Spontaneous Shrines

"We who build shrines and construct public altars or parade with photographs of the deceased will not allow you to write off victims as regrettable statistics…They are, I believe, the voice of the people." –Jack Santino

Archive for the tag “controversy”

Veterans Day #1: Lake Elsinore Veterans memorial proposed for Diamond Stadium

I will be sharing a series of articles from the Inland Empire-based newspaper The Press-Enterprise regarding a proposed Veterans memorial in Lake Elsinore, California and then writing a post about it in the context of spontaneous shrines.  Here is the first article from PE on October 24th:

LAKE ELSINORE: Veterans memorial proposed for Diamond Stadium

The Lake Elsinore City Council will vote on the project at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The cost is put at $46,172

STAFF WRITERBY JOHN F. HILL

johnhill@pe.com

Published: 22 October 2012 04:16 PM

A black granite memorial to military veterans has been proposed for the main entrance to the Lake Elsinore Storm’s Diamond Stadium.

The City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 23, will consider approving the memorial’s final design and $50,000 price tag. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Lake Elsinore Cultural Arts Center, 183 N. Main St.

The six-foot-tall memorial will feature a set of polished black granite pedestals set on a raised concrete circle in front of the stadium entrance. Five small pedestals will be engraved with the emblems of each branch of the armed forces, surrounding a taller, central monument with text over an American Flag.

The base of the monument, under the silhouette of a solider kneeing in front of a cross, will read: “Freedom is Never Free.”

The design was chosen by a committee of Mayor Brian Tisdale, Lake Elsinore Historical Society President Joyce Hohenadl and representatives from local veterans groups, according to a city report.

Hohenadl said the group wanted a prominent location, so they decided to put the memorial right where baseball fans walk in to buy their tickets for Storm games.

“We thought that would be the most visible place for it,” Hohenadl said.

The memorial will be built by Sun City Granite, a Perris company known for its work with the military. The engraving company produces headstones for all fallen troops buried at Riverside National Cemetery.

It also built the National Distinguished Flying Cross Memorial at March Air Force Base and the new veterans memorial in Canyon Lake, said owner Teresa Herbers.

The company, which designed the Lake Elsinore memorial, has agreed to build it for $46,172. The city has $50,000 set aside for the project in its 2012-13 budget.

Follow John F. Hill on Twitter: @johnfhill2

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Mojave cross to be reinstalled on Veterans Day, 2012

A while ago, I wrote a post about a memorial cross for veterans located in the Mojave National Preserve in California.  This cross was considered very controversial because of its placement on public property.  It went missing in early 2010 but authorities think it has finally been found– in Half Moon Bay (about 500 miles north of the Mojave).  If possible, I’ll attend the re-installation ceremony on Veterans Day and post about it.  For now, here’s some local news coverage on this interesting event:

MOJAVE CROSS: Memorial found days before replacement ceremony

 2010/FILE PHOTO
The foundation of the Mojave Cross was all that remained atop Sunrise Rock in the Mojave National Preserve in May 2010. A Veterans of Foreign Wars plans to erect a new cross on Veterans Day 2012.

BY BEN GOAD

WASHINGTON BUREAU

bgoad@pe.com

Published: 06 November 2012 03:19 PM

The protracted and often mysterious Mojave Cross saga took another unexpected turn, just days before supporters of the controversial war memorial were set to celebrate the symbol’s long-awaited return to a desert hilltop.

Two years ago, the cross vanished from its perch in the Mojave National Preserve following a U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing it to stand. This week, authorities believe they found the stolen memorial more than 500 miles away in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco.

Affixed to a fence post with plastic ties, the seven-foot cross was found in good condition late Monday, Nov. 5. Attached to it was a note identifying the cross as an “important historical artifact” and asking whoever found it to alert the authorities.

Rebecca Rosenblatt of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department said investigators believed the cross was the same one stolen from the Mojave Desert. She described their efforts to confirm its authenticity as “similar to identifying a lost child with scars or birthmarks.”

Henry and Wanda Sandoz, who have served as caretakers of the cross for decades, were not so sure. They viewed photographs that showed a box-shaped piece at the base of the cross that was not part of the original construction, Wanda Sandoz said. Either way, the couple intend to go ahead with plans to install a replacement cross this weekend.

