Texas-sized flag pole flap ends with hefty fine

Commissioner wanted to make Texas flag poles the same height

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ROCKWELL, Texas -  The flag pole controversy in Rockwall County may now be laid to rest.

Rockwall County Commissioner Jerry Wimpee has agreed to pay the full amount ($3,315) to have a new flag pole installed in place of the altered one, make a $2,000 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project and issue a letter of apology to Rockwall County and all veterans, according to David Lobinger.

Lobinger was appointed as a special prosecutor in the case by the 382nd and 439th Judicial District Courts of Rockwall County.

"Shortly after my appointment, I met with Texas Ranger Sgt. Victor Patton and reviewed his extensive investigation and file," Lobinger said in a letter to Judge Jerry Hogan and the Rockwall County Commissioners. "Having served in the United States Army, I appreciated the emotional sensitivity this issue caused your citizens and veterans who call Rockwall County home."

According to Lobinger, Wimpee has also been instructed not to violate the law in any manner in the next two years, or the case will be reopened.

"I take this opportunity to apologize to those county elected officials, military veterans and citizens of Rockwall County who were offended by my actions related to the trimming of one Rockwall County Courthouse flagpole earlier this year," Wimpee's apology letter read. "My intention was to bring the New County Courthouse Flag Display into compliance with the State of Texas Flag Code. I regret that my actions were offensive to some people."

In February, Wimpee had five feet trimmed off of the U.S. flag pole at the courthouse to bring it into accordance with state flag codes. The move reportedly violated Federal flag codes, however, and irritated local veterans. Hundreds of veterans and supporters filled the Rockwall County Courthouse during the Feb. 28 County Commissioners Court meeting.

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