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Important steps taken in 2015, promising future ahead
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For Newton County, 2015 felt more like the set-up to the movie everyone is really waiting to see.

In local government, economic development and even sports, there were plenty of actions in 2015 that point to a brighter 2016. Even the changeover of the Newton Medical Center to Piedmont Newton, while occurring in 2015, will really bring its biggest effect in 2016 and beyond.

The Newton County Board of Commissioners moved forward on several items that will shape the county’s future, but many are pending.

The way the county is run will be forever changed in 2016 with the approval of a new charter that has been in progress throughout 2015. For the first time in the county’s history an in-house legal team will be hired, moving away from four-decade-long institution of County Attorney Tommy Craig.

The county’s trash and water situation was also a big topic, with a private company looking to expand the county’s landfill being voted out, and the creation of the Bear Creek Water Supply project put on hold in 2015.

After a busy 2015 for the county’s economic development team, 2016 will see two new restaurants this printing on the Square, and a new commercial development project started on Alcovy Road.

While we look forward to the future, after all that was set in motion, here are some of the top stories in Newton County during 2015 and the dates they were published in The Covington News; for the top sports stories see our sports section.


  • Georgia Perimeter merges with Georgia State (Feb. 11)
  • Piedmont Healthcare System signs 40-year lease with Newton Medical Center (Jan. 18 announcement)
  • Ross, Jersey Mikes, Jimmy Johns, Square Bikes, Town Square Olive Oil open
  • Mannington Mills, Georgia Bioscience Training Center, Kitchen Sink Projects all launch
  • Changing face of Covington Square: Your Pie; Irish Bred; Square Olive Oil store; Square Bikes; Spires and Church Street Antiques close
  • Filming impact: Production Assistant program at Georgia Piedmont as a direct result; Coat of Many
  • Colors films in Newton County; Sleepy Hollow comes to Newton and Nina Dobrev ends run on The Vampire Diaries
  • Ralph Staffins named Covington-Newton County Chamber president; replaces Hunter Hall (Jan. 6


  • Greenhill P3 landfill deal dies (June 28)
  • Bear Creek Water Supply Reservoir project suspended (Oct. 15)
  • County to hire legal staff; Tommy Craig’s legal fees controversy ends (Nov. 22)
  • Citizens groups on purchasing policy, form of government, solid waste impact county government
  • Taxes increased during county’s budgeting (July 26)
  • Josh Mckelvey, Kenneth Morgan elected to Covington City Council (Nov. 8)
  • Doug White out as Social Circle City Manager (March 8)
  • County government form discussion begins (March 22)
  • Tom Garrett leaves as County manager (April 19)
  • John Douglas under fire for racist, sexist remarks (July 26)
  • Library needs new HVAC unit (Aug. 23); BOC approves to refinance Administrative Building , (Sept. 17)
  • Stoney Bowles hired as Fire Chief at the Covington Fire Department (Feb. 22) 


  • Woman steals from more than 100 people (Feb. 15)
  • Drug sting “cleaning up the streets – patrol unit lead to 19 arrests (Feb. 22)
  • Public safety officials trouble: Porterdale Police Officer Porterdale Trevor Jones County fired after testing positive for alleged steroid abuse (June 28); County Fire Chief Kevin O'Brien suspended pending investigation into alleged misuse of P-cards (Oct. 18); CPD Officer Alex Laudermilk charged with theft, false statements (Nov. 1)
  • RICO arrests & trials occur in Newton County (July 19)
  • Bobby Weaver’s remains found (Nov. 1)
  • Shooting at Magnet Package shop (June 7)
  • Mike Cash Office Products in Social Circle raided (June 14)
  • Threats against schools prompt investigation (Aug. 16)
  • Oxford student arrested after shooting threat (Oct. 18)
  • Marsha Johnson killed at Wal-Mart parking lot (Nov. 22)

Human Interest

  • Newton’s first county manager, John Middleton passes (Feb 22)
  • Business leader, Jeff Benton passes (Jan 14)
  • Church 213 catches fire (Feb. 16) Local 6-month-old Kaleb Waddleton has heart surgery (Dec. 20)
  • Pulitzer-prize winner, Oxford resident, Claude Sitton passes (March 15)
  • Dr. Robert Faulkner retires (April 5)
  • Miracle League field opens (April 26)
  • Arts Association proposes Porter Memorial for civic center (Aug. 2) 


  • Charlie Hebdo shooting in France (Jan. 7)
  • Black Lives Matter: Charleston (memorial service in Newton County), the Confederate flag in South Carolina (June 17)
  • Cannabis oil allowed to be brought into state (March 29)
  • Supreme Court rules on gay marriage (June 28)
  • Attacks in Paris (Nov. 13)
  • Syrian Civil War 
  • Pope visits the US, Cuba - the latter for the first time


(see Sports section for more details)

  • Hometown Hero
  • Coy
  • Carlvon Betts: Teammate … Always
  • NHS Regional Champs
  • Alcovy’s first win
  • Oxford Tennis
  • Social Circle softball
  • NHS Elile 8
  • Signees