“We don’t want to give the nut that took it the satisfaction,” Sandoz said Tuesday.

Mojave National Preserve spokeswoman Linda Slater said the cross is considered evidence and on Tuesday was still being held by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department.

The cross was first erected1934 to honor war dead, and the Sandoz’s have kept watch over its various incarnations as a promise to one of the veterans who first placed it on Sunrise Rock, east of Baker in San Bernardino County. Originally made of wood, the cross had been vandalized and stolen before, prompting Henry Sandoz to make one out of iron and bolt it to the rock.

In the 1990s, the cross became the focal point of a national debate over whether the symbol should be allowed to stand on public land in the Mojave National Preserve. The ACLU, which joined a lawsuit seeking its removal, contended that the cross violated the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, which prohibits the government from endorsing any religion.

In the decade that followed, the case wound through the court system, with judges twice ruling that the cross must come down. That ruling came even though Congress had approved a land swap orchestrated by Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands that would have left the cross on private land owned by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

In 2010, a divided Supreme Court ruled that that decision to remove the cross did not take proper account of the land transfer and sent the case back to federal district court in California. But the cross was stolen two months later, and the federal government barred supporters from replacing it until a settlement was reached. No arrests were ever made. Another cross appeared shortly after but was quickly ordered taken down.

In April this year, a settlement was reached. The land transfer envisioned by Lewis years earlier was formally completed last week, setting the stage for a Veterans Day ceremony this Sunday, Nov. 11, to install the replacement cross.

Sandoz said she hopes the ceremony will signal the end of the fight to return the cross to its original place. “We felt like maybe this would never happen in our lifetime,” she said.

Now, she said, “we feel like – mission accomplished.”

Also contributing to this report: staff writer Gail Wesson and the Associated Press.

Follow Ben Goad on Twitter: @ben_goad

MOJAVE CROSS CEREMONY

A replacement cross will be erected on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

When: Cross installation, 11 a.m.; rededication ceremony, 1 p.m.

Where: Sunrise Rock, 11.5 miles south of Interstate 15 off Cima Road in the Mojave National Preserve

Skittles, iced tea, and 1,000,000 hoodies for Trayvon Martin

On March 21, 2012,  I went  to Union Square in New York City where thousands of protesters had gathered for the Million Hoodie March in honor of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old who was shot and killed by a Neighborhood Watch member in Sanford, Florida on February 26.

Photo by Shady Grove Oliver

The majority of protesters were wearing “hoodies” or sweatshirts with hoods which they had pulled up over their heads:

Photo by Shady Grove Oliver

Many of the protesters were carrying bags of Skittles:

Photo by Shady Grove Oliver

…while others carried bottles of Arizona iced tea:

Photo by Shady Grove Oliver

It was reported that Martin was wearing a hoodie and walking home from a convenience store where he had bought Skittles and iced tea when he was shot.

Photo by Shady Grove Oliver

This particular incident has sparked outrage across the country due to the possible racial profiling involved in the lack of action taken by local police to prosecute Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman.  It does not surprise me that such a large protest would take place on the streets of New York.  This city is often at the forefront of social movements and with a substantial #Occupy contingent supporting the march, the large turnout was to be expected.

Photo by Shady Grove Oliver

However, as someone fascinated by spontaneous memorialization practices, I was drawn to this march in particular because of how it was dressed.

If I were at a spontaneous shrine for Trayvon Martin, I would expect to find the usual teddy bears, flowers, and candles alongside certain objects specifically for Martin and his particular death.  There might be sweatshirts but I am almost certain there would be Skittles and iced tea.  Like the shrine for Amy Winehouse where there were bottles of alcohol and cigarettes, the shrine for Martin would have objects people associate with him.

As this was a memorial march [not just a political one], I believe the protesters’ decision to wear and carry these Martin-specific items makes this a mobile shrine of sorts.  Like an internet memorial that can be accessed by anyone–even someone far away from a death site–a memorial march/protest creates a memorial space [and place to grieve] that is accessible to these memorializers.  It serves the same purpose as any other spontaneous shrine; it calls attention to the circumstances that led to this person’s death and force onlookers to bear witness to the consequences.

