Good For The New Red, White And Blue

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The Flag Capital of Arizona can lay new claim to the name with the recent addition of U.S. flag-style banners along Highway 260 and the Beeline in town.

The red, white and blue banners adorning streetlight poles are a stylish addition that provide a splash of festive, patriotic color to the Rim country landscape. A poorly designed product would have added to the visual clutter along the two main thoroughfares in Payson, but that's certainly not the case here.

Project coordinators Ray Schum and Lee Pretsch are to be congratulated for their taste and their hard work. The duo raised $10,000 from local businesses and organizations over the past few months and oversaw the installation of the all-weather banners. Thanks should also go to Lee's husband Joe and to Leon Stewart for fashioning the brackets, and to Bud's Plumbing and Tree Pro for their contributions of hardware and labor.

Also deserving thanks are the donors who provided the funds that allowed the banner project to be a successful one. The Arizona Department of Transportation would not allow sponsors to have their names posted on the banners, a decision we agree with. That would have made the project an advertising ploy and would have cheapened the effect of the banners.

Still, many businesses opted to express their patriotism and their support of Payson as the state's Flag Capital by donating to the project.

While 82 banners were installed in time for the Fourth of July, the project is not completed. The organizers thought that $10,000 would be enough to install 108 of the pennants, but sturdier brackets ran up the cost. Schum and Pretsch are hoping to generate donations for 26 more of the banners by Labor Day.

To purchase one of the red, white and blue banners, call Lee Pretsch at 474-2170.

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