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NEWCOMER’S 2017-2018


Covington Women’s Health Specialists

Welcomes Meridith Johnson Farrow, MD, FACOG Dr. Farrow was awarded her degree in Biology from Emory University before earning her medical degree at Mercer University School of Medicine, graduating in the top 5% of her medical school class. She selected the world-renowned University of Florida Health Science Center for her residency training. She graduated as an Obstetrician-Gynecologist in 2004 and was immediately offered a teaching position at the University of Florida. She is board certified. She was an Assistant Professor at the University Of Florida for 11 years, where she contributed to the education and training of countless young physicians. For most of the same time, she also served as the Medical Director of the Beaches Women’s Health Specialists. In 2014, she joined North Florida OB GYN and enjoyed her practice in Jacksonville until the opportunity to return home to Georgia presented itself. Dr. Farrow will return to her hometown and join the Covington Women’s Health Specialists Team! She is excited to practice at Piedmont Newton Hospital, where her family has a tradition of service and volunteering. She has special interests in diagnosing female cancers, performing minimally invasive surgeries, and helping with sexual problems. Dr. Farrow is also active medical aid work in Haiti. Joining Dr. Farrow in her move back home are her husband who was able to transfer to the area and their three children. She is excited to share her hometown with her family.

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Newcomers Guide 2017

table of contents

6 7 8


Word from the General Manager

history 7

Then & Now


Snapshot of Newton

Business Film industry in the Hollywood 10 of the South spotlight studio breaks 16 A word from the 12 New Chamber of Commerce ground Pharmaceutical company Made in Newton 18 starting manufacturing 17


Since 1893

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Celebrating Over 100 Years of Service to the Community We Call Home

22 32 36 42

Arts in Newton 26 Area clubs


Rise of Main Street

Sports in Newton Outdoors natural 36 Newton’s beauty

Newton Recreation

41 Commission

56 Farm to Table

Government & Schools Board of Commissioners

42 How to vote


44 State legislators

44 Officers

45 Covington City Council


City 46 Oxford Council


City 48 Newborn Council


of 49 Board Education

50 School System

from the 52 Letter Superintendent



Porterdale City Council Mansfield City Council Social Circle City Council Newton County Convenience Centers

Diseases of the Skin, Hair & Nails Skin Care for the Entire Family Skin Cancer Diagnosis & Surgery Botox ~ Chemical Peels ~ Leg Vein Treatment

1ST ROW; LEFT TO RIGHT: Sherry McGee, Medical Assistant; Christy Baugh, Medical Assistant; Tammy Speer, Medical Assistant;

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2ND ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Eva Simon, Medical Assistant, Rita Collantes, Medical Assistant; Ashley Heath, Physician

Assistant; Judy Frazier, Medical Secretary; Joe Overton, Jr., (M.D., Emory Graduate); Shiara Vassian, Physician Assistant & Holly Rohletter, Medical Secretary.

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GUIDE 2017-2018

Whether you are new to our community or have lived here all your life, welcome. This guide will introduce you to new places, remind you of good things, and highlight why Newton County is a wonderful place to call home. We have six distinct municipalities and multiple distinct unincorporated areas of the county, each with their own “personality.” We have history and film tourism sites in each town and throughout the county. We have manufacturing, bio-tech, research, healthcare, retail and service industries. We have a growing arts community that includes fine arts, dance and music programs, accessible to all, through a variety of organizations, and at many different locations. We have youth and adult recreational sports to participate in as well as championship recreation, high school and college teams to watch. We have trails, bike rides and kayaking. We have educational programs ranging from GED to Masters level opportunities. We have agricultural tourism for those that want to “pick your own” as well as commodity farms of beef, hay and timber. We have a regional airport, six interstate exits, and four rivers. We have town life and rural life. Truly, Newton County has a little bit of everything. But what we have the most of is community. That

hosanna fletcher General Manager Jackie Gutknecht Editor Amanda Ellington Circulation Supervisor Editorial Staff Gabriel Stovall Sports Editor Darryl Welch Community Reporter Advertising Debbie Burgamy Advertising Director Cynthia Blackshear-Warren Sales Director Annette Benton Sales Representative Susan Grajko Sales Representative Aimee Gethers Sales Representative CIRCULATION Lee Ann Avery Erica Hardeman webmaster brian worton

litter control program costs you.

