Pioneer Village Council

Kristin Dawson, right, addresses the Pioneer Village Council about placing a 50-foot flag pole at her son’s gravesite, Monday at the council meeting. Pictured at left is Councilman Albert Kwader. LUCAS BECHTOL/Staff

PIONEER— The Pioneer Village Council is taking another month to mull over a request to install a 50-foot flag pole and large flag at Floral Grove Cemetery.

Kristin Dawson wants the flag pole at the gravesite of her son, Lance Corporal Zachary Rhinard, a reservist for the U.S. Marine Corps., who committed suicide earlier this year. Rhinard always wanted a large flag in front of his home, but never got the chance, so Dawson requested the 50-foot pole and accompanying 10- by 15-foot American flag at his gravesite, instead.

Initially in favor of the idea, council was less enthusiastic about the plan after realizing various problems with the idea, some logistical, some legal.

“We cannot put it at the gravesite due to the deed restrictions,” said Pioneer Mayor Ed Kidston. “We are more than willing to work with you at any other location at the cemetery you feel appropriate.”

The deed states, according to Village Solicitor Tom Thompson, that the plot is to be used for burial, meaning people don’t actually buy all the land in their plot.

In addition, the grave marker is clearly defined as being stone with a concrete foundation, he added.

Dawson gained some headway in the discussion when she said she was willing to donate the pole to the village.

“That is helpful, because if private individuals are allowed to put up poles, then they are allowed to do with their poles what they want to do,” Thompson said.

Kidston agreed that it would be helpful and believed that would allow the village to move forward as it wouldn’t have to worry about upkeep a generation or two down the line.

Dawson said she was glad they were coming toward an agreement, even if it they hadn’t reached one, yet.

“I think it’s a hell of a contribution,” she said. “I think Zach would be very proud of it; Pioneer can be very proud of it. And all I want is to be in the shade of it.”

One problem, Anthony Burnett, street supervisor, found with the idea was the space.

Burnett is in charge of digging the graves and said having that pole there could cause problems once more plots in the area have been sold and filled.

“If you go into an older section, all the different plots are bought, the headstones are all staggered and when I’ve had a grave in the middle I’ve had to literally lift up headstones to get my equipment in there,” he said. “We don’t dig graves by shovels and wheelbarrows. We’ve got large back hoes, our dump trucks are enormous.”

The family has offered to purchase the surrounding graves and are willing to discuss the positioning, though they still want it on Rhinard’s “front yard” and Dawson could still be in the shadow of it.

Also at the meeting, council:

• Approved changing the rules for selection of officers of the Pioneer Fire Department that included ongoing training.

• Heard a word of thanks from a citizen who received help from the village during some flooding this weekend.

• Approved a resolution allowing Village Administrator Al Fiser to enter into a revolving loan fund agreement with Rapid Machine, Inc. The agreement will involve a $100,000 loan from the village for the company to purchase a new CNC machine.

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