Highland Two Years After the Tornado

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

HIGHLAND, AR (KAIT) --It has been 2 years since a EF 4 tornado ripped through Highland.

The storm destroyed nearly 50-percent of the towns businesses along Highway 62.

Between the tornado and ice storm Highland has had a rough couple of years.

To the casual driver going through the town you might not notice the empty spaces, but after two years Highland is still coming back.

Mayor Jerome Norwood, "We're left with the Town and Country Shopping center. The Midway Plaza units were all gone and most of the businesses along the highway."

The swath cut for about a mile along Highway 62 .

I remember arriving up here in the live truck shortly after the tornado had passed through. All these power lines were lying on the road we had to drive around those and the poles and the debris from all the buildings that had been destroyed was laying out in the highway as well.

Including the Timberline Restaurant which has been born again as Negron's Bakery.

Owner Gary Negron said the building was in pretty bad shape when he saw it for the first time.

"The old A-Frame part here it was still standing. But it was all open, full of debris, insulation hanging everywhere, wires."

But like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, the old restaurant occupants are serving up tasty treats every day. Location is everything.

Negron, "Lot of people going to work, towards Ash Flat or Batesville or towards Salem or going to Hardy or somewhere. I'm right in the middle."

A few items in the bakery like a warped rack, the mixer and an oven are survivors of February 5th and they, like the rebuilt and new business, still keep on working. Perhaps better than before.

I asked Mayor Norwood if a person from out of town were to drive down the highway would they know what had happened?

"No, you'd just see a few empty concrete slabs and you'd wonder what happened in the past."

And the past is just that, the past.

Norwood, "It's gonna be a good year, we're gonna make a comeback yet...Fact we're on the way right now."

©2010 KAIT
ll rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.