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Townhouse residents remove prayer flags; are relocating

A Hudson man who initially said he would defy an order from a homeowners association to remove the Buddhist prayer flags from the exterior of his rented townhouse has given up the fight.

"The homeowners threw me a curve ball that I did not anticipate, and that was to sue the landlady for all legal expenses involved in any ensuing courtroom war," Don Chering said in a March 6 email reply to an inquiry from the Star-Observer.

"I have no right to drag another person into my battle and make them suffer. We decided to take the flags down and move," he wrote.

Chering said he has taken a new job in Louisiana and will be moving there with his wife, Sandee, and their youngest son, Dan, at the end of the month.

Chering made news in January when he said he would refuse to take down the prayer flags that he put up the day his oldest son, Aaron, left for basic training in the U.S. Army.

The flags were draped over the porch and garage door of the Cherings' townhouse on Bridgewater Trail in the Lighthouse subdivision.

Chering's landlady had told him that she received a letter from the Lighthouse Villas Homeowners Association ordering the flags to be removed by the end of January. He was told that association rules prohibited attaching things to the exterior of the townhouses.

Chering thought the rule was a violation of constitutional rights.

"There are limits to what is acceptable and what's not acceptable," he said at the time. "I don't think flying a flag to represent your country or your belief system is something the homeowners association should dictate to us."

He had contacted the American Civil Liberties Union to see if the organization would pursue legal action on his behalf.

The story provoked numerous comments on the Star-Observer's website from both sympathizers and those who sided with the homeowners association.

"I have learned my lesson with homeowners associations and won't be involving myself with them ever again," Chering said in his recent email to the Star-Observer.

He said his son Aaron has graduated from basic training at Fort Sill, Okla., and "is now training for his role in defending our freedoms."

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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