The Norman Transcript

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November 12, 2012

Cross debate rises before council again

NORMAN — Issues surrounding those metallic figurines that have been removed from atop city street signs are rising again — with the matter heading the agenda of the next McAlester City Council meeting, set for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at city hall.

Controversy has surrounded McAlester City Manager Pete Stasiak’s decision earlier this year to order workers to remove nine metallic silhouettes including crosses or other Christian religious symbols from atop street signs in the city.

However, the one metallic silhouette specifically identified at the center of the controversy in a resolution passed by a church-related organization in August — and subsequently cited in McAlester City Council agendas concerning the matter — was never removed in the first place, the News-Capital has confirmed.

The issue began around the city’s alleged removal of a figurine depicting an individual of the U.S. military kneeling in prayer from atop a street sign at a Third Street intersection in McAlester.

That followed demands that it be reinstalled.

As the controversy continued, the News-Capital examined  the nine silhouettes which were removed earlier this year — but didn’t find the alleged Third Street intersection silhouette among them.

However, a check of the Third Street and Choctaw Avenue intersection of the silhouettes still in place showed a figurine of what appeared to be an American soldier kneeling in what could be considered silent prayer.

It’s still atop the street sign on the northwest corner of the Third Street and Choctaw Avenue intersection, the one nearest to the First National Bank and Trust.

A similar one is in place atop one of the street signs at Carl Albert Parkway and Strong Avenue intersection.

Asked Friday evening if the silhouette at the Third Street and Choctaw Avenue intersection had ever been removed, Stasiak said it wasn’t.

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