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City approves first reading of bow hunting ordinance
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Bow hunting is one step closer to being allowed in unoccupied areas within the Covington city limits after the Covington City Council approved the first reading Monday night.

Concerned resident David Waller, a longtime former state wildlife employee, originally asked the council to consider allowing bow hunting in the city because of the exploding deer population, which can cause accidents and destroy vegetation.

Because of safety concerns, hunting with a bow and arrows will only be allowed on land that is further than 100 feet from an occupied building. In addition, hunters have to get permission from the property owner in order to hunt.

"(Archery is) as safe as anything you can do," Waller said previously in response to council members questions about safety and risk. He said he couldn’t remember a single incident where an archer had shot another person.

Current city ordinances do not allow bows or guns to be fired in the city limits. The council voted 5-1 for the ordinance change with Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams opposing. She has previously expressed concerns over safety. The final reading of the ordinance will be voted on Aug. 16.

Chamber Update

Chamber President Hunter Hall gave an update on the chamber’s recent actions. The chamber previously released a new mission statement outlining its goals and foci, which Hall described to the council.

However, he also included some new details, including the fact that life science, advanced manufacturing and automotive companies are continuing to express interest in investing in Newton County.

He also said the chamber is going to be adding a retail component, which will have three branches. A commercial brokers roundtable will be formed to allow the chamber to discuss issues and trends with brokers, build relationships and help facilitate deals by letting brokers know what’s available. The chamber will also work with the Electric Cities of Georgia to help facilitate retail opportunities. Finally, the chamber will contact former commercial developers who are still active and help them market properties.

He also gave an update on the Senior Vice President of Economic Development position that the chamber is working to fill. He said he has three interviews this week with finalists.

He said the hiring process was delayed because the first round of interviews in the fall garnered no interest, because at the time the position was a combined chamber president and economic development position. The chamber then decided to split the position and hire Hall as president. Experienced economic development professionals have since been interested in the senior vice president position.

Mayor Kim Carter informed the council that city has not given the chamber any additional money this year, despite the fact increased funding was contracted last year. The additional money is tied to the senior vice president position and won’t be used that position is filled.

Police department celebrates 25 years of accreditation

Police Chief Stacey Cotton invited the public to celebrate the Covington Police Department and its 25 years of being internationally accredited. A celebration will take place Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Turner Lake Complex.

Cotton said there will be an official ceremony and speakers beginning at 6 p.m. In addition, officers will wear a ribbon celebrating the achievement.

The CPD is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and is one of only four police departments in the nation to have reached the 25-year plateau, Cotton said.

In other council news, the city council will have a called meeting Sept. 8 at its normally scheduled time in order to make up for the meeting that will not be held on Sept. 6, which is Labor Day.