As memento mori, these hooded people walking the streets of New York at night ask us all to consider the question:

Photo by Shady Grove Oliver

To see more of my photos from the Million Hoodie March, click here,  here or here.  To sign the petition written by Martin’s family calling for the prosecution of his shooter, George Zimmerman, click here.

In the news: Utah pays $388K to resolve roadside-crosses case

I just found this article today on the firstamendmentcenter.org site under the Religion subheading.  I’m fascinated by initiatives such as this to remove spontaneous shrines from American roadsides using First Amendment (Freedom of Religion) arguments.  I’m still thinking about how exactly to approach this issue.  There are so many different facets to consider!  I’ll be working on it for the next few days and hopefully a good post will be the result.  Stay tuned…

UTAH PAYS $388K TO RESOLVE ROADSIDE-CROSSES CASE

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WIRE REPORT
Monday, February 20, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is paying nearly $400,000 to resolve a lawsuit over roadside crosses honoring Utah troopers killed in the line of duty, officials said Feb. 17.

The settlement forced the state and the Utah Highway Patrol Association to remove 11 Roman crosses along state highways and roads.

The trooper association has taken down the crosses and plans to move them off roadsides and rest stops to nearby private land with the owners’ permission. It also must remove UHP logos from the symbols.

The lawsuit was filed by American Atheists Inc. and three of its Utah members in 2005.

Utah paid $1 to settle the case, but the Utah Attorney General’s office confirmed Feb. 17 it is paying about $388,000 in legal fees for the atheists.

Utah and the troopers’ association “fought tooth and nail saying these crosses aren’t really religious symbols and they should stay,” Brian Barnard, a civil rights lawyer who represented American Atheists, said. “They wouldn’t entertain any discussion about compromising over six years. We offered repeatedly to try and resolve it short of full litigation.”

At first, the atheists’ lawsuit was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge David Sam in Salt Lake City, but a three-judge panel from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2010 that the highway crosses represented a state endorsement of Christianity.

State attorneys appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but justices declined to hear the case last year.

Barnard said the $388,000 pays his legal fees but that the state and trooper association probably spent as much money and time trying to defeat the lawsuit.

The Utah Highway Patrol Association maintains the memorials and is repainting them to remove official logos. It was represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, a Scottsdale, Ariz., group that describes itself as a defender of religious freedom.

“We were prepared to fight this battle to the very end because it was very important,” said Byron Babione,the group’s senior counsel.

Babione said troopers were unhappy with the settlement and wanted to keep the crosses in place — without logos, but with a disclaimer saying Utah wasn’t endorsing any religion.

State lawyers rejected that request, saying it risked more litigation, he said.

Barnard’s legal fees were authorized by Gov. Gary Herbert and the Utah Legislature, but Barnard said he was given a check on Feb. 15 that fell about $8,000 short of the agreed figure.

Utah is writing a second check to cover the difference, said Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s spokesman, Paul Murphy.

Children killing children: Chardon High School, Columbine, and memorialization of the incomprehensible

Chardon High School

I write about death a lot.  I think about death a lot.  As an EMT, I’ve been trained to deal calmly with pain, suffering, and death.  In the academic world, I often read and write about it as well–war and conflict photography, narrative medicine, spontaneous shrines.  As a result, I’ve taught myself to (somewhat) handle being immersed in such a subject.  I do not take it lightly, by any means, but there is a certain dissociation that happens.  But there are moments when I find myself pausing–often unexpectedly–because I am absolutely  feeling what I am dealing with at that point in time.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons why I write about shrines.  They pull us out of our normal way of life and force us to face them and think and feel.

Photo from newsnet5.com

There is something particularly troubling about school shootings–perhaps because the idea of a child killing another child (or an adult) is a practically incomprehensible act.  I was in middle school when the shootings happened at Columbine High School.  That was the act that, unfortunately, seemed to usher in the age of school shootings.  It had been done once (and was made very public, especially by the media), so it could be done again.

