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Tornado memorial planned in Naplate

After last year's tornado in Ottawa, the Little Yellow House Library on Second Avenue in South Ottawa was reported stolen. But it soon was returned. The library allows people to take or leave books. It was the closest there was to looting.
After last year's tornado in Ottawa, the Little Yellow House Library on Second Avenue in South Ottawa was reported stolen. But it soon was returned. The library allows people to take or leave books. It was the closest there was to looting.

It's nearing one year since a tornado touched down in Naplate and Ottawa, and an open house will be hosted at Naplate Village Hall to remember those who died, as well as reflect on the continued efforts to rebuild the communities.

The Feb. 28 tornado that hit Naplate and Ottawa was rated an EF3. It touched down at Buffalo Rock State Park and traveled 11.5 miles to just northwest of Marseilles.

Two people died as a result of the tornado — David "D.J." Johnson and Wayne Tuntland Sr. Both were in the back yard of a South Side Ottawa home when a tree fell.

The open house is scheduled 4:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the village hall, 2000 Ottawa Ave.

Organizers intend to remember the night and the progress made in rebuilding — and to remember those who died, along with the late Naplate Mayor Jim "Jocko" Rick for his leadership, dedication and efforts toward rebuilding his community.

Village Hall will be open to the public to walk through and view pictures as a slideshow of the recovery process.

Speakers will begin at 7 p.m. They include Ottawa Mayor Robert "Bob" Eschbach, Naplate Mayor Gary Mooney, Naplate Deputy Fire Chief Bob Rick (Jim's brother), Starved Rock Country Community Foundation President Pamela Beckett, Ronn Frantz of Mennonite Disaster Services and Alexis Ferracuti, the long-term disaster recovery group chairwoman.

There will be an unveiling of a rendering of a stone that will be placed on Ottawa Avenue commemorating the bringing together of the two communities.

Ferracuti thanked those who provided monetary donations, the unions for their donated labor and those who have donated supplies for the cause.

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