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Waving Lady Liberty greets controversy in Fox River Grove
By Lenore T. Adkins | Daily Herald Staff

Dressed as the Statue of Liberty, Jose Contraras waves to passing cars along Northwest Highway outside Liberty Tax Services in Fox River Grove. Some village officials wish the faux Lady Liberty would just wave goodbye.


Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

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Published: 2/22/2010 12:02 AM

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A waving Statue of Liberty advertisement in Fox River Grove has a pair of trustees wishing it would just wave bye-bye.

The ad - a person dressed in a Statue of Liberty costume - promotes Liberty Tax Service by waving at motorists passing by the business on Northwest Highway.

Charlie Nason owns the Fox River Grove store and says the animated advertising accounts for 70 percent of its new customers.

"It is vital to our business," Nason said, adding that he never dealt with this issue at the three-year-old Fox River Grove outlet.

Fox River Grove Police Chief Ron Lukasik says he doesn't know of any accidents resulting from faux Lady Liberty, but village trustees Cindy Cramer and Gerald Menzel say the human sign is a nuisance and possible safety hazard.

"It doesn't make sense to have anyone out there this time of night distracting drivers," Menzel said.

The issue came before the village board Thursday night. Trustees decided against immediate action, opting instead to explore the matter and leave Lady Liberty be for now.

At a later date, the board may amend its zoning ordinance to limit the human advertisement to daylight hours or to certain times of year.

"We definitely want to have something in place," Cramer said.

Trustees James Tuman and Michael Ireland defended the ad, viewing it as a vehicle to draw more shoppers to adjacent retailers. Ireland also wants to make sure the town supports small businesses.

"They're just waving," Ireland said. "I don't see it as a big issue."

Liberty Tax Service has offices all over the Northwest suburbs, including three in Elgin, one in Carpentersville, one in Huntley, one in Woodstock and one in McHenry.

Nason said McHenry was the lone town that did not welcome Lady Liberty.