Newton Relief Benefit

On Dec. 19, 2002, a tornado ravaged the town of Newton. More than three months later the town is still struggling to completely get back up and running.

All along this West Church Street area, several businesses were destroyed, some even leveled. With such destruction town officials most of these business owners say they will not rebuild.

"We did in fact lose our BP station, Chicken Basket, Vowell's Food store, Subway will not reopen," said Kathy Stephens of the Newton Chamber of Commerce.

However, things that have reopened are the Wal-Mart, which received some major roof damage and a Sonic restaurant, which reopened just this week.

However, as for many other businesses, homes, and even a park it's quite a different story. With hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, town officials say being denied for federal grants twice has not helped.

"I think it was $9 million. Our was just over two million but for a town with 3,700 people it might as well have been $9 million," said Stephens.

Saturday night a special relief concert will be held to help with the continued cleanup within Newton. The concert will be held at the Temple Theatre starting at 7 o'clock. The headlining act is Jimbo Henson.

Tickets are $15. The public is encouraged to attend.

"You never know how fast your life can change. On Dec. 19 all citizens of Newton were affected and they will remember forever," Stephens said.


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