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Articles By Author - Gabriel Khouli


Bear spotted south of Newborn

A large bear was spotted south of Newborn this week, and the Jasper County man who initially reported the bear says there is evidence it's hanging around, but an official with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said real concern doesn't set in until a bear starts damaging property or stops showing fear.

April 19, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Smart Growth’s political forum

Early voting for the May 20 Primary begins Friday, and local group Smart Growth Newton County is giving residents a chance to hear from all the local and state candidates facing opposition this year.

April 19, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


County budget moves to public meetings

With a goal of lowering the county's property tax rate, after raising it last year, the Newton County Board of Commissioners is set to kick off its part of the budget process in earnest and officials will be looking for ways to cut costs and increase revenue.

April 19, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | BOC


Kroger helps give back

The next time you buy your groceries part of the proceeds could go to your favorite nonprofit.

April 18, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Monday is voter registration deadline

Monday is the voter registration deadline for anyone who wants to vote in May 20 Primary Election.

April 18, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Gazebo gets committee’s support

The hotly-debated gazebo proposed to be built on the Covington square was sent to a committee this week for more citizen and business owner feedback.

April 17, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Farm Bureau hosting meet and greet

Ask the candidates some questions and enjoy some homemade strawberry ice cream May 1 at the Newton County Farm Bureau's candidate meet and greet.

April 17, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Sinking soil replaced at armory

Covington's National Guard armory is getting a nearly $1 million upgrade, including replacing the collapsing soil under the parking lot which has caused sinkholes to form and has caused one corner of the armory to sink.

April 15, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Mansfield still trying to set election date

Mansfield officials are still trying to pick dates to hold a special election to permanently fill the mayor's seat, which was vacated when Estona Middlebrooks resigned from the position March 6.

April 15, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Mansfield settles wrongful termination

Former longtime Mansfield city clerk Pat Mullins accepted a $14,000 settlement from the city stemming from her claim of wrongful termination after she was fired in 2012.

April 15, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Couple sues neighbors, deputies

When they tried to get into their newly-purchased Newton County home the evening of April 19, 2012, Jean-Joseph and Angelica Kalonji were held at gunpoint by their next-door neighbors and eventually arrested by Newton County Sheriff's deputies.

April 15, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Mansfield council OK's '14 budget

Mansfield officials have big plans for the city, and they hope they'll be able to make more progress with a clearer financial picture after approving Monday a $1.07 million budget for 2014.

April 15, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


County studies Salem Rd zoning more

County officials want to make sure they're on the same page when it comes to future development in the Salem Road area, so they're placing a temporary ban on some zoning requests.

April 06, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


GOP hosting candidate meet-and-greet

Newton County residents planning to vote in the Republican primary May 20 will have a chance to meet and question several candidates in one place at the Newton County Republican Party's April 15 political rally.

April 06, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


County talking to grant writing co.

Newton County is getting closer to hiring a firm to write grants to seek out more state and federal funding.

April 02, 2014 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


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Archive By Author - Gabriel Khouli


2010 Property Taxes Guide

During the county's recent budget discussions, there was fierce debate about whether adopting the county's 10.9 rollback millage rate would result in a tax increase. The answer is: for some property owners it will and for others it won't.

June 27, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Locals hold Tea Party; discuss national issues

Luke Knight doesn't trust his government. The Newton County resident believes today's political scene is too infused with lying and innuendo, and he wants to counterbalance that by becoming an informed voice.

June 27, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Local Vampire Diaries fan to offer guided tours of film sites

As the Vampire Diaries cast and crew returns to Covington and is set to begin filming in July, local Molly Bachtel is offering fans a chance to relive the first season in real life.

June 25, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Covington


Affordable homes could be built in Walker’s Bend

The Covington Redevelopment Authority continues its efforts to remake Walker's Bend and has reached an agreement to sell 28 lots to private developer Affordable Equity Partners to build 32 single-family homes.

June 23, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Zombie sighted near Mansfield; residents urged to flee for lives

When the zombie apocalypse comes, even the small town of Mansfield might not be safe. Crews filmed for three days earlier this month along Highway 11, shooting footage for the pilot episode of "The Walking Dead," a six-episode series on AMC.

"The Walking Dead" is based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics ; Kirkman is also helping produce the television series.

June 23, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Covington audit reveals no flaws

As the city council prepares to approve its FY 2011 budget on Monday, city officials can have extra confidence in the finance department after the FY2009 financial audit came back with no findings.

June 20, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Covington


Touch of Country says goodbye to the square

In May 1997, Harold Duren purchased the old City Pharmacy on the northeast corner of the square as a shop for his handmade wooden furniture. However, the first people to knock on his doors weren't furniture customers; they were residents who wanted to know if he would continue to operate the popular soda fountain in the store.

June 20, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Business


CPR Saturday at DeKalb Tech a success

Becky Beavers hopes that one day Newton County will be the safest place to live in the U.S. The director of education at Newton Medical Center recently partnered with DeKalb Technical College to restart the CPR Saturday program, where local residents can learn CPR for free from trained professionals. She hopes Newton County will be able to catch Seattle, in which one out of every four residents is trained in CPR.

June 20, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Employees cut after rollback budget approved

Pink slips, sad goodbyes and voices on the edge of tears greeted dozens of county employees during the two days following the approval of the $46.3 million rollback rate budget by the Newton County Board of Commissioners Tuesday.

June 18, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


BOC approves rollback budget; see attached budget documents

The Newton County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a $46.3 million budget, which will use the 10.9 rollback millage rate, and cut about 50 employees. The board won't officially adopt the 10.9 rollback rate until the July 6 BOC meeting because the budget now has to be re-advertised in The News for a minimum of 14 days.

Commissioners Mort Ewing and Tim Fleming voted against the budget, and both expressed preference for the 9.73 millage rate budget which would have been a $43.5 million budget.

June 16, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Prior millage rates tell interesting history

There has been a lot of discussion about the rollback millage rate and whether the county should approve it. Although it's called the rollback rate, the 10.9 rate would obviously be higher than the current 9.73 rate.

However, the 10.9 rate is the rate necessary to bring the county the same amount of property tax revenue as it collected the year before. Property tax revenue in this past fiscal year was projected to be nearly $27.7 million, around 57 percent of the budget.

June 15, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Breaking down recent state bills

Tuesday was the deadline for Gov. Perdue to sign or veto the remaining bills from the 2010 Georgia legislative session and many bills could affect local residents and governments.

Below is a description of some of the recently signed bills. To read any bill, visit www.legis.state.ga.us/ and type in the appropriate bill number in the upper right hand corner.

June 13, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Water authority, Covington to increase water rates

As the county increases its wholesale water rates, its customers, the city of Covington and the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority, are raising their rates too.

June 11, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Covington


Moving work in house could save 21 county jobs

The county could save as many as 20 jobs, by cancelling its service contract for the county's recycling centers and reallocating existing employees to take over that work.

June 11, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Fire closes I-20 eastbound past exit 98

Two Newton County Fire Department crews are working a small brush fire on Interstate-20, between exits 98 and 101, which has closed down eastbound traffic.

Deputy Chief Tim Smith said the crew hoped to have the fire put out and everything cleaned up before rush hour.

June 09, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


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