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Dave Hardin, Public Information Officer

Civic clubs and organizations are a staple of our society. Weekly or monthly, friends and colleagues gather for a meal, conversation, planning for projects that benefit the community and to hear information on various topics from guest speakers.

Last week, a representative of a Newton civic club dropped by to ask if I could arrange for a speaker for an upcoming meeting. We were able to do so within a half hour. He knows Catawba County has a resource that clubs and civic groups can use to find speakers on a wealth of topics...our Catawba County Speaker's Bureau. But I’m not sure many other people know about the bureau, so I try to occasionally remind readers of this service.

We started our Speaker's Bureau in 1994, realizing it would be a good way to help keep our citizens informed about services offered by Catawba County and about upcoming events related to the county.

Whenever anyone contacts me needing a speaker for a civic group, I always work first to help them find speakers on a specific topic of interest to the group's members, if they have a topic in mind. But we can also suggest ideas for presentations. County staff have expertise in a wide range of areas, from animal control to zoning, from budgeting to water testing and well inspection, and much more. We do best if we have a couple of week’s worth of lead time before the day a speaker is needed.

Catawba County is always working on current issues that may be of interest to civic clubs and organizations. These change over the course of time but, at this writing, include:

• Catawba County’s nationally recognized EcoComplex and other innovative things that have been ongoing at the Blackburn Landfill for more than a decade.

• Our chapter of the Keep America Beautiful organization, Keep Catawba County Beautiful, and other successful recycling efforts;

• Presentations on how to be prepared to face natural disasters, such as a winter storm or flooding, or on the work of Catawba County Emergency Services;

• The use of the newer kinds of social media and how Catawba County, recognized as a national leader, is using these online tools to help convey to our citizens information about what we’re doing;

• A huge variety of presentations on topics like household budgeting, nutrition, gardening and much more, available through the Cooperative Extension Service;

• And many more services related to county government.

If your organization would like more information on Catawba County's Speaker's Bureau or you want to schedule a speaker for an upcoming meeting, please give me a call at 828-465-8464 or send me an e-mail to