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sense of small town. That sense that anywhere you go, you will see someone you know, even in a crowd. That sense of being involved and included. That sense of being part of something greater. That sense of belonging. Newton County provides a community of friendship, hospitality and conviviality that is not easily come by in today’s world of social media and online everything. And you notice it the first time you drive into town, on your lunch break, every Sunday after church, and every Friday night. Our staff at The Covington News are proud to be part of the Newton County history, having published our community newspaper since 1865. We are proud to serve our community, covering the wide range of things that we believe truly make Newton County unique. We look forward to celebrating our community with you as you read through these pages and further as you read The Covington News, printed each Sunday or online each day at Welcome. Hosanna Fletcher General Manager The Covington News

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Then & Now Newton’s rich history shapes its future the covington News

Newton County’s proximity to Atlanta provides it with some of its greatest opportunities to become a business and quality of life destination for the state. But to get to that point, however, the county experienced a vibrant rural life and rich history since being created in 1821. A number of historic sites speckle the landscape of Newton County. The Hightower Trail at the northeast corner of Gum Creek and Hightower Trail in Oxford brought Native Americans from Augusta toward the Etowah River into Alabama. Factory Shoals (located at 450 Newton Factory Bridge Road, Covington) is a site dating back to 1820 and indicative of advanced water-power of early industrialization. The First United Methodist Church of Covington (located near the Covington Square, 1113 Conyers Street SW, Covington) was built in 1854. The church’s pews were removed and the building was used as an infirmary during the Civil War. The Washington Street School (located at 4138 School Street, Covington) was founded in 1889 as Newton County’s African-American School. The Newton County Jail (located at 1177 Hunter Street, Covington) was designed to be the most secure and best jail in the state and was in use from 1901-1983. The Newton County 4-H Program (located at the intersection of Hwy. 36 and Hwy 162 in Covington) commemorates the Newton County Boys Corn Club as well as national 4-H program from 1904, and reflects the booming farming industry of Newton County’s history. A manufacturing boom in the 60s and 70s brought a number of big-time industries to the county, including Hercules (now Fibervisions), Mobil Chemical Company (an ancestor of Pactiv) and Bard Urological Division, now C.R. Bard. In the 1980s and 1990s, General Mills and SKC continued the trend and located new plants in Covington. (Find out more about our industry on page 12) During the early 2000s, Newton County was one of the 10 fastest growing counties (by percentage population growth) in the entire United States. The dairy farms and forests of western Newton County were replaced with sprawling subdivisions as the population swelled. Through significant community effort, much of the county’s rural nature, including its greenspace, forests and farms have been maintained. (Find out more about our

recreational sites on page 36) Our future path has been set in recent years with the addition of Shire’s production plant (formerly Baxter and Baxalta) a reinvigorated downtown and a recent announcement of a massive film, television, music and video gaming production facility. The arts are alive in Newton County with a growing music scene, a strong visual arts community, and performance arts that rival that of large metropolitan cities. (Find out more about our arts on page 22) Despite all the talk about growth and future opportunities, if you were to ask many residents where the county’s heart lies, they’d point you to the Historic Covington Square. The Square remains the town’s calling card, accompanied by its iconic Historic Courthouse, which continues to be a prominent fixture in TV shows and movies looking to capture the essence of small town America. This town square serves as a true community gathering spot, whether its weekday lunch concerts, Saturday car or tractor shows or massive festivals, or an uptick in nightlife at restaurants and music venues. The charm of the county’s smaller cities cannot be forgotten. Porterdale is building on its history, including historic Cedar Shoals (located at 16 Main St.) which was a prosperous industrial site dating back to 1821, and using its location off the recreational Yellow River to reestablish its identity five decades after the death of its textile mill. Oxford, the calm city founded by the Methodist Church, remains quaint and quiet, while Oxford College, a two-year college partner of Emory University, continues to grow quietly in size and stature. Old Church was the first chapel of Emory University (located near Oxford College of Emory University, 1011 Wesley St.) and the first gravesites in Oxford Historical Cemetery (located off Emory Street and Collingsworth Street) date back to 1839. Kitty’s Cottage (located on Wesley Street behind Old Church) is named after Miss Kitty, an enslaved woman later free occupied the quarters from the 1840s-1850s. Newborn and Mansfield remain the ideal of the American small town – a couple hundred residents mixed in with a few businesses with no need for stoplights. (Find out more about our local government on page 43) There is lots of history and character in Newton County… and plenty of real characters. Our history is rich and our future is bright.

Club of Covington

The Rotary Club of Covington serves Newton County through its Empty Stocking, Top 10 students and Camp Sunshine projects, along with nationwide and international contributions. The club, formed in 1939, meets for lunch, an informative program and networking every Tuesday at Noon at the Covington First United Methodist Church. or /rotary-club-ofcovington-georgia or @rotarycovington for more information.


