The biggest story Wednesday afternoon seemed to be the fast-moving thunderstorms — until a little after 3 o’clock.
Covington police were called to an apparent bank robbery at Wells Fargo on Highway 142 North. The response was swift and strong. An incident report provided to The Covington News later in the week revealed more than 16 officers of varying ranks rushed to the scene.
That should be a comfort to the people of Newton County. Our police in the county seat took a very tense situation and figured out what was happening — the man thought to be robbing the bank was in fact a victim of a kidnapping — and resolved the case without further injury.
Three people, including a juvenile suspect, were arrested within minutes and incarcerated.
There are no “boring” days in law enforcements, as the pages of this newspaper attest. We’ve got stories of all matter of crimes and other incidents that have transpired in recent days, but when something like this arose, officers snapped into place and responded well.
We are fortunate to have the law enforcement presence in Newton County that we do. They keep us safe, day in and day out. Wednesday provided a good reminder of how appreciative we should be.
Work together on film policies
Friday’s meeting between city officials and local businesses was tense, but productive.
That’s exactly how it should be.
Mayor Ronnie Johnston and tourism leaders met with downtown business owners about the film industry, specifically about how the city balances the daily needs of small businesses with the special accommodations required by the moviemakers.
Movies can be a major disruption. Parking spaces are lost, and that’s a deterrent to business. When shoppers can’t get to the downtown businesses or restaurants they’ve chosen, they’re heading elsewhere.
By the same token, Covington is known for the movies and television programs made here. It’s a point of pride that “In the Heat of the Night,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “The Dukes of Hazzard” and other productions were done right here at home. We definitely see tourism as a result.
City officials must find a balance in making policies that meet everyone’s needs. It’s clear there is still work to be done, but we’re a lot closer than some places.
Monroe, for example, recently experienced an outcry from its downtown businesses when Broad Street was shut down for production of a relatively low-budget film and many merchants saw no compensation.
Damage to the lawn of the courthouse square was a cost to be borne by the county.
We can’t have that in Covington, so we hope more meetings like the one Friday will lead to concrete steps that make this process better for everyone.
Our Thoughts is the opinion of The Covington News’ editorial board, which includes Editor and Publisher David Clemons and Managing Editor Jackie Gutknecht.