Friday, May 25, 2018
News Roundup

Seminole resolves flap over flag, will display banner on fire trucks

SEMINOLE — The flag flap between this city and its firefighters has ended and the American flag will now be properly displayed on fire vehicles.

The flags will likely be mounted on the trucks by the end of this week. Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds said the city's maintenance department is making clamps so the flag can be fixed to the right front fender, as the U.S. Flag Code dictates.

"We've never taken the position that we do not want flags," Edmunds said Monday. But "if we're going to (display them), we're going to do it right."

A dispute over the flag blew up over the weekend when about 20 protesters, all friends of firefighters, waved flags for about an hour on 113th Street, near one of the city's fire stations. They were protesting an order to remove the flag from Seminole fire trucks. It was a dispute, they said, that had been brewing for months.

But Edmunds said that's not true.

"I'm not so sure that (the flag) was ever an issue," Edmunds said. "I've taken the position that it's not really so much a flag issue as it is an employee issue of taking liberties with city property without departmental approval. … There's a misconception that we had flags on all our vehicles and we've removed them. That's not the case."

Edmunds said employees were asked months ago to submit a proposal to display flags on vehicles, but that never happened. Instead, last week a firefighter put a flag in the window of a fire truck. Fire Chief George Bessler had it removed.

"It was about respect and it wasn't being done in a respectful manner," Bessler said.

Edmunds said someone posted an item on "social media that drastically escalated the issue."

Now Bessler said he's had calls from across the United States about the situation.

And Edmunds said he and the chief agree that employees must have some interest in having the flag on fire vehicles or the dispute never would have happened.

"We're going to install flags on all of our fire vehicles in accordance with the (Flag) Code," Edmunds said.

Despite the turmoil, Bessler said he sees some good in the situation. One is that Seminole's firefighters know they're supported. Another is that people are now more aware of the proper way to display the flag.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450.

Comments

Updated: 3 minutes ago
Mom service dog has puppies in Tampa airport, while dad service dog looks on

Mom service dog has puppies in Tampa airport, while dad service dog looks on

TAMPA — Travelers killing time at Tampa International Airport’s Gasparilla Bar got an unexpected show Friday when a dog gave birth to eight puppies near Gate F81. The 2-year-old golden retriever, Eleanor Rigby, owner Diane Van Atter, and...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Rare red wolf pups born at ZooTampa

Rare red wolf pups born at ZooTampa

The pups are an important addition to the populations of this rare Florida species, and the first red wolf births at the zoo since 1993.
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

TAMPA — Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has always been generous with his time, staying after practice to work with younger players. That should be a real added benefit for first-round pick Vita Vea.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"That's my M.O.'' Mc...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Stanley Cup final begins Monday in the unlikeliest of places, in a city brand-new to major pro sports and suddenly the center of the hockey world: Las Vegas, whose Golden Knights could become the first expansion team to win a championship.And whi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

TAMPA — Only three players in NFL history have posted 1,000-yard receiving seasons in each of his first four years seasons: Randy Moss, A.J. Green and the Bucs' Mike Evans.RELATED: More Bucs coverageBut by Evans' standards, 2017 was "proba...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Now let it sink in: 60 straight baseball wins quite the feat

Now let it sink in: 60 straight baseball wins quite the feat

FORT MYERS — It had been more than two years since Greg Olsen had to give one of those talks; the kind in which silver linings abound, while across the field, a different team celebrates winning gold.Olsen's Calvary Christian baseball team gath...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Last year three members of the 69ers Motorcycle Club gang were implicated in the execution of a rival gang leader in the middle of rush hour traffic in Pasco County.Now those three and two other 69ers members have been indicted on federal charges tha...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Alberto to dump rain on Cuba before turning north and drenching Tampa Bay

Alberto to dump rain on Cuba before turning north and drenching Tampa Bay

TAMPA— The first tropical system of the 2018 hurricane season has formed in the Caribbean and threatens to drench the Tampa Bay area with heavy rains and potential flooding over the Memorial Day weekend.As of 2 p.m., Subtropical Storm Alberto — which...
Updated: 1 hour ago