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Vandals destroy political signs

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CHARLO — Three political signs were torched and axed by an unknown party last Sunday evening, leaving political candidates and their neighbors outraged. The signs were on properties in the Charlo and Ninepipe areas.

Paul Tryon, a Republican candidate, purchased two of the signs as part of his campaign for Lake County commissioner. The other sign belonged to Brian Nitschke, who is running for a trustee position on the Charlo School Board. 

“I think it’s terrible,” Shirley Mikkelsen-Cordis said. “When a candidate runs for public office — they put their money down.”

Mikkelsen-Cordis and her husband Bill Cordis own the property along U.S. Highway 93 where a sign supporting Tryon was placed. 

The other two signs were located on Rick and Punk Kerr’s property along U.S. Highway 212 outside of Charlo. The three signs were vandalized sometime between midnight Sunday and daybreak Monday morning. 

“If people are mad, this isn’t going to help,” Mikkelsen-Cordis said. 

She was angered by the fact that the perpetrator trespassed on her property and scattered glass on her driveway.

“I don’t care who it happens to,” Mikkelsen-Cordis said. “By God, it’s America. And I can have anyone’s sign out here I want.” 

Mikkelsen-Cordis explained that she understood the emotional and financial strain running for public office has on candidates and their families. Both her father and her husband ran for office.

“To me it’s just unfortunate,” Tryon said. “I built my signs and my family is involved. My wife was extremely upset.”

Paul’s wife, Amie Tryon, was on her way to St. Ignatius when she noticed the first sign down. At first glance it looked as if the wind had just knocked the sign over. But when Amie pulled over to set the sign straight, she noticed the damage done to the sign.

“That’s what upset me more than anything,” Paul said, “that it hurts my family.”

Tryon mentioned that an investigation will be difficult for law enforcement officials unless witnesses contact local law enforcement agencies. He also noted that it could have been some minors messing around, but he wasn’t certain. 

Regardless, Tryon and all community members affected by the vandalism agreed that the malicious acts have a definite negative impact on the local communities. 

“Your right to vote is your decision,” Paul said. “But this just looks bad for the community.”

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