Posted: October 2, 2002
give cover for 'flag man' Andres
By Randall Murray
Jupiter's "flag man" George Andres has
received international attention as a result of his two-year battle with
his homeowners association over a 12-foot flagpole he set up in his yard.
Kramer's students, who are all new Americans.
But few responses to his legal fight have
been as touching to the ex-Marine and his wife Ann as the contents of a
box they received last week from a group of school children in Michigan.
"There was a box on the front steps and
we didn't know what it was," Ann said this week.
When they opened it they discovered a pair
of handmade red, white and blue quilts, crafted with care and concern by
the students of teacher Dan Kramer's Civic Literacy class in John Page
Middle School, Madison Heights, Mich.
"What a nice surprise," said Ann as she
proudly displayed the neatly stitched American flag quilt that bore the
names of the students and the names of all 50 states. A smaller quilt,
also in Old Glory's colors, illustrated the 18 or so different countries
of origin of
RANDALL MURRAY The Jupiter Courier
George and Ann Andres of Jupiter found a
box on their doorstep last week. When they
opened it, they discovered this American flag
quilt, made by students from the John Page
Middle School in Madison Heights, Mich.
The flag bears the names of the children and
the 50 states. Another small quilt bears the
names of the countries of origin of the students
in Civic Literacy teacher Dan Kramerís class.
The Andres have been battling with their
homeowners association for nearly two years
over a flagpole Andres installed in his yard.
Kramer, who's been teaching the class for
about five years, told how a school in a town about 10 miles north of Detroit
got involved in a legal hassle in Palm Beach County, Fla.
"One of my students first heard about the
story last year on the radio and brought the issue to class," Kramer told
The Jupiter Courier Tuesday. "All my students are new to this country in
the last three years, and we're constantly bringing issues to class. They
said this was an issue we could work on. So we did."
The "issue" began two years ago when Andres
put up the 12-foot PVC pipe flagpole with an American flag in the front
yard of his home at 125 Doe Trail in the Indian Creek Phase III-B community.
The homeowners association board of directors told him it violated the
bylaws and he had to remove it. Andres, a former board member, said he
had been given verbal permission by a previous board to put up the flag.
He refused to remove it.
The matter eventually went to court and
Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Catherine Brunson found in favor
of the association. An appeal to the Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld
Brunson's ruling. Andres was ordered to pay a $100 a day fine and penalties.
By the time the fines were put on hold earlier this year, the amount owed
had risen to nearly $30,000, and the association had filed a foreclosure
lien on the Andres' home.
So last fall Kramer's students heard about
the $100 a day fine and decided to send 100 tiny American flags a day to
Gov. Jeb Bush -- and eventually to association board president Christine
Royce. The students got youngsters in other classes and, eventually, in
other schools to help with the flag-mailing campaign.
"Gov. Bush wrote us a nice personal letter,
and he said he supported us," said Kramer. "We also wrote to Mr. Andres,
who also wrote back to us."
Then the kids decided to make the quilts.
"These are just great," said Andres, pointing
to the hand-printed messages from the students, ages 11-14. "Look, here's
one from Iraq." Among other nations represented are Albania, Romania, Mexico,
Bulgaria, Germany, and, as one student wrote, "America."
The next legal step for Andres will come
Oct. 17 with a 4 p.m. hearing before Brunson. In that hearing, Andres'
attorney, Barry Silver of Boca Raton, will try to get the verdict against
his client dismissed based on a Florida law passed last year that prohibits
homeowner associations from interfering with the rights of property owners
to fly the American flag.
Silver is basing his motion on a portion
of the law that makes it retroactive. Brunson has stated previously that
the retroactivity aspect of the law does not apply to this case. But Andres
claims federal law and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling say otherwise.