Man Charged With Installing Flag On Independence Rock
Independence rock needs an American flag. Because 'Merica. Or so a Natrona County man thought.
But he was actually repairing something old. Something that had been there a long time ago.
Apparently, he modified an existing concrete pad on Independence Rock to install a pole and an American flag that had once been there.
What he did not do was consult with the park service first.
The man has been charged with defacing a landmark by state park officials.
He name is Paul Williams. He is 61 years old and he pleaded not guilty to the charge in Natron County Circuit Court on Friday.
Well but hold on, there is always more than just one side to a story.
Williams, told Oil City News he first installed a flag on the existing concrete pad on the monument last summer ahead of the Fourth of July weekend. Williams said that the pad had been installed by the Rawlins-based Elks Lodge in 1940.
It's possible that the flag had been removed and the tube that held the flag cut away. The reason why is not known. Williams thought it might have been a problem with the wind.
Officials said that on Sept. 5 Williams arrived and simply just began work. He drilled into the concrete pad and "fixed" the structure.
Park volunteers asked him what he was doing. He told them. But nobody tried to stop him.
Williams argues that he only worked on the concrete pad, and not independence rock itself. He paid for everything himself.
At first, the park service had no idea who did the work.
Some time later Williams called the park service and asked why the flag had been taken down.
NOW the park service knew who had done it.
“What I’d like people to know is we’re always willing to talk with people about what we can do or can’t do [on state parks land],” Migliaccio told Oil City News on Friday. “The reason we ask them to go through official channels is that these landmarks are our public and natural heritage; they belong to everybody.”
Altering a landmark is punishable by up to six months in prison and a $750 fine. On Friday the judge gave Williams a $500 personal recognizance bond.