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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jul. 22, 2009 8 years ago

Residents ask for prayers ... and a sign

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

The pink sign in the 500 block of Broadway reads “Pray for Libby Claire.”

Village residents Jim and Susan Pressly hope those who see it pray for their 20-month-old granddaughter, Libby Claire McGarity, who suffered brain injuries when she fell out of the loft in their home Friday, July 10.

She is currently recovering in the intensive-care unit at All Children’s Hospital, in St. Petersburg.

Libby Claire’s siblings, Mac, 10, Beau, 7, and Maggie, 6, helped their grandmother, Susan Pressly, put the sign up last Saturday.

But when Pressly returned home Monday night, she had a voicemail message waiting from Code Enforcement Officer Heidi Micale, who told her that the sign was a violation of town codes.

Pressly says that she told Micale, who did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday afternoon, that she would not remove the sign because it would upset her grandchildren, who are too young to understand the code.

Town codes limit signage on residential streets, such as Broadway, to real-estate signs, according to Planning Zoning & Building Director Monica Daigle.

The sign outside of the Pressly home was placed in a right of way, so the town requires immediate removal. But Code Enforcement found a loophole in the code, which allows a banner to be displayed for 24 hours for a celebratory purpose. So, they decided to place the sign in that category, allowing it to remain for up to 24 hours if it is removed from the right of way.

If the sign remains in place, it could eventually go before the Code Enforcement Board — something town officials hope to avoid, Daigle said.

Pressly said she doesn’t have a problem with the town’s sign code in general but thinks that exceptions are necessary.

“There are times when communities need to come together,” she said.

As for Libby Claire, her condition is improving. She has been removed from her ventilator and is breathing on her own, and she is no longer in a medically-induced coma.

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