Archive for Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Ex-police officer enters council race

January 12, 2005

Cecil Vinyard wants to make one thing perfectly clear: He has no ax to grind.

The former Tonganoxie police officer, who retired in September, is running for one of three seats open on the city council. In filing on Monday, he joins Bob Nickle, who is the only other candidate so far. The filing deadline for city council and Tonganoxie school board is noon Jan. 25. No one has filed for school board, according to a check with the county clerk's office.

Vinyard, who will turn 61 on Saturday, said he's thought about running for city council for several years. And now that he's retired from the city -- he still serves as bailiff once a month for Municipal Court -- he thought the time was right.

"I thought, what the heck, I'll give it a try," Vinyard said. "I think with my experience with the city of Tonganoxie, I might be able to add something to the city council. ... I have no particular grievance to be taken up against any of the department heads. In fact, I'm good friends with the heads of all of the departments. I've known all of those guys for years. I don't have any axes to grind against anyone."

Growth is an issue that's of importance to the city, Vinyard said.

"I think possibly instead of so much housing, we need a little bit of industry out here, too," Vinyard said.

He plans to begin attending council meetings and planning commission meetings to brush up on issues.

Vinyard, who also volunteered for about five years with the local fire department, worked for 23 years on the police department, primarily days or evenings the past few years.

"Back in the day, we used to work an evening shift and work all night," he said.

And then he'd head to Kansas City, where he'd drive a truck all day.

"It wasn't easy," he said, laughing. "I'm much too old to do that now."

About two months ago, Vinyard started working about four days a week at B&J Country Mart.

"I like people," he said. "I like the customers who come."

Vinyard, who has lived in Tonganoxie about 25 years, is married. He and his wife, Sophie, have four grown children. A 16-year-old grandson, Blake Ford, lives with them.

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