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Talk of Our Towns 

Burlington Animal Services Partners with Finding Rover

Burlington Animal Services is excited to announce a new partnership with the social media based mobile application, Finding Rover. Finding Rover is a free service that uses cutting-edge facial recognition technology to help reunite lost dogs with their owners and enables people to see found animals in the care of Burlington Animal Services. Potential adopters can also use the Finding Rover app to view adoptable dogs.

As part of this effort, every dog that leaves Burlington Animal Services will already be pre-registered in the Finding Rover database so that they can be automatically transferred to an owner’s Finding Rover account. If that dog ever gets lost, using the Finding Rover facial recognition search, bringing that dog back to their owner will be a snap.

"Reuniting owners with their lost pet is one of our top priorities," says Burlington Animal Services Director Jess Arias. "Along with identification tags and microchips, the Finding Rover app is a wonderful new asset to help us identify lost pets and get them back home with their families."

The Finding Rover app is free and works on both Android and iOS or through the web at www. FindingRover.com.

Local Greenville Student Artwork Displayed on City Recycling Trucks

Four more recycling trucks in the City of Greenville’s fleet have a new look thanks to the winners of the City’s recent "Keep Greenville Green" recycling art poster contest. The artwork on the trucks was unveiled at the City’s Public Works Department during a ceremony as part of Public Works Appreciation Week.

This is the second year the City has sponsored the recycling art poster contest for local K-12 students. Last year, four other winning designs were enlarged and displayed on the trucks. According to Public Works officials, student artwork is now displayed on approximately one-third of the City’s fleet.

Students were asked to create a poster that effectively and clearly highlighted the importance of recycling based on a recycling theme. City officials say they hope the poster contest will help Greenville promote its goal of increasing recycling, composting, and buying recycled products and packaging.

According to Public Works Director Kevin Mulligan, the city has received a lot of positive feedback about the artwork on the trucks and recycling in Greenville has increased by about 10 percent since last year.

Friends of Hickory Breaks Ground on New Park

Friends of Hickory has broken ground on a visionary new park in Downtown Hickory. The park, located just west of Union Square on the corner of Third Street and Main Avenue NW, is the culmination of over two years of planning and fundraising by the non-profit group.

Friends of Hickory board members collaborated with representatives from Lowes Foods, CommScope, and Corning, as well as additional donors, to symbolically transform the present overflow parking lot into a new community gathering space. "The front door of any city is its downtown," says Co-Chair and Founder, Allison Holtzman. "We want to make a strong first impression by highlighting the many strengths of Hickory’s community and region."

The park, which is the first project to be developed along the City’s new Citywalk, will offer a cosmopolitan mix of both old and new, with modernized Danish "unstructured" play equipment, outdoor seating, and a splash pad modeled after the Catawba River Valley that pays homage to the area’s geography and history. It will feature pottery by local artist Kim Ellington and mosaic tile from regional artist Leslie Scott. A music section, toddler area, and bicycle repair stand are also planned. "Hickory is in transition," says Co- Chair, Adrian Holtzman. "We want to creatively acknowledge our past, while also looking towards what we see as a bright future."

The City of Hickory applauds the efforts of these private citizens who joined together to enhance the city and create a space for all to enjoy. The park is also an important aspect of "Crafting Hickory," the City’s revitalization initiative. "This is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when folks get together with a common cause," shared Mayor Rudy Wright. "This is a tremendous enhancement of our overall updating initiatives, which include the bond referendum investments, the splash pad at Kiwanis Park, and the Lackey Conservancy. We are hearing that our city is becoming more beautiful and up to date. Congratulations to Friends of Hickory for their efforts in this multigenerational project."

High Point-based program transforming childrens’ lives

A kid-focused fitness program turning smiles in the Triad could transform the health of youths in communities across the state, and even the nation, organizers say. Go Out For a Run, or GO FAR, sets sights on healthy eating, personal benchmarks and training, all leading to a kids’ 5K walk/run in the spirit of fighting childhood obesity.

"It’s more than just a kids’ race," said Julie Hill, executive director of the High Point-based program that is kicking with opportunities for municipal partnerships. "It really gets the community involved."

Hill said literally thousands of people have turned out for recent GO FAR races, held in the spring and earlier summer, "because each child is bringing mom, granddad and siblings."

That’s big growth for the nonprofit, whose first race involved just 16 kids. High Point area physician assistant Robin Lindsay initiated what would become GO FAR in 2003 after seeing too many teenagers dealing with obesity and early signs of diabetes, high blood pressure and other preventable issues. Compelled to reverse the trend, Lindsay focused on teaching younger children about healthy lifestyles so they may avoid problems in their later teen years.

GO FAR, today a 10-week fitness club, is being implemented not just in North Carolina but across the nation. Florida, Texas and California are among nine states listed on a factsheet from the nonprofit. It reaches 10,000 kids annually – and it doesn’t matter how physically fit they are to participate. The idea is to educate, build character and impress the importance of goals.

Hill said GO FAR, while growing nationally, puts priority on North Carolina and hopes to build new, local-level partnerships. It can be implemented in after-school or city-recreation programs or at YM/WCAs, she said.

GO FAR currently is organizing a race in the Triangle for November.

"We rely on (city services) a lot to support us as far as our police and fire departments, just to keep us safe at the race, because we are on the road," Hill noted. "I’d love to take the show on the road and go to as many locations as possible."

More information about GO FAR and its curriculum is available at gofarclub.org.