Positive things are happening in Newberry

Foster Senn Contributing Columnist

October 18, 2013

While the national news is generally negative and a bit depressing currently, there are many positive and uplifting things going on, including in Newberry. Some are inspiring, some hopeful and some will make you smile. For example:

• The deployment ceremony for the National Guard 751st Battalion in Newberry Friday was quite stirring and made one proud of our military and country. Our local-based Guard is headed to the Middle East and will be deployed 10 months, with many of the soldiers being deployed for the second, third or greater time. The military’s dedication, sacrifice and skill are to be admired.

For those that would like to write letters of support or send care packages to our hometown Guard, the battalion chaplain will send instructions for the community once the group is established in the Middle East.

• Oktoberfest was a big success with an approximate 15,000 attending. It was a fun day for attendees and a successful day for our businesses and vendors. Kudos to city staff, businesses and many volunteers that made it successful. Among the volunteers were the Newberry College wrestling team, which showed up at 4 a.m. to set up tents, and Boy Scout Troop 1, which arrived at dawn to direct vendors to the staging and parking areas.

• While the economy shows mixed results, there are a number of hopeful signs. Entrepreneurs continue to start businesses, such as Making it Personal at 1309 Main selling personalized fashion, Bar III establishing a new sports bar at the old Blue Moon location, and Weezies Thrift Store opening behind Cash & Carry on Wilson Road. Other new businesses are in the works or planning stages. For example, Any Time Fitness will open later this year in the Newberry Plaza shopping center.

• Our local and national businesses in Newberry continue to reinvest in their businesses. The historic Wells Fargo building downtown received new paint and trim work and looks great. The Hampton Inn lobby is being renovated and Martin St. Beer Parlor has a new coat of paint.

• With performers like Willie Nelson, Jerry Butler and Air Supply, the Opera House season is off to a very successful start, bringing in people from around the region, state and country. The Opera House continues to be a great driver of our economy and great flagship for our city.

• The Scarecrow Convention is a big success with about 40 official entries and many others joining in with fall decorations. Thanks to M.C. Yarbrough, the Newberry County Chamber of Commerce and the Newberry Jaycees for introducing the fun Scarecrow Convention to our community.

• The city is working on a number of parks and utility infrastructure projects. Renovations to Vincent Street Park, a long-time basketball hotspot and gathering place, are nearly done and look really good. Downtown, Memorial Park has new sod and fresh landscaping. In utilities, preparation for a new electric substation continues. For future capital needs City Council, City Manager Al Harvey and city staff are prioritizing needs, such as utility infrastructure, in our October and November meetings, as we aim to make improvements annually and set an approximate schedule for those projects.

• It’s a very good year for football in Newberry. Newberry High coach Phil Strickland was voted best high school football coach in South Carolina by USA Today voters, topping a formidable list of coaches. The Bulldogs are aiming for a region championship and beyond. The Newberry Wolves are ranked nationally and delighting Newberry fans, including a very large crowd for Homecoming.

• And finally, there are always activities going on in Newberry, including the Veterans Day parade on Nov. 9, plus football games, Opera House shows, festivals, suppers, etc. Fall is a good time in Newberry.