Newcomers Guide 2017

a snapshot of

Newton County Population • Population estimates 102,645 • Median Age 35.8 • Under 18-years-old (July 1, 2014) 27.1% • Over 65-years-old (July 1, 2014) 11.9% • Females 52.5% • Male 47.5% • Black 43% • White 41.7% • Hispanic or Latino 4.9% • Asian 1% • American Indian 0.4% Population characteristics • Veterans 7,819 • Foreign born 5,935 • Not a U.S. citizen 2,713

Housing • Housing units 38,364 Educational level • High school diploma 84.3% • Bachelor’s degree or higher 20.2% Income and poverty • Median household income $49,179 • Individuals below poverty level 17.1% *Information from the United States Census Bureau’s 20112015 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates

The Covington News

Downtown Covington hosts several events throughout the year - such as the Stars and Stripes Fest event on the Fourth of July - to bring the community together. Events throughout the community, include Christmas on the Square, Concerts on the Square and more.



We’re proud to be your local school system and we welcome you to Newton County.

Newton County School System 2109 Newton Drive NE • Covington 770-787-1330

Our mission is to provide educational excellence for all students!


Newcomers Guide 2017


Newton in the spotlight State’s ‘Year of Film’ highlights county’s growing film industry Jackie Gutknecht

With the launch of the “Georgia Travel Guide” at the start of 2017, Newton County has been put on the map as the place to be for film in the state. Ian Somerhalder, one of the leading men of “The Vampire Diaries” graced the cover of the travel guide, inside the Mystic Grill in Covington. Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce Director of Tourism and Marketing Jenny McDonald sees the travel guide cover as a year of free PR for the City of Covington as a film location for both tourists and film scouts. “Because Covington is on the cover, the travel directories are in every visitors center across the State of Georgia, so people that normally would be looking for Atlanta or the mountains or the coast may be more prompted to say ‘Oh, let me read about Covington,’” she said. McDonald said the travel guide will help Newton County build credibility with location scouts, which will help it continue to grow its brand of “Hollywood of the South.”

Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce

The Vampire Diaries” highlights downtown Covington as Mystic Falls, Virginia.

She said the fact that “The Vampire Diaries” filmed in the area for eight consecutive years builds Newton County’s film-friendly reputation. McDonald hopes the county can get another

popular television series to continue to grow the film tourism base locally. “I think in the last eight years, the byproduct of film, which is film tourism, especially with ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ that the economic impact numbers when we look at that for the year, of what tourists spend in the county, I think when I look at those numbers that I can attribute 80 percent to the show being filmed here,” she said. While “The Vampire Diaries” has been a recent hit, Newton County has been the backdrop of several popular television series and big-screen movies (See a full listing of film and television credits on page 10). “I call it ‘lightning in a bottle,’” she said. “We got really lucky of having two extremely popular TV shows (‘The Vampire Diaries’ and ‘In the Heat of the Night’).” For more information about the Hollywood of the South, visit or stop by the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce.



































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Television and film credits for Newton County 2016: Life of the Party 2016: The Case for Christ 2016: Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2016: Coat of Many Colors: Circle of Love 2016: Almost Christmas 2015-Present: Sleepy Hollow 2015: Miracles from Heaven 2015: Coat of Many Colors 2015: Operator 2015: Survivors Remorse 2015: Southern Fried Homicide 2014: The Fifth Wave 2014: Vacation 2014-Present: The Originals 2014: Red Band Society 2014: Bessie 2014: Selma 2014: Taken 3 2014: Barely Lethal 2014: Sabotage 2014: Resurrection 2014: Cemetery Tales: Tales from Morningview Cemetery 2012: Prisoners 2012: I’ll be Homeless for Christmas 2012: Carl 2011: American Reunion 2011: Flight 2011: Jayne Mansfield’s Car 2010-2011: Odd Life of Timothy Green 2010: Footloose 2009: Fly By 2009: Get Low 2009: Halloween II 2009-2017: The Vampire Diaries 2008: Dangerous Calling 2008 : The Family that Preys 2005: Boxed in 2005: False River 2005: Madea’s Family Reunion 2005: Three Wishes 2003: Bobby Jones: A Stroke of Genius 2002: Autorequiem 2002: Sweet Home Alabama 2002: The Fighting Temptations 2002: TV Road Trip 2001: Boycott 2001: The Accountant 2000: Remember the Titans

