Editor, Times-Union:
As many of you know, the annual Mermaid Festival sponsored by the North Webster Lions Club will be held this week.
Sadly, the North Webster Lions Club has chosen to place confederate flags on the program for the Mermaid Festival this year. They have made a conscious decision to use one of the most hateful symbols in the history of our country to advertise this year’s festivities.
I am writing this letter to let you know that there are residents of North Webster who find this to be an extremely poor decision, both symbolically and financially.    Many of our local businesses have chosen to advertise in the Lions Club program. Those businesses with national franchise connections are at risk of losing their franchise affiliation because of unhappiness with this decision at the level of corporate headquarters.
Many persons, rightfully so, will choose not to come to North Webster this year or in future years because of the insensitivity of the Lions Club in deciding that this was an appropriate promotional tool. It is difficult to believe that anyone would think that the confederate flag is appropriate to use to promote family activities and fun here in the 21st century, when it was used to rally the supporters of slavery and racial oppression in the 19th century.
There are many ways to let the organizers of the Mermaid Festival know of unhappiness with their decision. I suspect that the Lions Club will hear from many citizens, as well as the advertisers in their program booklet. I hope that the residents and businesses of North Webster, who have participated in and enjoyed the Mermaid Festival for many years, do not see the reputation of our town permanently damaged by the poor choices of a few.
Jay A. Rigdon
North Webster, via email