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Articles By Author - Gabriel Khouli


Covington to lower property tax rate

Editor's note: The article "City joins rail case, OKs budget" in Wednesday's newspaper contained a reporter's error regarding the millage rate, and this article was written, in part, to correct that error and clarify the situation.

June 21, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Covington's fire ISO rating improves

Covington residents could be seeing some savings on their homeowners insurance in coming years thanks to the city's fire protection rating improving.

June 21, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Homeless shelter could need $18K to replace ACs

Covington's homeless shelter has been staying open by scraping together enough funds to pay its monthly $6,000-plus utility bills, but now that three of its air conditioning units have failed, the shelter needs an even bigger cash infusion.

June 19, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Small part of Wheat St. to close

The part of Wheat Street between Industrial Boulevard and Hazelbrand Road will be closed to through-traffic for construction starting July 1.

June 19, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Hoax caller tells NCSO 5 hostages in apt.

Investigators are looking for the person who pranked called the Newton County Sheriff's Office Tuesday night and said five hostages were being held in the Summerset Apartment complex off Salem Road.

June 17, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Khouli's parting words: thank you, I'm sorry

I'm leaving The Covington News, and I want to say thank you. (People accuse me of writing long; how's that for a short intro?)

June 17, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


BOC still mulling budget options

A week after the Newton County Board of Commissioners seemed to be on the verge of reaching a budget consensus, concerns about public safety, particularly high turnover rates in both the sheriff's office and fire department, prompted the board to take another look at beefing up funding.

June 17, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


City joins rail case, OKs budget

The city of Covington is joining a group of landowners seeking payment for the property it owns along the abandoned Norfolk Southern.

June 17, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Business owners may opt in to self-tax

Does U.S. Highway 278 have anything that makes it special? Many people don't think so, at least, not yet.

June 14, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


City fires in supposedly vacant structures

The Covington Fire Department hasn't had to fight many house fires lately, but two of the most recent fires occurred in supposedly vacant buildings.

June 14, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Traffic delays possible for water line work

Covington residents could see traffic delays south of the square and in the Old Monticello Street area during the next year as work begins on replacing more than 26,000 linear feet of city water lines, some of which are more than 100 years old.

June 13, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Liquor store plan spurs talk about corridors

A proposal to put a new package store on the Covington Bypass Road has spurred an in-depth discussion about the future of the city's commercial corridors and what they will and should look like, with some officials' modern vision for the future clashing with others' views of what's realistic.

June 12, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Covington’s Wildwood subdivision purchased

The partially-built Wildwood subdivision off the Covington Bypass Road has been purchased by a developer who plans to move forward where other developers have stalled out.

June 10, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


BOC: Rental policy at Nelson Heights center should change

County commissioners agreed Monday night that extra steps need to be taken when the Nelson Heights Community Center is rented out to ensure there's no repeat of the May 30 "Bounce Dat Ass Part II" party that ended up with gun shots reportedly being fired in the air by a car passing by the center.

June 10, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


County nears budget consensus

County commissioners appeared to be close Monday to reaching a consensus on next year's budget, agreeing to lower the millage rate (informally called the property tax rate) from its current 11.54 rate to somewhere around 11, a change that would save a $150,000 property owner around $30 a year in county taxes.

June 10, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


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Archive By Author - Gabriel Khouli


Parking ordinance temporarily suspended

Nearly every car owner who lives in Covington is violating the city's current parking ordinance, simply by parking a car outside their home, if that car weighs more than 2,000 pounds.

October 06, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Electricity prices to increase statewide in 2011

Utility customers across the state will get more bad news in 2011, as electricity prices are expected to increase.

Covington residents can expect to pay around 7 percent more for electricity, because the City of Covington will have to pay its provider, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, a similar increase. The cost for customers will not come in the form of a rate increase, but will instead be passed on through the power cost adjustment, or PCA, which is designed to pass increased market costs on to customers.

October 06, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Covington


Candidates discuss the issues in campaign forum

Newton County's future political leaders espoused their ideas on the issues Tuesday night at a combined forum put on by The News and the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce.

October 05, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Covington council to meet tonight

The Covington City Council has a packed agenda Monday night, including discussions about the city's 2011 SPLOST project requests, 2011 power costs, a previously proposed parking ordinance and whether to allow outdoor burning in the city.

Covington submitted an estimated $17 million in SPLOST projects, including $5 million for replacing water infrastructure, $3 million for a new city hall building and $2.6 to widen Industrial Boulevard. The council did not receive a list of the projects ahead of time and some members expressed opposition to the city hall request in particular.

October 04, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Covington


Covington City Council’s Monday agenda packed

The Covington City Council has a packed agenda Monday night, including discussions about the city's 2011 SPLOST project requests, 2011 power costs, a previously proposed parking ordinance and whether to allow outdoor burning in the city.

October 03, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Covington


Don't forget: Candidate forum at 6:30 tonight

Candidates in state and country races will discuss the issues at 6 tonight in a forum at the Covington Branch Library on Floyd Street.

October 03, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Election


Cold Winter, Hot Summer, High Bills

The period of day after day of 90-degree high temps appears to be over and Joy Cason is one of thousands of utility residents breathing a sigh of relief.

October 03, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Leadership Collaborative reboots effort to implement 2050 plan

A large group needs to keep lines of communication open.

So, members of Newton County's Leadership Collaborative, a group of officials from business, schools and various government entities, agreed Wednesday that they want to have more meetings as a group and to keep in closer touch through e-mail.

October 01, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Covington gets downpayment assistance housing grant

Covington received a nearly $300,000 state grant Thursday to boost revitalization efforts in Walker's Bend by helping buyers with their down payments.

The Covington Redevelopment Authority has purchased several vacant lots in Walker's Bend off Ga. Highway 81 and plans to partner with local builders to construct smaller, energy efficient homes. The $300,000 grant from Community Home Investment Program will go toward downpayment assistance when these homes are sold.

October 01, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Covington


$160 million in SPLOST projects submitted

Newton County and its five municipalities turned in their SPLOST wish lists recently, and county commissioners are now tasked with cutting down $160 million in requests to an approximately $55 million final list. For a full list of project see the attached PDF.

The special local option sales tax is an optional 1 percent sales tax that is collected specifically to pay for capital projects, normally infrastructure and buildings. Newton County has had four SPLOTS previously, with the first one being passed by voters in 1987 to build Lake Varner.

October 01, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


County breaks ground on Fairview park

When Wendy Rodriquez arrived in Fairview Estates in 2003, the subdivision was in its formative stages and was a lonely place for an 8-year-old girl.

October 01, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


County to hold SPLOST work session at 6 tonight

Newton County residents will vote next year on whether to approve a special local option sales tax that would last until 2015.

September 29, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Rotary to host car show Sunday

The Covington Rotary Club will present its 18th annual "Cars of the Past" car show from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday on the square.

September 29, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Covington


Slow HOA formation upsets some in Fairview Estates

Last fall, the Rev. Sharon Collins stood proudly in front of her peers and told them she believed in Newton County, IECDG and the public park being built in her neighborhood, Fairview Estates, calling it a field of dreams.

September 29, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Social Security hearing office opens in Covington

A Social Security Administration office opened in Covington Sept. 7 bringing 54 jobs to Newton County and reducing wait times for those awaiting or appealing disability decisions.

September 29, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


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