When the shooting happened two days ago at Chardon High School, a Cleveland, OH suburb, I wondered if there would be a makeshift memorial–since there were no initial casualties.  It was several hours after the shooting and after the first death of a student had been announced that photographs of the small memorial began making their way onto the internet.  Perhaps the shrine was started earlier; I do not know.  But, it did not become a focus until after a fatality.  [Interestingly, on one website, the photograph that accompanied the identification of the first victim was not of the Chardon shrine, but of one for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords–a shrine photo was needed and would be seen as a notice of death, so one was substituted for the other, perhaps?  It could also have just been an honest, albeit unfortunate, mistake.]  To speak briefly about the shrine at Chardon–it was constructed around the sign at the front of the school, a natural location as it is accessible to everyone in the way that the cafeteria (the location of the shooting) may not have been.  It is also a highly visible place.  Inside a lunchroom is not.  Many of the objects left around the shrine are red and white, which are the school’s colors.

When an event as difficult to understand as a school shooting occurs, it can be challenging to start a conversation about what happened and why it happened.  After the disbelief and shock pass, the discussion begins.  Discussions need focal points and those are often the shrines.  I do not want to conflate the shooting at Chardon with the shooting at Columbine as they are separate events, and should not be thrown together carelessly.  However, the shrine that was built at Columbine was one of the most controversial focal points I have ever encountered.  Because of that, I think it has a place in this post.

Columbine High School

What is the difference between this photograph:

Photo from acolumbinesite.com

and this photograph?:

Photo from acolumbinesite.com

The first photograph shows 15 crosses in Clement Park while the second only shows 13 crosses.  Why?  This is where the controversy comes in.  It begins with a man who drives miles and miles to erect shrines for people who have died.  His name is Greg Zanis.

Photo from acolumbinesite.com

Following the shooting at Columbine, Greg Zanis drove all through the night to a place called Clement Park in Littleton, Colorado–a highly visible hill near the high school–to erect 15 crosses he had made by hand with his son.  The 15 crosses were for the 13 people who were shot…and for the shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.  Zanis recognized that he should do something to set the two crosses for Klebold and Harris apart from the other 13, so he wrote their names in a different style from the names on the other crosses.  Rather than a more elegant, flowing style, he used edgy Greek-style lettering.  The next day, when people saw the crosses, they recognized them as a space for memorializing the tragedy.  People congregated around 13 of the crosses, leaving flowers, teddy bears, and candles.  At two of the crosses, many people didn’t seem to know what to do.  A few left flowers, some defaced the cross by etching scathing messages into the wood, and at least one tacked up a piece of paper with Bible quotes about sin and sinners.

Photo from acolumbinesite.com

After a while, and against the wishes of Zanis, the crosses for Klebold and Harris were taken down.  Today, at the permanent memorial for Columbine, there are only 13 crosses.

Why was there so much animosity toward the two crosses for the shooters?  They also died that day, after all.  I believe it is because the crosses were the first tangible things that represented what happened.  They literally and figuratively grounded the incomprehensible event.  When shrines are erected, they embody the event.  People can touch them, talk to them, leave objects at them, and in cases like Columbine, deface them and get angry at them.  This does not negate the sacrality of the space, in my opinion.  Because the space of those two crosses is sacred and carved out from normal space, although people dislike them, they still see and respect them as the embodiment of the tragedy and of the people they memorialize.  The shrines do their job effectively, but rather than being a place of comfort, they become a place of discontent.  Personally, I do think it is unfortunate that the crosses were taken down, but it is also a testament to their efficacy.

The importance of making an event tangible is it allows for a moving forward.  When an event is incomprehensible, there is nothing that can be done about it or to it.  It is too terrible to comprehend and to understand, so it cannot be challenged nor can it be prevented.  Through grassroots memorialization, a conversation can begin.  While it may take ugly turns at times, there is the possibility of confronting the circumstances that lead to that type of event–with the hope of not allowing it to happen again.

Photo from newsnet5.com

Who tampered with a roadside memorial?

On 4th of July this year, a young woman was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Buffalo, New York.  Her family constructed a shrine for her at the site.  I find it interesting that the local news (WIVB-TV) chose to focus this spot on the impropriety of tampering with a memorial.  While other news coverage I’ve found that deals with shrines tends to use the shrine as the hook to catch readers’/viewers’ attention and then changing the focus to the cause of death, this clip actually features the shrine as the main subject.  Although the controversy about shrines and their placement is mentioned in the clip, the clip does seem to favor the idea that it is not appropriate to deface/remove/or tamper with a shrine.  I’m curious about this relatively recent interest in memorialization and shrines and their sacred place in public space–why now, I wonder?