2000: Run Bonnie Run 1999: Price of a Broken Heart 1999: Wayward Son 1997: Black Dog 1997: Flash 1997: Miss Evers’ Boys 1996-1997: Savannah 1996: Fled 1988-1994: In the Heat of the Night 1994: Past the Bleachers 1993: Quest for Justice: The Hazel Brannon Smith Story 1993: The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All 1993: Door to Door 1993: A Simple Twist of Fate 1992: Consenting Adults 1992: Kalifornia 1992: For Love and Glory 1991: Stay the Night 1991: Grass Roots 1991: My Cousin Vinny 1991-1992: I’ll Fly Away 1991: Carolina Skeletons 1991: White Lie 1990 : Sudie and Simpson 1988: A Father’s Homecoming 1986: Jason Lives: Friday the 13th VI 1986: Resting Place 1981: Coward of the County 1980: Cannonball Run 1980: Little Darlings 1979: The prizefighter 1978: Dukes of Hazzard (first 5 episodes) 1975: Scalpel (originally titled False Face) 1954: A Man Called Peter

Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce

“In The Heat of the Night” filmed in Newton County for six years.

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Newcomers Guide 2017

Photos courtesy Covington/Newton County Economic Development

The first two sound stages are expected to be operational by the beginning of 2018.

Lights, camera, action! Newton County to break ground on movie studio Jackie Gutknecht

The spotlight is on the City of Covington to widen its reputation as the “Hollywood of the South” with the addition of a large-scale movie studio within the city limits. Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston and Vice President of Economic Development for Newton County David Bernd are excited about the opportunities breaking ground in the community. Bernd said the movie studio project has been delayed because of permits and weather delays. The groundbreaking, weather permitting, is expected in August 2017. Once ground has been broken, the first two sound stages are expected to be built and operational by the beginning of 2018 and the South Campus should be completed by the end of 2018. The Central Campus, which includes a cityscape, before the end of Summer 2017. Included in the South Campus will be a regional headquarters for Herc Rentals, which can provide rental equip-

ment, such as generators, platforms and scissor lifts, needed for productions at the studio. Depending on the management company that comes into place, the Class-A office space currently located on the South Campus might be moved to the Covington Town Center (CTC) project to make room for additional sound stage space, Bernd said. Workforce needed “If we do not address our workforce issue, we’re going to fail,” Bernd said. He said within Walton and Newton County, as of July 2017, there are 800 available jobs that are not filled. Those 800 jobs do not take into account the possible 4,000+ jobs expected to come with the addition of the movie studio and CTC projects. A job fair, sponsored by U.S. Congressman Jody Hice, has been scheduled for Sept. 21, 2017 for local residents at Georgia Piedmont Technical

Vice President of Economic Development for Newton County David Bernd and Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston visit Los Angeles movie studios.

Newcomers Guide 2017


College to help fill the upcoming positions. Bernd said the average salary for jobs connected to the movie studio is around $82,000. Programs have been put into place to help build a qualified work force locally, through programs such as the Logistics Education And Pathways (LEAP) program, which was created out of a partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology, Newton County and the City of Covington Newton County Economic Development, Newton County Schools and Covington Newton County Chamber of Commerce. Johnston, who has a goal of 0 percent unemployment, said the city itself is pretty competitive, but without the workforce it is losing prospective businesses. The challenge is making the community realize the projects and opportunities are real. Locally, there are 17,000 people, or 16 percent of the population, between the ages of 16 and 65, which do not have a high school diploma or GED. Community opportunity Bernd said it is important for the community to educate itself on the opportunities that are on the way. “If you have a job and you’re happy, that’s Continued on page 14

The Central Campus will include a cityscape and is expected to be completed by the end of Summer 2017.

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Newcomers Guide 2017

Continued from page 13

fine, but if you don’t have a job or you want to change careers and you understand what’s coming in, there’s many different assets,” he said. He said there will be opportunities for people in nearly every profession. “When you’re talking about the caveat for the community, the contract for one of the shoots that we’re looking at this summer was going to be a Navy Seal movie, the catering contract just for that movie was a quarter million dollars for a couple weeks of work,” he said. “Stay tuned, it’s going to be a wild ride,” he said. This article was written and published in July 2017. All of the conversations quoted in this article were held July 14, 2017. As of that date, the management company or new name of the movie studio had not been announced. Make sure to visit for the most up to date information on this project.

Covington/Newton County Economic Development

The South Campus will be made up of sound stages and a regional headquarters of Herc Rentals (at right).

