Banner plane used to mark death of a Scientologist

St. Petersburg Times/December 6, 2006

There have been candlelight vigils and sidewalk pickets, but this year a small group of Scientology critics took their annual protest to the air, hiring a plane to fly over downtown Clearwater at lunchtime Tuesday with a banner that read: "Clearwater- Rember Lisa McPherson (sic)."

McPherson was a 36-year-old Scientologist who died in 1995 in the care of church staff members. Jeff Jacobsen, who never knew McPherson, helps organize an annual protest and vigil on the anniversary of her death. Jacobsen, who lives in Arizona, said the banner cost $500.

He said he wants to "keep her memory alive and to let people know that Clearwater has a little blight, something in the downtown that they shouldn't ignore. Lisa's death is just an example of the things that are happening with Scientology." Church spokesman Ben Shaw said he didn't see the banner and declined comment, saying, "It's over."

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