Ohio – time limit for shrines?

This is an interesting article I found recently at Ohio.com that discusses the more controversial side of shrines.  One mother says she wouldn’t want a constant reminder of her son’s death.  Since it is usually family and friends who erect shrines, should it be a personal choice or fall under some type of state legislation?  If the shrines are taken down after a certain period of time and replaced with permanent markers, are they still spontaneous shrines or does their function and identity change when the conscious choice to erect a permanent memorial is made?  If shrines do construct a sacred space, can a sacred space be removed?  What do you think?

Residents seek time limit on makeshift memorials

By Stephanie Warsmith

Beacon Journal staff writer

Published: October 9, 2011 – 12:24 AM

memorial09cut_01

A make-shift memorial hangs on a pole near the intersection of Work and Hillwood Drives in West Akron. Local block watch leaders want Akron City Council to limit displays like this. (Paul Tople/ Akron Beacon Journal)

Teddy bears are fuzzy and cute. Flowers are fresh. Handwritten tributes are clean and clear.

Then, time and weather take their toll.

After weeks or months – in some cases, years – the makeshift memorials on utility poles or trees around Akron deteriorate.

The teddy bears turn soggy and gray. Flowers wilt. Handwritten tributes become illegible.

Rather than serving as a tribute to someone who died, they become an eyesore.

A group of block watch leaders in West Akron is asking City Council to consider limiting how long these memorials can be displayed. They suggest the city remove them after a certain period, perhaps two weeks or a month.

“We are not insensitive to the issues,” said Gerald Stafford, president of the Beechwood Block Club. “How long is long enough to have it out there? It does have the tendency to bring the neighborhood down.”

Stafford had a firsthand view of the ugly side of the impromptu memorials with one erected on a light pole down the street from his Beechwood Drive home. Candles left burning around the memorial — put up to honor a 19-year-old Akron man shot and killed after a fight with another man over a gun in August — caught the stuffed animals on fire. Neighbors had to rush to extinguish the blaze.

Residents haven’t been able to get rid of a message spray-painted in white in the middle of the street: “RIP (Rest in Peace) Juice,” which was the nickname of the man who was killed.

Stafford, Ivory Alexander and Zenobia Lathan, who head the three West Akron block clubs nicknamed “The Woods” because the streets have the word “wood” in their names, recently wrote a letter to Council President Marco Sommerville, who represents Ward 3, urging him to consider legislation limiting the memorials. They say they have the support of the other 15 to 20 residents who regularly attend their block club meetings.

Sommerville and Councilman Russel Neal Jr., who represents the nearby Ward 4, also in West Akron, are studying the issue and looking at how other communities have addressed it. They hope to craft legislation that responds to the concerns raised by residents, while being sensitive to those who put up the memorials. They are considering offering a permanent marker as a replacement — possibly where the makeshift memorial stood or on a tribute wall elsewhere in the city.

“We want to find a way, when we do lose people, that we can acknowledge it and honor it,” said Sommerville, who owns a funeral home and has handled the services of some of those being memorialized.

Neighbors’ view

Besides considering the memorials unsightly, the block club presidents say they provide a constant reminder of crime in their neighborhood.

Some of the memorials are in honor of people killed in an accident, like a car crash, but many are for people who have been shot or beaten to death.

“These things are just reminding us of how many homicides we have in our area,” said Lathan, president of the Fernwood Block Club and a Fernwood resident for 30 years.

The block club presidents have been trying to figure out how many memorials there are in Akron. They’ve found more in their neighborhood than elsewhere in the city, though they know of a few in other neighborhoods and realize there might be others they haven’t heard about. They recently took the Beacon Journal on a tour of the ones they’ve found.

The tour began on Beechwood, with the memorial that caught on fire. The memorial mysteriously disappeared after a recent block club meeting where the memorial issue was discussed. The grass around the pole is charred from the fire and bits of paper and tape still are visible on the pole. The spray-painted message remains in the street.

