NEWTON, NJ - The Mack is Back.
Members of the Newton Fire Museum and other firefighters have been wearing “Bring Back the Mack” t-shirts for some time, and they finally succeeded in bringing the antique fire truck back to town on Wednesday, June 5,
They showed off the truck on Spring Street near the closed fire museum during Newton Day on Saturday, June 8.
Jason Miller, vice-president of the museum, explained they sold the truck to Green Township where it was used until the late 1970s, when Green got a new pumper. The old truck went to a private collection in Arizona, and then to one in Michigan. When that collection was liquidated, the Newton firefighters were given the first chance to buy it back.
They did with the help of Lakeland Bank.
“This is the man,” museum president Dan Finkle said as he introduced Daniel Leary of the bank who arranged for a loan.
Leary was stationed nearby at the Lakeland Bank booth, present during Newton Day.
Now that the truck is back, the fire department is trying to raise enough money to re-open the museum to keep it in.
Miller said the goal is $56,000. Firefighters were selling more T-shirts and other items to reach it.
Click here for a recent story about the Mack fundraiser, and more information, from The Alternative Press.
They were not the only fund raisers at Newton Day.
The Newton High School Marching Band, dormant for years, is also back, and students were selling cold drinks to raise funds.
Flute player and drum major Zsi-Shui Hsu said the band, in its second year after rebirth, has 40 members.
Years ago, the band marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and that is their goal again.
Also fundraising were Cubs for a Cure. Cub Scouts from Pack 85, and their siblings, were making friendship bracelets to sell for a cancer cure. Patrick McNulty, 7, said they have made about 100 bracelets.
Aiming a little higher in the fundraising world was the Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council.
Executive Director MaryJo Mathias explained she applied for an IMPACT 1000 grant.
“We won’t know until the end of summer,” Mathias said.
She explained the grant is for $135,000 and SCA&H is in competition with 90 other groups. The money comes from 135 women from the state, who each put $1,000 into a pot.
Eligible projects are in the fields of art, education, health, family and the environment.
Mathias said her group wants to create an arts center.
"We’d like to turn Newton into a small Milford,” she said. “An arts center fits into the new master plan.”
She said the center would be in the Springboard Shoppes..
Performing arts are the point of the Tri-State Actor’s Theater, the county’s only equity theater, which moved to Sussex County Community College from Sussex Borough.
Patricia Meacham, managing director and co-founder of the theater, said the group tries to reach out to the community.
More than looking for money, the Newton Emergency Squad is looking for new members.
Melissa Dixon explained cadets can be ages 15 through 18. A teen can become an EMT at 16.
“It’s a great turnout; the weather came through," Nancy Wood, executive director of the Greater Newton Chamber of Commerce, said of Newton Day.
“We are trying to revitalize the landmarks downtown,” she said. “When someone does something good, someone else does too. People jump on the bandwagon.” She cited the new owners of the Candy Kitchen who are bringing the building back to its original look.
In addition to the fun and festivities at Newton Day, the day kicked off with the Firehouse 5K, first thing in the morning, and close to 300 runners from all over the county, and beyond, flocked to the event. Click here for race results. The Newton Fire Department coordinates the annual run, which starts at Spring Street and Diller Avenue, proceeds through the Newton Cemetery, heads to the High Point Development, before concluding on Halsted Street at the cemetery gate. Click here for the Firehouse 5K website.
At around 9 p.m., the all-day celebration continued in Memory Park, with a colorful fireworks display, which could be seen from various points within town.
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