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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


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


Welcome home

Handshakes, hugs and a few tears greeted the dozens of Covington-based National Guard troops who triumphantly returned home after a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

June 09, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Redevelopment Authority to buy additional lots

The Covington Redevelopment Authority is planning to purchase nine more lots in the Walker's Bend subdivision as it continues efforts to revitalize that area.

June 09, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Project Adventure closing down

Project Adventure Kids, a non-profit organization focusing on the rehabilitation of at-risk children and teen-aged drug abusers and sex offenders, is closing down its 16 area group homes and treatment facility on Elks Club Road.

June 09, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


Homecoming celebration held for troops

Handshakes, hugs and a few tears greeted the dozens of Covington-based National Guard troops who triumphantly returned home after a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

June 06, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Covington


BOC remains uncertain about the budget

Newton County simply won't have enough revenue to operate its proposed FY2011 budget at the current 9.73 millage rate, even if it cuts 100 jobs and raises various fees.

June 06, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | LOCAL


B Company welcomed home locally

The grandfather of Covington's Bravo Company is retiring after a combined 37 years in the armed services.

June 06, 2010 | Gabriel Khouli | Covington


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