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A word from: Ralph Staffins Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce Welcome! On behalf of Newton County and the City of Covington, I would like to extend a heart-felt welcome to you as you settle in our exciting area of Georgia. We offer the small-town atmosphere with the benefit of large-town amenities. We feel that Newton County possesses a dynamic business environment while consistently maintaining its friendly and unique small-town character. Whether you are embarking on a new business or new life adventure we are truly excited that you have chosen Newton County as your home. We are constantly striving to create quality jobs in industrial, retail and the film industries. Newton County prides itself in being home to some of the state’s largest industries including: Shire, a pharmaceutical company, General Mills, Bard Medical Division, Bridgestone name just a few. Another industry that continues to grow in our community is the film industry, and the reason Covington is known as the “Hollywood of the South.”™ Newton County is proud to boast of being home to just under 100 movies or films. Join with us as we celebrate the “Year of Film” in Georgia. As the Chamber President I welcome you to our county – you won’t be a newcomer for long… you’ll soon become a neighbor

and friend. So, shop our stores, dine in our restaurants, take a walk on one of our trails, play in the parks, visit downtown; we’re here for you. Whether you are here for business, vacation, sight-seeing or have lived here for years, we welcome you and hope your find your stay here a pleasant one. Ralph Staffins President, Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce

(Newton County delivery only) The Covington News

The Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce is located at 2102 Clark St., in Covington.

Newcomers Guide 2017


Made in Newton: Manufacturing provides opportunities The Covington News

Newton County continues to grow, attracting retail shops and industrial and manufacturing plants. The products made here range from the fibers used to make disposable diapers to dry cereals to golf balls. Pactiv Corporation, Covington, was opened in 1984 and employees almost 500 people. The company makes packaging for food service industries, and grocery and convenience stores. Bard Urological Division, Covington, was established in 1967 and employs more than 500 people. The company manufactures health care products for urological procedures such as catheters, trays and other tools. Specialty Yarn and Converting in Porterdale has been in operation since 1917. Recently purchased by Continental tires, it engineers textiles such as rubber thread and yarns. The plant employs more than 200 people. Oldcastle Glass, Covington,

opened in 1981 and employs more than 100 people. The plant creates custom-engineered curtain and window walls, architectural windows, storefront systems, doors, skylights and architectural glass. Guardian Automotive, Covington, was opened in 1969 and is responsible for creating decorative automotive trims and insulated glass. It employs 310 people. FiberVisions, Covington, employs 225 people and opened in 1967. The plant makes the fibers, called polypropylene staple fibers, that go in to the making of disposable mops and dust cloths, disposable diapers and feminine products. General Mills is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The Newton County plant makes dry cereal and employs 400 people. It opened here in 1989. International Storage Systems, Covington, makes metal shelving and storage products at its Covington plant. Opened in 1986, it employs 150 people. SKC, Inc., Covington, makes

polymer and polyester film used in packaging, industrial, imaging, electrical, bio-compostable and solar applications. Production began in the spring of 1999, using cutting edge robotics and technology designed and engineered to transition into the 21st Century. The Newton County plant employs 331 people. Clarion Metals Corporation, Covington, is a full-service metal stamping plant with tool and die, engineering, subassembly and special packaging capabilities. Opened in 1989, it employs 180 people. Bridgestone Sports, Covington, makes golf balls and assembles golf clubs at its Newton County plant. The plant opened in 1989 and employs 172 people. Beaver Manufacturing, Mansfield, opened in 1971 and makes yarns used to reinforce hoses. The company employs 140 people. VERESCENCE, based in France, has a branch plant in Newton County where they make and decorate luxury glass bottles for cosmetics and perfumes. The company

opened its Covington branch in 1996 and employs 290 people. Nisshinbo Automotive Manufacturing, Inc., Covington, is a state-of-the-art facility that opened in 1997. The 325 employees make molded disc pads for braking systems. West Rock, in Covington opened in 1972 and employs 110 people. The company makes corrugated and fiber boxes Michelin Tread Technologies, Covington, was upgraded to allow burn off of VOCs before being released into the air. The plant, which opened in 1999, manufactures tires. Leftover rubber tread is recycled. Contract Packaging, part of Kelly Products, manufactures and packages for chemical companies by formulating small package production and distribution of insecticides, pool and spa chemicals and wildlife scents and attractants. Shire, in Social Circle, is a pharmaceutical company focusing on rare diseases. Locally, a manufacturing plant is in the works.


