Newton County had a lot of positive news to celebrate over the weekend.
We celebrated the achievement of local resident Kelly Breedlove, who we hope has made the transition to a burgeoning artist. His wax and photo creations, a form of encaustic art, are a welcome addition to our local scene, and we wish all the best moving forward.
On the other end of spectrum, longtime forester Beryl Budd called it quits after a career spent helping residents and local governments make the world a greener place. Budd started out in rural forestry, helping residents care for the forests on their land, before switching to urban forestry, where he worked with cities to protect and restore the trees that are so vital to our world.
Budd will be missed, but, as he cautioned at this past weekend's retirement ceremony, he plans to stick around and continue to be involved.
Switching to local organizations, Newton Medical Center recently participated in a waste elimination and efficiency program, which led to $2.1 million in savings. Through a combination of buying generic drugs, negotiating better deals for medical products and eliminating wasteful practices in the hospital, officials were able to save a lot of more, nearly double what they expected.
Though the savings don't solve the hospital's financial woes - as it's losing money every month - they're hopefully a step in the right direction. We have one of the few remaining independent hospitals in Georgia, overseen by a public hospital authority, and we'd hate to see that change if the only reason is a lack of money.
Finally, the Covington Police Department gave us a look at how they spend the money in their Police Who Care fund, which receives the proceeds from the Fuzz Run and other fundraisers. The money is used to support local organizations and the families of officers, including officers who have lost a child or officers who died in the line of duty.
Now the fund has $111,484, and we're looking forward to seeing that money in action making our community a better place.