New Year’s resolutions for county

By BRENT MAZE,

Where did 2017 go? It seems like last week that we were starting the year 2017.

For me personally, this has been a challenging year. It doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been a good year, but it has been difficult.

I feel like it has been a challenging year for Newton County as well. We have seen a lot of growth. The new Biewer Lumber Sawmill opened officially in April.

In Newton, a number of new retailers and other businesses opened up. For a few weeks, it seemed like we had one new business after another opening.

As we ended the year, that momentum had slowed a little, but it’s still been a very positive year.

There were other challenges that tested us, but overall it has been a good year for Newton County.

Here are a few things that could be resolutions for our home county.

First, our county needs more to offer young families. True, our county is a great place for young families to put down roots. We have low crime. Our school districts are strong. There’s access to sports and other recreation activities.

However, local families still have to go outside the county for a lot of entertainment opportunities. We need to build on our strong Roxy Theatre Company to offer more opportuniti

es for the arts to thrive. If there are more opportunities like that available, it could give businesses and industries more of a reason to locate to our area or to stay here.

Second, we need to continue to expand educational opportunities for our students. I’m beginning to see this with Union Public School District’s internship program. It gives students a chance not only to see if their interests could lead to a career, but it could also allow them to have valuable experience needed to go quickly into the workforce after graduation or to continue their educational careers.

Third, we need to continue to address our infrastructure. In the last year, we’ve seen a lot of road construction and paving done, but there’s still way too much to be done. Hwy. 15 needs expansion to handle the ever-increasing traffic. We also need continued expansion of high-speed internet.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, but we must continue the success that we’ve had in 2017.