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Newcomers Guide 2017

Photos courtesy of Shire

Two Shire manufacturing buildings are the location where the fractionation process starts (left) and where albumin will be produced (right). The building that will produce the product for primary immune deficient patients is not pictured.

From start to finish

Covington pharmaceutical company starting manufacturing Jackie Gutknecht

CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD A parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta Providing sanctuary, refuge, and renewal for ALL and reaching out in love to our neighbors.


SUNDAYS: 8:00 AM - Holy Eucharist (Mass), Rite One (traditional language; no music) 9:30 AM - Adult & Children’s formation groups (Aug-May) 10:30 AM - Holy Eucharist, Rite Two (modern language; hymns, choir & guest musicians) “Coff ffee f Fellowship,” a light reception to greet friends new and old, follows each service. WEDNESDAYS: 11:00 AM - Holy Eucharist in the chapel Additional services for feast days, etc. are highlighted in the weekly e-news and our social media outlets. 4140 Clark Street, SW, Covington, GA 30014 • 770-786-3278 • • Twitter: @CGSCov • •


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Newcomers Guide 2017

Massimiliano Barberis, interim site lead for the Georgia site/ manufacturing facility, said the Covington pharmaceutical plant is in its most critical point for the life of the plant. The plant is preparing to begin Conformance Runs, which is where it will run the full manufacturing process from start to finish using real materials and producing real product. Shire will use the data gathered during the production of these conformance lots as part of its eventual submission to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and, if successful, will receive its license in the first half of 2018. Once the license is obtained, commercial production can begin and product can be sold in the U.S. He said failing the FDA certification is not an option because of the millions of dollars that would be lost for the company. “We remain on schedule to get approval and begin commercial production in 2018,” Gabe Khouli, internal communication specialist for Shire, said. Continued on page 20

Shown is several precipitation vessels in the Shire Fractionation manufacturing building. This is one of the initial separation steps in the process to separate proteins from plasma.

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Newcomers Guide 2017

The Commons building holds the food service and dining areas as well as classroom-style training rooms for Shire employees.

Continued from page 19

Khouli said Shire  has hired more than 800 full-time employees in Georgia to date, including the manufacturing facility and three BioLife plasma collection centers in Douglasville, Snellville and Warner Robins. It employs

approximately 700 full-time Shire employees at the Georgia facility in addition to approximately 200 contractors who remain with the project. The Georgia location, an investment of more than $1 billion that covers more than 1 million square feet, increases Shire’s capacity for

Immunology products. It has an Immunoglobulin product to treat primary immunodeficiency and an Albumin product for use in critical care and trauma situations, Khouli said. Construction began in 2012 and was completed in 2016. It is expected to ramp up to full produc-

tion in the first few years once it receives the FDA licensing, which is expected in 2018. Born in Northern Italy, Barberis started with Shire in 2011 to help with the Italian location. He has since been brought to Georgia to help with the certification of the Georgia location.

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Newcomers Guide 2017

Photos courtesy Arts Association in Newton County

The Arts Association in Newton County’s Summer Dance Camp is the one-stop-shop for all things dance packed into one week.


The Covington News

An active arts community enriches life in Newton County. Dance, music, theater and galleries are all part the cultural life of the area. Numerous art-related activities and camps are offered for children throughout the year, but especially during the summer months. Arts Association in Newton County, (1106 Washington St., Covington; 770-786-8188) A non-profit organization, the Newton County Arts

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Newcomers Guide 2017

Association offers something for everyone. The Arts Association also maintains a list of private music teachers and studios.

Covington’s Square; and an annual concert for Oxford College’s “Oxford Day.” The band is made up of volunteers.

Covington Regional Ballet Founded in 2001, the Covington Regional Ballet (CRB) presents high quality dance programming that provide local dancers with pre-professional instruction and performance opportunities. Twice a year, the ballet offers spectacular productions—The Nutcracker and a contemporary piece in the fall, with another production in the spring. The CRB strives to entertain, educate and inspire audiences of all ages, engaging the community in a celebration of the arts through a wide-variety of dance programming.

