Archive - Feb 22, 2012 - News Article
Groups organizing a playground to honor Zahra Baker hope volunteers will help build it.
The city of Hickory, the Kiwanis Clubs of Catawba County and numerous community sponsors are building the Zahra Baker All Children's Playground at Kiwanis Park on 805 6th Street SE, just off Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard.
The groups are inviting members of the community to volunteer April 12-14 to help construct the playground.
Catawba Countyâ€™s young professionals say it will take a combination of jobs and quality-of-life improvements to keep young people from leaving the region.
In the past 10 years, the county has had a 15-percent decline in the population ages 25 to 34. In that same time period, surrounding counties have also witnessed a 25-percent decline in the younger age brackets.
The elderly population has skyrocketed throughout.
Newton will seek federal funds to help the city's fire department get closer to meeting national standards for fighting structure fires.
As part of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, the U.S. government is providing about $380 million to fire departments throughout the nation. The priorities of the funding are to provide firefighters for departments that have either laid off personnel, face the prospect of reduced staffing or seek additional firefighters to meet National Fire Protection Association standards, said Newton Fire Chief Kevin Yoder.
Newton is again pondering the idea of building a new fire station headquarters.
The current headquarters, located in Newtonâ€™s downtown area on West â€śAâ€ť Street, was last renovated in 1958 and has a host of health, safety and space issues that fire and city officials say have needed addressing for quite some time.
â€śItâ€™s clear that we absolutely need it,â€ť Newton Mayor Anne Stedman said at the cityâ€™s annual retreat this month. â€śItâ€™s not a want anymore.â€ť
A discussion for building a new headquarters has been going on for more than 10 years.