Capitola resident and retired high school teacher Virginia Given Gregory has decided she will be turning off her iconic 11-foot wide, light-up peace sign for most of the evening to reduce energy waste. She used to light it for a full 12 hours every night.
Virginia Gregory added the lighted sign to her house at 118 Cliff Ave., with the help of her son Jim Given, who lives next door. They put up the decoration up last November just as her neighbors were getting into the Christmas spirit.
Jim has noticed a lot of support for the sign and isn't sure how his neighbors will react to their recent decision. “A lot of people have been intrigued by the sign,” he says. “Nobody knows we're going to take it down yet.” Regardless, the two have agreed to only leave the light-up sign on nightly for 28 minutes from 11:04 to 11:32 p.m.. They believe that turning it off for most of the night will be more consistent with their “green lifestyle.”
“We decided to cut back. It's wasteful to have it on all the time,” says Jim.
Jim and Virginia say the decision light the peace sign for only 28 minutes is also a response to President Barack Obama’s recent troop increase in Afghanistan. As the troops come home, they plan on extending the time they leave the sign on until it is on for a full hour from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m.
While the family’s peace sign is not illuminating Capitola for as many hours out of the day, their intentions are still alive and well... and still shining bright.
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