By Linda Hicks


Plans are in the works for a memorial to be placed in the city of Vilonia honoring both the 2011 and 2014 tornado victims.

The project was proposed by four Vilonia High School East Lab students, Jacob Hogan, David Reyes, Devin James and Cyeth Arendall, Tuesday night, at the September Vilonia City Council meeting. A malfunction in equipment, the students weren’t able to show their project but it didn’t deter them from the mission to garner the support of Mayor James Firestone and the city council. The students used their cellphones to show their design and provided a vivid description. The plans include placing two columns with a five-foot-long, Plexiglas, four- foot-deep, case in the middle. The case will hold items found during the tornado as well as items belonging to the victims who lost their lives, the students said.

Material needed, the students said, will include brick, cement and Plexiglas as well as pavers. The names of the victims are to be listed on the pavers. The students estimated the cost to be about $3,000. The students asked Mayor James Firestone and the council for their support for the project including financially.

With little discussion, the city leaders gave the nod to proceed with the project. Firestone said it would be appropriate to place the memorial at the Memorial Park. He asked the students to send their design and drawings to him. There may be some donations available, he said, from local builders, reducing the costs.

"I think it is a very worthwhile project," he told the students. The students said they would like to have the project completed by December.

In other business:

• The council approved the hiring of a new police officer, Jordan Stocks. Chief Brad McNew recommended Stocks saying he is a certified officer that would not have to be sent to the academy. Stocks is currently as an officer with the Damascus department.

• A feasibility committee made up of Alderman Cathy French, Jim King and Joe Maxwell will explore building a walkway from the Vilonia Fire Department to Fred’s parking lot. French made the request saying that many older residents make the walk from the senior city’s building and the area is not walker friendly. Firestone asked the committee to make a report on their findings at the October council meeting.

• Firestone signed a proclamation in accordance with October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and declaring Oct. 7, as Go Pink for the Cure Day.

• The council approved a resolution allowing the city’s Project Shelter Fund, amounting to $548, to be donated to the city’s Vilonia Disaster Recovery Alliance to help area residents. The money, Firestone said, was donated by area merchants.

• A brief discussion regarding mobile food businesses and vendors, Firestone asked the council to review a proposed ordinance that would set some guidelines for food trucks setting up in the city. It will be addressed, he said, at the October meeting. Currently, it was said, there are two food trucks already set up and a third one preparing to set up.

• The council approved the city’s IT Disaster Recovery Plan.


Vilonia Fire Department. Keith Hillman, emergency management director/ city code enforcement officer, said the fire department has already responded to 518 runs this year—five more than the same time period as last year. The department will also host representatives of the Oregon National Fire Academy, Oct. 14, with firefighters coming from other states to receive training, he said.

Code enforcement and building. Hillman said building construction has slowed down.

Debris, he said, is being removed from some areas. The old Windstream building on Main Street, he said, has been removed and "it looks real good." A report from the August planning commission meeting, he said, plans have been approved for a small shopping center to be built on the bypass by resident Charlie Weaver. He did not say what will be housed in it.

Police Department. Mc New reported on efforts to stop speeders on Weaver Circle. A device designed to track speeders, he said, has revealed that about 3.1 percent tend to speed in the 20 mile per hour zone.

Overall, McNew also said that the department has been logging all call-ins to the police department. Since March, he said, officers have been average responding to about 579 calls per month.

In a brief discussion, McNew was asked if the city department "controls" anything on the bypass. McNew said the department does work "some" on the bypass. There was discussion regarding the frequency of accidents on the bypass. It is not unusual, he said, for speeders to exceed 90 plus miles per hour.

Vilonia resident Clint Tucker provided a report on current and future ball tournaments being sponsored by his business, What’s For Dinner restaurant.

The funds from the tournaments, he said, are all going to help residents and local organizations. "It’s about the community helping one another," Tucker said.

The proceeds from the "Swinging for Veterans," tournaments, he said, is going to the Museum of Veterans in Vilonia. It is set for Oct. 8-9. The proceeds from the "Guns and Hoses" tournaments, set for Oct. 21-22, he said, will go to the Vilonia Fire Department and the Vilonia Police Department.

Others, he said, are in the works including one in the spring that will go to a family in need.