Sign debate smells of Big Brother

The Carson Country insert to this paper was very nicely done. It was a welcome sight to read two articles on Dayton. It nicely extolled all the progress our little suburban town has adapted to like new subdivisions and a population explosion and the arrival of our first supermarket. Locals were interviewed and sadly they could not refrain from mentioning negatives to our fair town.

Let us look at the paragraph dedicated to our now infamous "Mia's of the Comstock." Mia's has become a household name. When Americans decide to persecute, we do it in grand style. Not a day goes by that an article is not dedicated to the ongoing saga of the missing sign. It even found mention in an article dedicated to the supposedly good things happening in Dayton in your Carson Country magazine.

Mia's sign revolution has brought many an interested visitors to gape at what the furor is all about. It's really about a couple who dared to have pride of ownership. First they purchased a decrepit old edifice. They spent hundreds of dollars to pass inspection both state and county and finally opened for business as an eating establishment. They spent more in reasonable repairs to old bricks ready to crumble and even more on updating a heating system. They made new restrooms and fixed floorboards and even invested into the thousands on renovating an old theater upstairs that hardly is worth the investment. The job done on the upper floors was done by Mia herself who painstakingly sanded, lacquered and polished for months until the old floor was like silk. This job alone would have severely hurt their finances had Mia not undertaken the job herself. To date, she has not been rewarded with sufficient income to merit the renovation of the upstairs theater.

Then came the fateful date when a town celebration was to occur and Max and Mia decided to regrout the entire building exterior and paint the building to its original brick red splendor. At a cost that most of us would never have considered, they had the work done. The painters saw the old sign and in its decaying state, decided to paint over this sign. It was not intentional on the owners' part to hurt anything or anyone, it was just faint, decaying and of no use to the business now being housed in the edifice. So it went. They owned the property, had paid for it and never gave it a second thought. The holiday passed and nary a word was said. Soon after the celebration the (something) hit the fan. It has been hashed and rehashed and the harassment, both mental and through the media, has been astronomical. I cannot remember a more publicized piece of flotsam in my entire lifetime.

The entire debacle smells strongly of Big Brother wanting to dominate the American public with ridiculous regulations. Every day Americans face a barrage of new regulations, all designed to make our lives less tolerable and less enjoyable. Historic preservation has been one of my first priorities in life. No one is happier than I am when I see people who for no other reason than pride restored this Dayton property so beautifully. For this alone, I would have given them latitude in this matter since fatally, the sign was now gone. It is too late. Repainting and redoing this is no longer a historic item. The sign repainted on the old corner bar is a good reproduction done, for crying out loud, with a computer mounted on a truck. But it is what it is, a reproduction.

I was actively involved in saving the Brewery Arts Center in Carson City and later helped save the Bluestone Building in Dayton; however, there were good reasons to save the old buildings as they would house new tenants and again become a viable remembrance of our historic values. But a sign? A sign that did not even announce to anyone the value being offered within its walls? it is now Mia's Swiss Restaurant, not the Odeon Hall and Saloon! The owners have more marketing sense than the idiots who pursue on a daily basis the harassment of the owners of this fine establishment. Needless to say, these are hardworking, law abiding citizens who only want to live and let live.

As a champion of the rights we are supposed to enjoy in our country, I believe this should be the very last article ever written on the Dayton saga of "Mia's of the Comstock" and we should delegate the media space to the real preservation needed in Dayton and the time would be better served saving the old firehouse which has been on a back burner since the early '80s. The time spent on Mia's sign could have been spent making the restoration of our sad looking old firehouse. Kudos to the museum crew who have spent good times refurbishing and fixing up the museum grounds.

And on a positive note to those bothering to read this article, do visit Dayton. We have a lot to offer and tremendous pride in our town, and I am ashamed of the way a select few have treated Max and Mia when in reality we owe them a thank you for all they have done to improve and beautify their own property while never asking anyone for one red cent. LENORA V. SOMMERS, Dayton


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