Family stunned by request to take down memorial ribbons - Fox 2 News Headlines

Family stunned by request to take down memorial ribbons

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MANTENO, Ill. (FOX 32 News) -
Relatives of a nine-month-old baby boy who passed away this week are devastated that the Village of Manteno is demanding they take down blue ribbons hung up in his honor.

Novah Zirkelbach died on June 3. He woke up from a nap gasping for air, and then died a short time later. The cause of death is undetermined.

His family, Karisa and Jason, and his sisters Rylee and Harley have been thrilled to see friends and neighbors hanging blue ribbons around town in Novah's memory.

But this week, the Zirkelbachs got an email from the Village demanding that ribbons that were placed on public light poles be taken down.

"No one called to inquire of the Village and attempt to get permission," said an email posted by the family on a Facebook page called "Shine Like Novah." "We really can't allow this or everyone who is in a similar situation of the loss of a loved one would be doing this. Again, we deeply sympathize with the loss but if you have an idea that this is an action taken by a loved one please have them remove the ribbons so they can use them for something else."

The email said that the ribbons would be removed by city workers if they were not taken down "by the end of the day."

Village Manager Bernie Thompson confirmed to FOX 32 News that he thought the ribbons should come down.

"The Village doesn't want to seem unsympathetic," Thompson said. "Because we certainly are sympathetic. But, there are many people who pass through the years and we would probably have something posted quite frequently on our poles. That's just something [village leaders] decided they didn't want."

Friends of the family are frustrated.

"We as a community wanted to show support," said Jonelle Eck. "I don't think anyone thought about any of the rules, or that we needed to ask permission. We just wanted to hang the ribbons."

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