October 26, 2021

Newton can go the distance

Newton is often called a “resilient community,” able to withstand anything thrown its way. Obviously, much of that is attributed to the town rebuilding its foundation after the bedrock of Maytag finally crumbled. Coupled with the 2008 recession, the odds were stacked against Newton. Yet here we stand.

The resiliency of the town is being tested yet again after TPI announced last week it will suspend operations of its Newton wind blade factory at the end of December. Arcosa, the company which makes the wind blade towers, is also in trouble. Or so I’ve been told. That’s several hundreds of workers without jobs.

Although not nearly as widespread or as historically damning as Maytag’s departure, TPI’s announcement should not be taken lightly. The largest employer in Jasper County may be packing its bags and moving on. Those buildings will be left empty. Newton could really use a good dose of resiliency right about now.

Even Newton Mayor Mike Hansen said as much in a statement about TPI:

“Newton is a resilient community with a diversified economy,” Hansen said. “And while this potential suspension of manufacturing will have an impact on TPI employees and their families, we will continue to work together to overcome this challenge as a community.”

However, I question the resiliency of Newton’s residents when it feels like all we ever do is complain and stunt our growth with piss-poor attitudes. When the dookie hits the fan, we’re so quick to point fingers and feel vindicated in some way. Ha! I told you so! I told ‘em this would never work.

Even when Newton has good news to share we can’t seem to accept it. There are more constructive things to do besides yelling and screaming when we’re dissatisfied. By all means scrutinize and ask questions. It’s OK to be skeptical. But so often we throw fits when things don’t go our way.

We seek answers and then condemn those who didn’t give us the answers we wanted to hear. Rather than find a solution, we’d rather whine endlessly. Why? Because it’s easy. Got news for you, folks: The easy days are over. We have to work for success. I thought we were a blue collar town? Are we afraid to work?

When it comes right down to it we’re jaded, and some might say for good reason. Many of us may not be so trusting of others. It makes sense. We’ve been burned once before, right? I understand why we keep our guards up, but if we’re constantly playing defense we’re never going to score.

Eventually, we’ll have to move up the field. Run the ball. Make a pass.

Or perhaps I’m making the wrong sports analogy. Maybe football isn’t our game. With the amount of beatings Newton’s been taking the past few decades, it almost feels like the town is an old heavyweight boxer. A fighter who was once on top of the world and is ready at any moment for a comeback.

But the game has changed so much since those glory days. So what’s a boxer to do? Well, I doubt the answer is complaining about how different the sport is now or how greater things used to be back in the day. Boxing ain’t what it used to be. Everything was better when I was the champ!

Newton had its time on top. The town earned its championship belt, and nothing can take away that past glory, those years when Newton was in its prime. The legacy won’t be forgotten. It’s even cemented in the very buildings being used right now for new businesses, new homes, new opportunities.

I don’t know if Newton will ever be a grand champion again, but I know there are people putting in work to make sure they’re ready for that title shot. If our attitudes don’t change, I highly doubt we’ll make it past the first round. I refuse to accept that. The Newton I know doesn’t go down without a fight.

The Newton I know can go the distance.

Christopher Braunschweig

Reporter with a strong penchant for community journalism.