Crosses back at Stratton building

STRATTON – The crosses are back on the village’s Municipal Building, at least for now.

Two crosses currently grace the building’s facade. The crosses were taken down in January after threats of legal action by the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation. The crosses had been on the building for decades before the threat of legal action by the organization after someone filed a compliant with the foundation. At the time, Stratton Mayor John Abdalla said after consulting with the village solicitor the village decided to remove the crosses. Abdalla also said he wasn’t happy with the situation and had no idea who made the complaint, but the village’s hands were tied.

However, two crosses re-appeared on the building recently. When contacted for comment Monday, Abdalla said the village put up the crosses for the Easter season.

“I’m allowed to put the crosses back up during (holidays),” Abdalla said, adding the organization hadn’t contacted the village over the matter since the initial threat of legal action in January. “They will stay up at least through the end of this month.”

Abdalla said he wasn’t sure whether the crosses would be removed or taken down for good at the end of April.

“I don’t know what (the village) is going to do,” said the mayor.

Abdalla said in January one of the crosses was going to be donated to the Empire United Methodist Church.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is the same organization that threatened Steubenville with legal action after a cross was incorporated into the city’s proposed logo. The city at the time decided not to recognize the logo as official.