Fieldsboro gives thumbs up to yellow ribbons

FIELDSBORO — About 20 residents, many dressed in shades of yellow, filled the seats of the municipal courtroom Monday night as the Borough Council unanimously approved a resolution allowing the placement of yellow ribbons on municipal property.

By: Vanessa Holt
   In the past three weeks the borough has become synonymous with yellow ribbons since it attracted widespread media coverage for a reported "ban" on yellow ribbons after ordering the removal of several ribbons from the town sign at Union and Washington streets.
   The removal had been agreed upon by four council members at a discussion during the March 25 budget meeting, said Mayor Ed "Buddy" Tyler, who has borne most of the criticism for the action.
   Since the ribbons were initially removed, more ribbons have been put on the sign in their place and ribbons have appeared on lampposts, telephone poles and trees throughout the town. Residents also have held a vigil and rally in support of the troops in the past two weeks.
   The resolution approved Monday night acknowledges that yellow ribbons are a symbol of hope and states that the borough will show its "heartfelt wishes" for the safe return of troops from overseas by displaying two yellow ribbons on each municipal sign. It also states that residents can ask for permission to affix ribbons to other municipal property as long as it does not obstruct the words on a sign or pose a safety risk. Waterproof ribbon must be used and they must be affixed with wires, not nailed into place, said Mayor Tyler.
   The borough also approved a resolution honoring troops and thanking them for their service.
   Two local women who have been actively campaigning for the right to hang yellow ribbons in town, Christy Carr and Nikki Camiso, immediately asked the council for permission to keep the ribbons up that are already in place throughout the town.
   "What we care about is that my brother is over there," said Ms. Carr, whose brother, Josh, is serving in Iraq as a U.S. Marine. "It’s not a political statement; the ribbons are just to support the troops. It’s been blown out of proportion."
   Mayor Tyler asked the women to check in on a monthly basis to renew the request to keep the ribbons up, and to replace the ribbons if they fall down or become damaged.
   Ms. Carr and Ms. Camiso said they were satisfied with the new ribbon policy, but several residents were outraged.
   "It’s a disgrace," said Diane Johnson after Mayor Tyler said ribbons currently in place on the town sign would be removed and replaced with two new yellow bows by the borough.
   Ms. Johnson, co-owner of Hegyi’s Liquor Store, made the ribbons which were initially hung on the town sign near the store and subsequently removed.
   "I think he should step down," she said after the meeting.
   Several residents have begun to discuss taking steps to have the mayor removed from office over the controversy. Fieldsboro resident Dee Petrosilli said a committee is in the formative stages to get together with a political consultant and review the possibility of a recall vote.
   Dave Johnson, Ms. Johnson’s husband, asked the mayor point blank if he would resign.
   "When hell freezes over," said the mayor.