‘We Support Our Troops’ banner flies again at Bank Square in Little Falls

Building owners work with Little Falls American Legion to keep the banner flying

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor

It was a sad day for many in July, when the “We Support Our Troops” banner was removed from Bank Square in Little Falls.

“It was pretty sad to everybody and obviously made a lot of people angry,” said Bill Osberg, commander of the American Legion Post 46 in Little Falls.

The banner came down as the result of a complaint made by Robin Hensel, who said the sign was hanging illegally. And, she had been right. The banner was hung without a permit.

Hensel, who had been asked to remove signs in her yard in Little Falls because they did not comply with the city’s sign ordinance, said the city’s sign ordinance was unconstitutional and was not enforced fairly.

She filed a lawsuit against the city citing the unconstitutionality of the ordinance, among other things. The suit is still pending.

Although the allegations that the banner and other signs within the city were hanging illegally were made in January, it wasn’t until July, after the Planning Commission spent months updating the city’s sign ordinance and the Council passed the updates, that the banner was removed.

The city had suspended enforcement of its ordinance until it had been updated. Once the updates were approved, the first illegally placed sign to be removed was the “We Support Our Troops” banner.

Marvin Hoheisel and Tom Scherling own the former American National Bank building on Bank Square in Little Falls, where the banner had hung.

Once the banner was removed, Hoheisel and Scherling began working with the American Legion Post 46, an organization made up of veterans, to put the sign back into place.

The Legion voted to sponsor the banner, paying the $30 permit fee as well as the $80 fee for the city to hang the banner.

“They were proud to put it up,” said Hoheisel. “It speaks loudly that the veterans support their troops and makes a statement for the community.”

Hoheisel said he and Scherling had been contacted by several people who wanted to sponsor the banner. Hoheisel said they were disappointed the banner had been taken down.

“When the American Legion decided to sponsor it, it seemed like a natural choice to us,” said Hoheisel.

Osberg said the Legion is proud to be a part of putting the sign back on Bank Square.

“More than proud,” he said. “Who wouldn’t be?”