Flags dip, disappear for Reagan

Posted: Friday, June 11, 2004

In honor of President Ronald Reagan, flags around the nation will remain at half-staff through July 5. But in Soldotna, many flags won't be flying at all.

Area residents may have noticed that a number of flagpoles in town have been absent of any colors since Reagan died. According to Soldotna City Manager Tom Boedeker, the reason for the lack of flags is that the city is unable to fly many of its flags halfway.

"They're just not made to fly (flags) at half-mast," Boedeker told the Soldotna City Council Wednesday.

The poles include more than two dozen fixed poles erected around the city since 2000 as part of the Joel Wilkins flag program, which was named to honor the former Soldotna finance director who spearheaded the program. Wilkins died in 2002 after 28 years with the city, and was instrumental in bringing the flagpoles to town.

Because it would be inappropriate to fly the flags at their full height while the nation is mourning, Boedeker said the decision was made to honor the president by not displaying the flags at all.

"It would be totally inappropriate for us to put those flags up," he said.

Boedeker said he's researched the issue of flag protocol extensively, and nothing he's found allows the city to fly the flags at their full height for such a prolonged period of remembrance.

"So far, everything I've found says no," he said.

Boedeker told the council that the city has fielded several calls from residents wondering about the lack of flags. He said he hopes people understand that the flags are down as a tribute to the former president.

"The city, in respect, will not put our flags up until the 30 days are over," he said.

In other action Wednesday, the council:

n Voted to allow an exception to the city's 60-foot right-of-way minimum on Bogie Court, allowing the street to be paved with only a 50-foot right-of-way. Boedeker said the exemption is not a problem because only one side of the street is able to be developed. However, he did tell the council that there is an ongoing issue on Bogie Court regarding stray golf balls threatening motor-ists.

He said that issue is being handled by netting being placed along the fairway at the adjacent Soldotna Golf Course, but said a better solution would be to realign the fairway.

n Appropriated a $62,489 grant to the Soldotna Police Department for homeland security.

n After hearing a presentation from Stephanie Lambe of the 4-H Junior Livestock program, voted to give $500 to the program for educational purposes.

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