Oxford Singing Children, Little Singers & Youth Singers Oxford Little Singers is made up of children in first through third grades. Students in this choir learn introductory vocal and musicianship skills performing elementary choral works and musical theatre repertoire. Students in fourth through seventh grade audition for the Oxford Singing Children’s Choir, which provides them with basic music skills and performance experience, while building friendships and learning the benefit of teamwork. Students in eighth through 12th grade can audition for the Oxford Youth Singers, which enhances musical skills and offers experience in musical theater and choral performance. The Oxford Singing Children and Oxford Youth Singers perform Christmas in Covington in December, and collaborate to

Newton County Community Band Since 1993, the Newton County Community Band has presented community performances, including Christmas and spring concerts, a concert with the 8th graders of Newton County School System; a Fourth of July concert at

present a musical in the spring. Auditions for new members are in August of each year. Art-themed Summer Camp Sponsored by Newton Federal Bank, the Newton County Arts Association offers Creative Kids Camp during the summer on the campus of Oxford College off of Emory Street. Camp specializes in music, musical theater, dance and theater, all age-appropriate. Tuition is charged and scholarships are available through the Arts Association office at 770-786-8188 or acoggin@newtoncountyarts. org. True Colours Youth Art Exhibit Each March, the artistic talents of local art students are celebrated and exhibited in the community. Art teachers from the Newton County School District select up to 10 pieces of artwork created by their students for display. Youth Strings & Orchestra One of the Arts Association’s newest programs, the New County Youth Strings specializes in us-


ing the Suzuki method of teaching, Private 30-, 45- or 60-minutes lessons in violin, viola and cello begin at age 4. Group lessons, 30 and 45-minutes long, begin in the spring semester. Studio recitals are held once a semester, usually in November and March. Orchestra rehearsals are held once a week. Heartscapes Art Gallery, (1132 Monticello St. SW, Covington, GA 30014; 770-385-5834) Heartscapes Studio and Gallery is owned by Nick and Kathy Cuiffi. Kathy continues to share her talents with the community and offers art classes at the studio. The gallery sells oil paints, mediums, canvas, and brushes. Whether you need a gift, mental/art therapy, a special piece of artwork to add that finishing touch to a newly decorated room, a frame for your child’s last art project, or just some me time, come join in the fun and let Kathy and Nick help you discover talents you never knew you had. Southern Heartland Arts, (1132 Continued on page 24

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Newcomers Guide 2017

Continued from page 23

Monticello St. SW, Covington, GA 30014; 770-788-8799) Southern Heartland Arts, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization supporting the visual arts in Newton County. Incorporated in 1988, SHA brought together Newton County artists, along with artists from Rockdale, Newton and Henry Counties and is one of the oldest visual art guilds east of Metro Atlanta. Membership dues, the Corporate Sponsorships of United Bank and ACS and multiple corporate and individual donations have helped SHA, Inc. to fulfill its mission to bring visual art to Newton County. Newborn’s bluegrass pickin’ and down home playin’ On the second Saturday night of warm weather months, the Newborn Pickers Circle gathers for an evening of bluegrass pickin’ at Newborn’s Town Park near City Hall, 4221 Highway 142. Presented by Rick Holder, The Front Porch acoustic series is held on the third Sunday of each month at the historic Old Schoolhouse, 4224 Highway 142, Newborn. The music, beginning at 6 p.m., might be Bluegrass, might be Irish or might be country. Concerts include local musicians, and have been branching out to include players from around the state. Oxford College at Emory University, (Oxford; 770-7848389) The Artistic/Lyceum Events series at Oxford College brings experts and performers to campus for lectures, concerts and theatri-

The Arts Association in Newton County hosts Summer Evening Concert Series on the Covington Square such as this show by The Tams.

cal presentations. All events are free, unless otherwise noted, and open to the public, though seating is limited. Porterdale’s Tuba Christmas concert It’s a holiday celebration featuring tuba players and their festively decorated instruments—tinsel, bows, flashing lights—and it happens every year in Porterdale, and more than 200 cities nationally and internationally. Open to all levels of players, musicians usually register at city hall on the day of the concert. That’s followed by an hour-long rehearsal, and then it’s a free public performance at the History Gym Amphitheater on Main Street.

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The Social Circle Theater, (Main Theater, 650 Ashley Drive; Theater Annex, 169 Thurman Baccus Rd.; 770-464-2269) Committed to providing the facilities and human resources for quality, affordable family entertainment, the Social Circle Theater is a non-profit organization founded in 2000. Founders Bob and Mabel Standridge believed the theater could preserve the town’s history and unify the community through storytelling and folklore. The theater has entertained and shared the history of Social Circle ever since. Rising Stars The youngest troupe, ranging in ages from four years to fifth

grade, meets weekly throughout the school year and focuses on singing, dancing and acting skills. Typically, the Rising Stars appear twice per season, one around Christmas and one in the spring. The Well Diggers A performance-based troupe for the young adults of Social Circle Theater, the Well Diggers meet weekly throughout the school year to focus on dancing, singing and acting skills. The Well Diggers have won awards at the MTI Junior Theater Festival and Access Broadway. They typically perform in two productions a year in the theater.  They take these shows to schools as field trips, to the local nursing homes and hospitals.

