On Aug. 22, North Newton celebrated the 70th anniversary of its incorporation as a city. More than 450 residents and invited guests enjoyed a full picnic dinner and were entertained by the Heritage Quartet. The event occurred at Memorial Grove at the trailhead of the Sand Creek Trail.

Many groups and individuals worked together to make this event a reality. I take this opportunity to publicly thank First Bank, Midland National Bank and Citizens State Bank for helping underwrite this event. The Sand Creek Trail Committee helped plan and provided the watermelon and people to serve it. Bethel College, including Les Goerzen, Shirley Dietzel and Ben Jones, came through with the necessary preparation of the area. The Bethel College director of development, Fred Goering, provided shuttle service for those who needed it. The Heritage Quartet, a talented group of seniors, struck the right notes and was much appreciated. Keith Banman and his crew from Goessel served a delicious meal of barbeque pork sandwiches, potato salad and baked beans. City staff planned and organized the event.

I want to particularly thank Sher Klassen Neufeld, city clerk; Cindy Hiebert, deputy city clerk; Danny Bisoni, city superintendent; and John Torline, administrator, for all of their efforts in making the event the success it turned out to be. Chief Ray Classen and Assistant Chief Bill Koonce directed parking and assisted in a variety of ways. Vada Snider captured the event in photographs.

A special word of appreciation to Marie and Martha Voth, residents of Kidron Bethel Village, for the two exquisite pieces of wheat straw art they crafted and presented to the city.

It was interesting to note a number of attendees have lived in North Newton longer than it has been an incorporated city. Also noteworthy is that the food was served using biodegradable plates, cups, napkins and utensils. City staff will bury the waste and dig it up in a year. This is our own experiment to determine what truly constitutes biodegradability.

I have heard many comments from attendees, all of them favorable. Many have commented that this should be repeated every year. Well, maybe so, but at least get prepared for our 75th!

Sincerely,

Ron Braun, North Newton mayor