Ki-Be senior making tracks in Benton City

By Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldApril 20, 2013 

BENTON CITY -- Dakota Renz, 18, is not your typical small town boy who dreams of growing up and moving to the big city.

"I have always appreciated the town I grew up in," said Renz, a resident of Benton City. "I like that when you walk down the street you literally know everyone you see. I plan to move back here after college."

Renz will graduate next month from Kiona-Benton City High School, then head off in the fall to Washington State University to study equine veterinary medicine.

And it all has to do with bear season.

But before he leaves town, he wants to do something special for Benton City, and the Ki-Be Bears athletic department, that he hopes will endure the test of time.

That legacy is a slew of bear tracks painted in front of local businesses and leading to his alma mater.

Big blue flags stamped with the same blue bear track logo also will hang from the light poles in downtown. The bear tracks represent the Ki-Be bear mascot, and the flags will be in the school colors of royal blue, white and black.

Renz and his friends, as well as the town's mayor and other residents, helped paint the paw prints on the sidewalks Saturday. The town's fire department plans to hang the flags today.

"The whole school got involved with this project as well as the community," he said. "The print shop in town made the flags, the school's wood shop came up with the bear claw design."

The high school's metal class even forged the brackets the flags will hang from on the light poles, he added.

Mayor Lloyd Carnahan couldn't be prouder of Renz's idea.

"The whole town has totally supported Dakota on this," Carnahan said. "I grew up in Benton City too, and think what he's doing is a wonderful legacy."

Bear tracks also will be painted at the entrance to all Benton City's schools. The bear track flags will be taken down during summer vacation, replaced by American flags, then rehung when school starts in September.

"I plan to come back to Benton City and open a veterinary clinic someday," Renz said. "I love this town."

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