Township flag retirement ceremonies to resume

by Melissa Martin

Aug. 1/Aug. 15 township trustees meetings

The Hinckley Board of Trustees demonstrated a show of support for local Boy Scout Pack 3520 and its plans to host a township flag retirement ceremony this fall.

Scoutmaster Jeff Schuster told the board Aug. 1 that the flag retirement ceremony has been a longstanding township tradition that had to be canceled in recent years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the pandemic may have stopped the ceremonies from taking place, he said the Scouts continued to collect old flags for proper retirement at the police station lobby and the lobby of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church throughout the pandemic. Over the past three years, he said, the troop has collected more than 680 flags in need of being retired.

While Schuster told the board he participated in several flag retirement ceremonies growing up, he said flags and the materials they are made from have changed since then. While the majority of flags were once made from cotton and other natural fabrics, the majority are now crafted from nylon and vinyl, which complicates the traditional retirement ceremony, he said.

Schuster explained that according to former U.S. Pentagon and American Legion guidelines, old flags should be cut apart to the point that they are no longer recognizable as a flag. Those pieces are then to be burned and once the ashes are cool, they should be buried properly.

“Unfortunately, we should not be burning nylon [or vinyl] flags, as it’s not safe and not good for the environment,” he said. “Plus, what do you do with 680 of them?”

While recycling flags was once an option, Schuster said that is no longer considered a sustainable option and the few places that continue to recycle old flags now charge approximately $40 per flag, which is also not a cost-effective solutions.

Updated guidelines, Schuster said, now call for flags to be cut apart and buried, “traditionally, in a respectful box or something similar.”

While the troop has already reserved Brongers Park to conduct the next flag retirement ceremony at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1, Schuster asked the trustees if there was a place in the township where the Scouts could bury the remnants, not only following this ceremony but for years to come.

“We want to ask if we could find a spot in one of the cemeteries for this,” he told the board.

Trustee Jack Swedyk recommended burying the remnants in Veterans Park, located in downtown Hinckley.

Trustees indicated Aug. 15 that they continue to explore burial locations. Schuster said the Scouts will be looking to fundraise in the future to purchase a granite memorial bench or have an Eagle Scout build a memorial bench as part of an Eagle Scout project.

TIF District

Swedyk also informed the board Aug. 1 that it has been brought to his attention that a petition is being circulated in the township by the Hinckley Community Coalition urging trustees to consider the creation of a TIF district.  

“There are several issues with this petition that are cause for concern,” Swedyk said, noting that several businesses are listed as supporting the TIF’s creation. “I have been informed that at least one of those listed, Hinckley Elementary School, was not aware that they were listed. … I am not sure if there are any others listed who were not made aware of their inclusion.”

Swedyk also noted the example of a TIF district as cited on the back of the petition “is inaccurate and misleading.” 

“The fact that the tax dollars are ultimately being paid to the developers to recover their costs is entirely omitted,” he said. “The creation of a TIF district is very complex, and to try to simplify it to the graphic provided with the lack of information is a disservice to the residents who are being petitioned.”

Swedyk said the petition infers that the board of trustees has not investigated bringing water to town center. He said current and former boards have looked at the water issue on multiple occasions and have determined it is “an expensive proposition” given the township’s current conditions and resources.

“Those who would benefit would be assessed via their property tax. When those property owners were queried about participating, the affirmative results were insufficient for the county to consider moving forward,” he said. “The TIF district was discussed at length as well and laid to rest as the board declined to move forward with taxing the community to construct a water line with such a limited group of beneficiaries.”

Trash survey

Trustees finalized the questions that will appear on a five-question survey regarding township trash service, which will be mailed to residents in the coming weeks. Trustees said the survey will be used “to assist in the decision-making process” only.

The board authorized $1,474 for the printing of the annual Kimble forms and resident trash survey Aug. 15 by a vote of 2-0 (Trustee Melissa Augustine had an excused absence).

Garage Sale

Schuster also announced that the Scouts will be sponsoring the township’s annual garage sale on Saturday, Sept. 9 and that the flea market, which had to be eliminated during COVID will make a return this year. The flea market will in the old fire station bays at Hinckley Town Hall.

Shred Day

Trustee Monique Ascherl confirmed the township will host its first Shred Day event from 9 a.m.-1p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, in the Hinckley Elementary School parking lot. Black Ops Destruction and Summit e-Recycle will be donating their services. The event will be held rain or shine.

Along with unwanted documents, items that can be recycled at no charge as part of the event include desktop and laptop computers; cell phones; computer monitors; keyboards; power strips; printers; cables; batteries; ink and toner cartridges; household appliances; DVD players and VCRs; stereos; gaming systems and more.  Televisions with tubes up to 12 inches will be accepted at a cost of $10, while larger tube-style televisions will be $20.  There is a limit of three banker boxes of documents per car. ∞

Hinckey Township’s new firefighters/EMTs were administered the oath of office at a recent township trustees meeting. Pictured are (left to right) Stephen Turnick, Andy Regiec, Joey Zywiec, and Andrew Hudak and Fire Chief Jestin Grossenbaugh. Photo submitted.