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Colorado Couple Win Battle to Keep Holiday Peace Wreath on Home

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A Colorado couple has won their battle to keep a holiday wreath shaped like a peace sign on the front of their house. Lisa Jensen and Bill Trimarco recently received a letter from the board of their homeowners’ association threatening them with fines of $25 a day unless they removed the peace wreath. [includes rush transcript]

A Colorado couple has won their battle to keep a holiday wreath shaped like a peace sign on the front of their house. Last week, Lisa Jensen and Bill Trimarco received a letter from the board of their homeowners’ association threatening them with fines of $25 a day unless they removed the peace wreath from their house.

The couple refused, and as word spread, others in their town put up peace wreaths in solidarity. Earlier this week, there was a march of people carrying peace signs through the center of town. And a peace wreath has been placed on a bell tower in the middle of the town square. The town website also posted a message saying that it wholly supported the Jensen/Trimarco wreath and “also wishes for peace on Earth.”

The three-member board has withdrawn their demand, issued an apology to the couple and resigned from the association.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to Colorado. A resident in Pagosa Springs was recently ordered to remove a peace wreath from her home, because it could be considered divisive. She refused the order by the homeowners’ association, and her story made national headlines. Lisa Jensen joins us now on the phone from Colorado, which has the story opening—developing in a very interesting way right now. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Lisa.

LISA JENSEN: Thank you. Good morning.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, why don’t you start from the beginning and tell us what happened, as you tried to decorate your home in the holiday spirit?

LISA JENSEN: Well, we just put up — it was actually my husband’s idea. We had a wreath on our home last year. We live near a national forest. We went and collected some fells off the forest floor and shaped them into a wreath. And this year he decided to put them in the shape of a peace symbol. It just seemed — I mean, peace is not a new concept that we and many other people put out as a greeting and a wish and a prayer, at Christmastime especially. So he put that on, decorated it with a red bow and some lights, and put it up there.

And a couple days later, we got a letter from our homeowners’ association board, telling us that it was violating a rule we have in our covenants out here against signs and advertising and billboards, and we had to take it down or we were going to receive a $25-a-day fine. And we sort of had no recourse with our homeowners’ association, because the board had overstepped the architectural committee that’s supposed to enforce these rules. And then, they all resigned, because they were told they were going to be removed from the committee if they didn’t agree with the board after the fact. That’s sort of where it started.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s where it started. The homeowners have — the three-member board has quit?

LISA JENSEN: That’s what I’ve heard. I think last Monday evening or something like that, we received an email saying they had all resigned. They did send us a letter saying they had misunderstood our decoration and withdrew their request for us to remove it. So — and I think there’s peace sign wreaths popping up all over our subdivision and all over the town of Pagosa Springs and, I think, other places, too.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, just to be clear, describe — this is a wreath in the shape of a peace sign?


AMY GOODMAN: And what inspired you to do this?

LISA JENSEN: As I said, it’s just a wish for peace. It was peace on Earth, goodwill toward man. It’s a pretty universal symbol and just a way of expressing that at this time. I guess my husband felt that there’s so much going on right now in the world all over and just wanted to put that hope out there.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to read a piece in the paper: “The small town of Pagosa Springs — rocketed into headlines around the country after a nearby homeowners association banned a peace-symbol wreath — has staked its position with a peace wreath of its own.” A peace symbol is displayed at the Bell Tower Park Building in Pagosa Springs Wednesday. A peace symbol wreath — and it shows the peace symbol wreath. This is from the Herald paper. So now the town itself has a wreath on the bell tower.

LISA JENSEN: Yes, they do, set up a couple days ago, I think. And a bunch of people organized a little sort of impromptu gathering or rally, whatever you want to call it, the other day and walked down to the park, and it was snowing, and they went and stomped out a big peace sign in the park. It’s probably been covered over, because we’ve had a lot more snow since then.

AMY GOODMAN: So you’ve not just changed the face of your house, but you’ve changed the face of Pagosa Springs, Lisa.

LISA JENSEN: Well, I think other people have done that, actually. I mean, we’ve been overwhelmed by the support we got from all over the place, calls and everything from across the country, around the world and from our neighbors in our subdivision. I didn’t realize this would, you know, be so huge. And the town of Pagosa Springs and our local chamber, I guess, started getting some negative calls from people, saying things like they would never come visit here, and that kind of thing, because of the Nazis or whatever that lived here. And they both had to put — well, they didn’t have to, they put disclaimers on their website within a day, that hitting the news, I think, saying that they really didn’t govern homeowners’ associations and we’re not even in the town limits, which is true. And the town of Pagosa Springs went further to say that they did support us and they supported peace and put up their own peace wreath on the town. So that show of support around the world and locally has been very inspiring to us.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Lisa Jensen, I want to thank you very much for being with us. Have a happy holiday.

LISA JENSEN: Thank you. You, too.

AMY GOODMAN: Thank you.

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