. It was because of Frankenmuth, that several people decided to bring and practice that idea here to the The Villages. You see,  when driving through Frankenmuth, Mich. people are intrigued with the many small simple crosses in the front yards of the homes they pass.  Those crosses are a statement of support or the Frankenmuth’s Christian Foundation.

Years ago, an atheist living in Frankenmuth complained about two crosses on a bridge in town.  He requested that they be removed and the town removed them. He then decided that, since he was so successful with that, the city shield should also be changed since it had on it, along with other symbols, a heart with a cross inside, signifying the city’s Lutheran beginnings.

A white cross in a lawn in The Villages.

A white cross in a lawn in The Villages.

At that point, the resident decided they had enough.  Hundreds of residents made their opinions known by placing small crosses in their front yards. Seeing this quiet, but powerful statement from the community, the man removed his complaint. Those simple crosses still remain in those front yards today.

One resident, after passing these crosses for two years, it finally hit home that a smallcross in millions of front yards across our country could provide a powerful and inspiring message for all Americans passing them every day.

I think that it might be time to take this idea across America as some of those in The Villages have done.  We have an administration that says “we are not a Christian nation” and everywhere you look the ACLU and others are trying to remove from our history and current lives any reference to GOD, prayer, or the fact that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian Principles.  Our administration can’t bring themselves to talk about “radical Muslims or Islamic terrorists” for fear of offending them, but they can talk about Americans “clinging to their guns and their religion” or insinuate that our own military troops coming home from the services overseas might turn into terrorists.  The majority of Americans are Christians, why are we letting this happen to us?

So being of sound mind, and nothing else to do at 5:00 AM, I decided to take on the challange.  What challange, you say?  Well, let's just use Google Earth, zoom up to Frankenmuth, Michigan, and see if we can find these so-called white crosses in anyones front yard.

I've got to admit....They're still there.  Or at least, they are, on the few streets that I looked at.  Especially on West Schleier Street.  Two things to say about this....(1) W. Schleier St. is just behind the St. Lorenz Lutheran Church and (2) their crosses are much more prominent than ours.

(1) Showing St Lorenz Lutheran Church and the proximity of West Schleier Street (arrow)

(2)  The 1st two are both sides of a duplex.
Can you find the cross in each picture?
All four homes are on West Schleier Street.

Or perhaps, the following complaint article in The Village-News:

Villages Community Standards has received nearly 90 complaints about crosses

A white cross at a home in the Village of Gilchrist.

A white cross at a home in the Village of Gilchrist.

Community Standards office has received a total of 87 complaints about the white crosses that have been popping in yards around The Villages.

Between Jan. 1, 2016 and Jan. 30, 2017, Community Standards received 310 lawn ornament complaints of which 87 were for crosses (that's roughly 1.64 complaints per week).

“All of the 310 lawn ornament complaints were investigated in accordance with the deed restrictions and the District’s adopted Rule and processed in the same manner,” said Candice Dennis, manager of the Community Standards Department.

One of those cross complaints was lodged against Larry and Rose Kehoe in the Village of Gilchrist. You can read more about their reaction HERE

By far, the greatest number of cross complaints came in Community Development District 9, where the Kehoes reside. But there were also cross complaints in CDDs 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9.

Here is how the District describes lawn ornaments:

Lawn Ornaments – Lawn ornaments, or yard art, generally refers to manmade items located anywhere outside the structure or footprint of the home. However, pots and planters designed and constructed for plant use are permitted so long as they are used for their intended purpose (doesn't say you can't paint a cross on a planter, does it - as long as the planter is being used for their intended purpose - holding a plant?).  The inclusion or attachment of flowers or plants to a manmade ornament, not originally constructed for plant use, does not change the item from a lawn ornament to landscaping.  The word ‘lawn’ includes areas that are mulched, concreted, sodded, rocked, landscaped, bare earth or any other material outside the structure (footprint) of the home.  The following is intended as a partial reference list of lawn ornaments:  any man made concrete or ceramic statue or figure (including religious symbols [Ouch]), windmill, pinwheels, train sets, deer, geese, flamingos or any other animal or human figures. [yea, yea, yea!  We get the idea but once you create a partial reference list of the lawn ornaments, you need to be able to provide a complete reference list, otherwise the list could be endless and added to at the whim of the originator.  Is a non-concrete or non-ceramic figure of a space shuttle permitted?  How about a painted (metal) figure of Shrek?  How about something from Jarassic Park (non-concrete or non-cermic, of course)? How about a real elephant and three zebras?  No, I guess that last one would fall under pets or livestock.] 

If you really have some time to spare, you should read some of the 118 comments to the above letter / blog posted by Pam Dahl or the 87 comments to the Meta Minton article in the Villages-News on January 31, 2017.  Who knew we had so many different people with so many different opinions?  But then, perhaps, that is why we're known as a nation (and a Village) with such diversity.


August 13, 2017

"Medley: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)" (commonly called "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In", "The Age of Aquarius" or "Let the Sunshine In") is a medley of two songs written for the 1967 musical Hair by James Rado & Gerome Ragni (lyrics), and Galt MacDermot (music), released as a single by American R&B group The 5th Dimension. The song peaked at number one for six weeks on the US Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart in the spring of 1969. The single topped the American pop charts and was eventually certified platinum in the U.S. by the RIAA. Instrumental backing was written by Bill Holman and provided by session musicians commonly known as the Wrecking Crew. The actual recording is something of a "rarity"; the song was recorded in two cities, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, then mixed together in the studio, afterwards.

The song listed at number 66 on Billboard's "Greatest Songs of All Time".

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