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Woman faces fine over flashing light

She put up the makeshift traffic light to deter speeders.

By ANNE LINDBERG
Published January 10, 2007


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Kali Gillespie complained to town officials about the speeding on her street. At one point, she even talked with the town's police chief.

But nothing was done.

Gillespie, 68, took matters into her own hands and installed a $30 flashing light at the edge of her property to warn motorists to slow down.

Now she's facing a misdemeanor charge and a possible fine.

"I feel that's harassment," Gillespie said Monday. "I'm a law-abiding person. ... I'm very upset."

Kenneth City police say they've tried to work with Gillespie but that she won't see reason. Speeding is not a problem along that section of 46th Avenue N, they said, and even if it were, Gillespie's flashing light is not the solution.

"It's kind of a nice little thing," Kenneth City police Sgt. Kevin Matson said. "Unfortunately, it's illegal."

Gillespie said her problems first began two years ago when she noticed cars speeding along her section of 46th. Gillespie attended a Town Council meeting to complain. "They just say, 'Thank you,' and that's the end of it," she said. She made other attempts in 2005 and 2006.

When no lights had appeared by November, she ordered a 25-watt, party-style light online and put it up. She also put up a "duck crossing" sign because six ducklings had been run over in the street.

Town officials told her she must remove the light and the duck sign. Gillespie said she appealed only to hear the town attorney as he "laughed out loud" about her sign.

Soon, officers came out with an arrest affidavit and served her with papers to make her get rid of the light. They cited her under a law that bans flashing lights on signs, Gillespie said, adding that her light is not on a sign and it's on her property.

Not so, said Matson. The light has many problems: It's on the right of way. It was erected without permits. The light is illegal and a danger because it can distract drivers.

The city had the county perform a speeding study along 46th, Matson said. The county didn't find a problem. If a judge fines Gillespie, the town will have the right to remove the sign.

[Last modified January 9, 2007, 20:27:50]


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