The next stop was the largest memorial the residents know about: on a utility pole at the corner of Copley Road and Mercer Avenue. It was put up in honor of a 3-month-old girl who died when she was thrown from a car in an accident in August 2010. More than 30 dirty, soggy stuffed animals, baby blankets and fake flowers are attached to the pole. One teddy bear has a burned spot on its head from a candle.

The memorial is in front of the former Handel’s, where the girl’s name and “RIP” are spray-painted in blue on one of the boarded-up windows.

The third stop was a much smaller memorial on a tree on the devil’s strip at Hillwood and Work drives, where a 24-year-old Akron man was found shot in his car in May 2010.

A mother walking her son to a school bus discovered the body. A few sad-looking stuffed animals are attached to a tree, along with several faded T-shirts, including one that was a tribute to the victim but is now hard to decipher.

The tour next headed up East Avenue, going past a couple of roadside memorials — one for a young girl who was raped and another for a 44-year-old man who was beaten to death.

The final stop was on Celina Avenue, where police shot a 42-year-old Akron man 22 times in July 2009 after he refused to get on the ground and reached for a gun. The memorial, which once completely covered a chain-link fence, has dwindled to a sign with a picture of the man, a few flags and a pin wheel, and a couple of stones with spiritual messages. One stone reads, “Your memory is our keepsake, which we’ll never forget.”

Victims’ view

The Rev. Bob Denton, who heads Victim Assistance, a local agency that works with crime victims, said the memorials are a way for people to cope with their loss.

“It gives people the ability to do something and express to the community their concern,” he said.

Still, Denton said he knows the memorials start to lose their appeal when they’ve been up awhile.

“If you put it up for one of your loved ones and it is standing there ragged and sad, it doesn’t reflect well on the person you are memorializing,” he said.

Denton hopes the city will give families a different option, perhaps a permanent marker to honor the people they lost.

“Put the control for how they want to deal with that back in their hands,” he said. “They didn’t have a choice when they lost their loved one.”

Katherine Brooks, aunt of Garland Dean, whose beating death is marked by a memorial on East Avenue near the spot where his body was found in the woods just over a year ago, doesn’t think regulations are needed on the memorials.

“It’s not hurting anybody,” she said of the memorial, which includes a white wooden cross, balloons and fake flowers.

Brooks said her family maintains the memorial by periodically replacing the balloons and cleaning up around it. She thinks it’s a good reminder of how the police haven’t charged anyone for her nephew’s death, much to the family’s frustration.

She said, however, that the family might be satisfied with some other type of marker.

“As long as it’s something,” Brooks said, breaking into tears. “Something we can go and look at.”

Her voice catching as she sobbed, Brooks said, “They won’t even find the person.”

Gloria Twitty, an Akron woman whose 29-year-old son, Lemetrius, was killed in Atlanta nine years ago, thinks the memorials should be taken down after a reasonable time period. She said Akron is trying to improve neighborhoods, including where she lives near the Akron Zoo, and the memorials detract from that effort.

“I wouldn’t want something like that representing where my son was killed,” she said. “I wouldn’t want a reminder.”

Political view

Akron isn’t the first community to grapple with makeshift memorials.

Neal and other city officials have found legislation on this issue from as far away as Arizona. He said most allow the memorials to remain for two weeks to a month. After that point, he said, some communities allow families, at their own expense, to purchase a permanent marker to take the place of the memorial.

Other communities have started a memorial wall, where names of victims can be posted.

The memorials people might notice most are those they zoom past on the interstate.

The Ohio Department of Transportation doesn’t permit memorials, but allows them to remain as long as they don’t pose a hazard or draw away drivers’ attention. When the state does maintenance work, such as mowing, memorials in the way are removed, said Justin Chesnic, a spokesman for the department’s District 4.

The state legislature can pass a law for a permanent highway sign to be erected in a person’s honor, he said.

Neal said one challenge in Akron is that the memorials are often on property owned by someone other than the city, such as a utility pole, where the city probably wouldn’t be permitted to place a permanent marker.

He wants to involve residents in crafting the city’s legislation. He and Sommerville are working with the law department to draft some ideas and will meet with local block clubs to get their input.

Neal said he hopes to get the legislation together in the next two months.

“I think, when we get the community together, we will be able to work through this — and honor their lives,” he said.

Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com.

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