(Unedited letter from Newton County Commission Chairman Keith Ellis sent to The News and to Newton commissioners regarding the Aug. 27 article, "County cuts Henderson pay advance")
The Center for Community Preservation and Planning, commonly referred to as the Center, is a non-governmental organization which came into being shortly after the turn of the century. It was originally funded by a local private non-profit foundation, which also owned a large tract of land in what is generally referred to as the Brick Store Community at Ga. 11 and Hwy. 278.
The political machine that controls Covington, Newton County and the remainder of small towns here has set in motion a plan to facilitate a virtual take over of property owners' rights. In the process, they have spent unbridled and without any sense of direction which would focus upon what the citizens' desire.
Members of my family have lived in Newton County since 1809. Early members were simply subsistence farmers; some were successful planters; some were Methodist ministers; architects; economists, etc. Some were considered wealthy, others financially challenged. But regardless of the times - various depressions, Civil War destruction and the real estate collapse of recent years, one member of the family has managed to survive without selling any of the land left by our forefathers. For eight generations we are proud of that accomplishment.
A performance bond is a surety bond issued by an insurance company or a bank to guarantee satisfactory completion of a project by a contractor or sub contractor. In this example, The Chamber and The Center have failed to 'perform' in a satisfactory manner and the County has recourse with or without the performance bond.
My wife and I moved to Covington in January of 1982 after an extensive search for a place to live and raise our family. I had taken a position working in downtown Atlanta and could have lived anywhere in the metro area. We chose Covington because of its small town atmosphere, the picturesque City Square, and its rural countryside. Like most citizens in Newton County, we had real concerns when the building boom hit in the 2000's and the county started experiencing massive, out of control growth. We saw the very characteristics of the county that brought us here ...
Basil Rigney was laid to rest today. He was truly a one-of-a-kind educator. In Mr. Rigney's band class, there was no coddling, and praise was given only if truly deserved. He had a keen sense of each band member's strengths and potential, and he was not one to give up easily!
Yes, I am a rocket scientist specializing in deep space propulsion. However that is no asset when it comes to understanding the reason for the extreme "Plan." I would like to point out that the sessions are unlike anything I have ever experienced due to the fact there are no objective points made by the presenters. It is like, "Hey, it's all good!" And we know better than that.
The 2050 Plan gives us, the citizens of Newton County, a chance to control our own destiny, rather than leaving future growth and development up to those whose primary interest is lining their own pockets. It gives us a chance, as a community, to unite behind a shared vision of what our county should be in the future. Over the past decade, our local governments, school system and water and sewage department have struggled to deal with the adverse effects of accelerated growth and poor development practices. Our residents have been subjected to the undue stress resulting from overburdened services ...
Dear Parents: By now, you are well aware of the tragic school shooting that occurred Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. As a parent, I am heavy-hearted and know that you, like me, are hurting. There will be extensive media coverage of this terrible tragedy on the news and much discussion about it in our communities in the days and weeks ahead.
Once again, we see the necessity of school systems in even the quietest locations having a plan in place to deal with what happened in Newtown, Conn. These tragedies are happening more and more and both school systems and businesses must have an Emergency Action Plan in place, practiced and ready in case the unthinkable happens.
Dear Editor: Our family is absolutely at a loss for words to express our sincere gratitude and thanks to Amber Pittman at The Covington News, Captain Malcom and all of the Covington Police Department, Santa Claus and Diana Davis of Channel 2 News for everything they did last Thursday, Dec. 6, to bring so much joy to us, especially Sabrina, Joel and Chase, during this tragic time in our lives. All of the gifts on their Christmas list, the gift cards and all of the love you surrounded us with was overwhelming. So many thanks to all of you.
Dear Editor: As a member of Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful's executive board, I would like to thank you for bringing attention to the problem of litter in Newton County. As you mentioned in your editorial, litter can impact economic development and the way new and prospective businesses feel about our community. Likewise, litter has a negative impact on our own views of our community. Research has also shown that a littered environment increases personal stress levels.
Dear Editor: Last Sunday, Friends of Newton Parks welcomed some 1,300 guests and performers to our annual "Twilights at Chimney Park" festival of lights. It was better than ever, and the growth in attendance each year proves that Chimney Park and "Twilights" have become a must-see during the holiday season.
The lights in Chimney Park will be on every Thursday night in December from 5:30 to 9 p.m., and we hope you'll visit often to enjoy the magic created by so many talented volunteers and supporters.
Dear Editor: As Mayor for the City of Covington, I am proud to inform our citizens that today, Nov. 19, 2012, we have taken the first step toward securing a harmonious future for film-making in Covington.
Dear Editor: It is with sincere thanks and appreciation for everyone's efforts in making the 2012 Lighting of Newton County's Courthouse such a resounding success. There is quite a honor roll to thank!
The Street and Utility Departments literally worked down to the wire to get the district prepared for the lighting. It is always a large task,- add all the new lighting elements- and they had even larger task.
Dear Editor: I am appreciative of the recent column of Jason Dees for his biblical perspective of healing our political bitterness and divisions. Clearly, someone needs to say something about a true healing effort after the heat and emotion of the election we have just completed. The last decade has been an endurance test not for a few but all Americans. We endured 9/11, two costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and suffered the Great Recession. These endurances should remind us that we're all in this soup together - right wing or moderate or left wing - Democrat or Republican ...
Dear Editor: As a veteran, I thank you for the great honor you bestowed upon us veterans on Veterans Day. Your newspaper coverage of veterans was outstanding. Veterans and their families and kin make up a large segment of the reading public in Newton County and I believe who they enjoy reading about the stories of the veterans that live here among them. I give special thanks to you for hiring Pete Mecca and providing him a forum to tell the veteran's story. Pete, a veteran himself, knows the true reality of what it is to be a veteran ...
Dear Editor: I want to personally thank the citizens of Newton County who live in District 3, for supporting me in my campaign to be their next County Commissioner. Although I wish the outcome would have been different, I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to run in this race. My campaign team worked hard and I believe we left no stone unturned. I am a winner because I did something that I believe in and because I did my very best.
Dear Editor: "Honey, Daddy and I want you to come home for Thanksgiving dinner with us. Your brothers are hoping to see you this year. You haven't been home for more than two years. Grandma and Grandpa keep asking about you and sure hope you can be here this time. You are our daughter and we love you with all our hearts. Baby, you know we've been over this several times before. No, darlin', we sure hope you don't bring Ann with you. You know how we feel about your partner. And you know what the preacher ...
Dear Editor: This is the America that I am glad to be a part of. Monday night, I left my wallet on top of my car after getting gas on Ga. Highway 81. I noticed Tuesday it was gone and I prayed that I would either find it or it would find me. On Wednesday, a nice couple brought me my wallet after finding it on the side of a busy road, while the gentleman was on his daily walk.
Dear Editor: So Americans have chosen to continue down the road of expanding government scope and power and national bankruptcy (as your "Do The Math" indicated again today). And many who can see beyond "stimulus checks" must have voted for accelerating this direction. Strange. Strange, indeed.
Dear Editor: I don't know if it's called sloppy journalism, headline grabbing to sell newspapers or new to the community editorial staff, but the very idea of that the top of the front page in Sunday's paper says in bold print "Sexual texts" instead of the sad announcement of the passing of a dear, giving, Christian man who devoted his life to the betterment of Covington, Oxford and Newton County.
Dear Editor: By the time this letter will have been printed, our country will have decided whether to commit to socialism and bankruptcy, or whether we begin the long climb back to where we came from. With President Obama's record of ineptness on the economy and reckless forays into foreign affairs, we as a nation are mired in hopelessness.