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Source: East Volusia News
Date: November 20, 2008
Byline: S. Burdette

Three flags in running to fly over city

HOLLY HILL — When Holly Hill Utilities Supervisor Ray Beltrami died suddenly in July, commissioners wanted to honor the 30-year employee by lowering the American Flag in front of city hall to half staff.

They were surprised to learn that simple act of respect wasn't permitted under the United States "Flag Code," which outlines the specific circumstances under which "Old Glory" can fly at half staff.

Officials learned the death of a city official or employee is not a permitted occasion without a proclamation from the governor or the president.

However, cities can lower their city flags to half staff without the federal bureaucracy. But there was one hitch, Holly Hill doesn't have a city flag.

Next week, that problem will be rectified as commissioners unveil the city's new flag design.

Rather than spending thousands of taxpayer dollars using consultants and graphic artists, Holly Hill "hired" the students at Holly Hill elementary and middle schools to design the flag.

Out of more than160 entries, the selection committee, comprised of city manager Tim Harbuck, Commissioner John Penny, and chamber of commerce director Rose Schuhmacher, whittled the choices down to three and the winner will be announced at the regular commission meeting Tuesday.

Finalists are Cassidy Vescovi, grade 5 and Dezney Manning, grade 4, from Holly Hill Elementary and Travis Myers, grade 8, from Holly Hill middle school.

A surprised John Penny, who coordinated the contest, said most of the entries came from the middle school, yet two of the three finalists are from the 20 entries submitted by elementary school students.

"From what I understand, the elementary kids felt they had no chance," Penny added.

Penny said they saw some great ideas but ultimately the winners were more simple than complex.

"What we found was that a flag is a very simple design, almost less is more on these designs," Penny said. "Some of the designs, although they were fantastic, had too much information to be displayed on a flag."

Finalists are already winners. Third place will receive a $50 gift card and second place gets $100 gift card, both for Toys-R-Us.

The first place winner receives a Wii Game System and a $60 gift card to Play and Trade in Ormond Beach to buy games. The first-place winner will also serve as the Grand Marshall for the annual Holly Hill Christmas parade.

If she is chosen as the winner, how will it feel to have her design hanging in front of city hall for everyone to see?

Cassidy Vescovi summed it up. "It will be pretty cool."

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