A Clifton Park town flag has been returned to Town Hall after being flown over a palace in Baghdad by a resident serving in the Army National Guard.
Col. Gary Machina led the Pledge of Allegiance during a Town Board meeting Monday night via a webcam from Iraq.
While Machina chatted with the board, his wife Carolyn brought out a Clifton Park flag the family has had for the past two years.
“I proudly took this flag with me when my 12-year-old Clifton Park All-Star team traveled to Cooperstown to play in a July 2007 baseball tournament,” Machina said. “When it was time to pack up for Iraq, I could not think of a better or stronger symbol of my home and the community that I love than the Clifton Park flag.”
He said he flew it over the Al Faw Palace in Baghdad on the Fourth of July this year and then shipped it home for his wife to return to Supervisor Phil Barrett. The palace was built by Saddam Hussein and is now one of the largest U.S. bases in Iraq
“In a place where true freedom is still hard to come by, it was a great feeling to hold the flag of my town and think about all that we are blessed with back home,” he said.
Machina said he was embarrassed to receive the tributes from the board.
“I do have a certain sense of embarrassment for being recognized for just doing my job,” he said.
wood burning boilers
During the business portion of the meeting, several town residents spoke about proposed regulations for outdoor wood burning boilers.
The local law, which Barrett said would be revised following the public hearing, called for a ban on the boilers unless a property owner had at least four acres of land and could locate the burner 200 or more feet from any neighbors.
Several people said they had installed the wood furnaces as a cost saving device as the price of oil increased.
Paul Kitchen of Sugarhill Road said he had a boiler installed last fall.
“I own 5 acres, but my land is L-shaped. There’s no way I could have put this in 200 feet from my neighbors,” he said.
Kitchen said he spent an extra $1,000 to have a high chimney placed on the boiler to better keep smoke from drifting onto his neighbors’ properties.
“The outside burners are safer than a wood stove in the house,” he said.
Robert Mackey of Male Drive said he installed an outdoor wood burner to save money by cutting wood on his own property.
“I don’t think you should put too many restrictions on these. I’m an Iraqi vet and I’d rather not use Middle Eastern oil if I can cut my own wood instead,” he said.
Barrett said he didn’t know when a revised ordinance would be written but said another public hearing would be held before it was adopted. The board did discuss the prospect of “grandfathering” outdoor furnaces already built and in place when a new ordinance takes effect, but no decision has been made on the matter.