If you haven’t heard about what Leigh Gardella-Wood went through recently, then you haven’t been up to date. Leila is a woman from Illinois, who recently had a confrontation with her local government. The issue? The local authorities demanded that she gets rid of a September 11 memorial that sits in her property. Leila lives with her family in a property that was home to Spring Bluff Elementary School in Winthrop Harbor. The property is approximately 50 miles north of Chicago.

Apparently, the elementary school closed years back, and Leila and her family have been living in the property since they bought it in 2011. In fact, Leila and her family have been enjoying the peace and quiet living until last week. And you can’t imagine what happened, and who caused the strife. She received a notice from the Winthrop Harbor Village, requiring her to remove any obsolete signage in her property that belonged to the elementary school. One of the obsolete signage that she had to remove is the September 11 memorial. Leila received a 14-day notice to get rid of the signage; failure to which, she would be charged a penalty of $500 per day. When interviewed by NBC5, Leila said that the memorial had been on her property from the time they bought it 9 years ago. However, the authorities had asked Leila to remove the memorial a year after they’d moved in. It is worth noting, however, that despite the authorities wanting the signage removed, they themselves have never attempted to get rid of it.


Everyone knows how big a deal 9/11 is. So, in June 2012, a local girl scout had managed to raise enough money for a plaque to be placed on a boulder in the elementary school. The plaque had “We Shall Never Forget” inscribed on it. The message’s purpose was to honor those who had paid the ultimate price during the September 11 attack. However, a few months after the memorial had been put up; officials were already trying to get rid of it – the audacity. Local veterans heard of this attempt and criticized the move, something that made the officials leave the signage intact. But it seems like the local authorities hadn’t let go of their decision to have the 9/11 memorial removed. Leila received a letter from the same officials stating that the memorial was obsolete, and she needed to remove it or pay a hefty fine.

The letter references Section 158.13 Enforcement of the Winthrop Harbor Sign Code, which states the following: “(A) Obsolete signs. Any obsolete sign shall be removed by the owner, agent or person having the beneficial use of the building, structure or lot upon which such sign is located within ten days after the cessation of such business or sale of such product that renders the sign obsolete. Such a sign shall be deemed abandoned. If such a sign is not removed within ten working days of being abandoned, the Building Commissioner shall be given written notification to the owner or agent of such failure, and ten working days hence shall cause removal of such sign.”

All that was quite confusing to Leila because she had never heard of such a memorial being an issue before. After all, she even knows of other people who have plaques in their homes and are not being harassed by authorities.