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Newcomers Guide 2017

Area clubs offer community, fellowship American Legion Post 32 Second Thursdays, 3132 Legion Drive, Covington If you are a war veteran living in Newton County and you need some assistance, contact American Legion Post 32 Benevolent Protective Order of Elks Lodge 1806 7:30 p.m. first and third Tuesdays, 135 Crowell Road, Covington

Golden Fleece Masonic Lodge No. 6 Dinner 6:30 p.m., meeting 7:30 p.m., second and fourth Tuesdays, except second Tuesday only in December, 1104 Clark St. SW, Covington Oxford Lions Club Noon on first Thursdays, 7 p.m. on third Thursdays, Allen Memorial United Methodist Church, Oxford

Covington Garden Club 10 a.m. on first Wednesdays, meet at various homes of members

Pilot Club of Covington 7 p.m. on most first Thursdays, sometimes third Thursdays, First Presbyterian Church of Covington

Covington Kiwanis Club 12:30 p.m. Thursday for lunch, Covington First United Methodist Church

Rotary Club of Covington Noon Tuesday for lunch, Covington First United Methodist Church

Covington Lions Club 7:30 p.m. second and fourth Thursdays, 3120 Conyers St., Covington

Satsuki Garden Club 10:30 a.m. second Tuesdays, Newton County Public Library

Covington Women’s Club 9:30 a.m. second Tuesdays, Historic Women’s Club building on College Street

Southern Heartland Women’s Club 4 p.m. on first Sundays, Southern Heartland Art Gallery on the Covington Square



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The Covington Lions Club celebrates 100 years.

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Newcomers Guide 2017

The rise of

Main Street Areas provide growth, revitalize downtowns The covington News

The Main Street movement grew out of the recognition that a community is only as strong as its core. In an era when many people had given up hope about the commercial and cultural viability of downtown and when suburbs, shopping malls and big-box retailers were dominating the American landscape, this seemed like an unlikely proposition. But, the practical framework outlined by the Main Street Approach, as well as the passion of professionals and volunteers who make up the Main Street network, helped pave the way for the renaissance of healthy, vibrant downtowns that we’re experiencing today. Main Street USA Community is shaped by its cultural and commercial center. The Main Street movement grew out of a call from people who began to miss a town center, who wanted more than shopping malls and big-box stores. Main Street is about creating a place in town where people gather on a summer’s evening to listen to music or bring their children for the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree.

Main Street Covington In Covington, the downtown historic district has been brought back to life. Restaurants and boutiques are joining professional services in storefronts around and just off the square. For more information on Covington Main Street, contact Main Street Director Lauren Singleton at 770-385-2077 or lsingleton@newtonchamber. com.

Covington Main Street

Downtown Covington is filled with businesses, including the Scoops ice cream shop.

Main Street Porterdale An award-winning Main Street Program was launched by the mill village to revive the downtown business area. Brick buildings have been refurbished and restaurants, stores and studios have opened. For more information on Porterdale Main Street, contact Main Street Director Josephine Kelly at msporterdale@cityofporterdale. com or 770-786-2217. Main Street Social Circle Working hard to continue to make “Georgia’s Greatest Little Town” a historic and economic hub, Social Circle Main Street has revitalized downtown and offer events throughout the year. For more information about Social Circle Main Street, contact Downtown Director Velinda Hardy at 770-464-1866 or vhardy@

City of Porterdale

Porterdale celebrates 100 years in 2017.

Discover everything Downtown Covington has to offer! With annual events and great shopping and dining options, there’s something for everyone. To stay up to date on what’s going on in Downtown Covington, subscribe to our weekly e-Newsletter by texting ILOVECOVGA to 22828.



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ne home furnishings.

We have over 30,000 square feet of furniture on display since restoring several large historic buildings across the street from our main store. Come see us at 1145 Clark Street near the Newton County Courthouse. At Ramsey’s, your account is still a name and not a number. We offer a personal customer service experience when you are shopping for your home furnishing needs. Our everyday low prices and next day delivery help save you time and money. Ramsey Furniture Company is a family owned and operated business. We look forward to serving you with quality furniture at savings like the Ramsey family has been famous for since 1919. Sincerely, y,

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Hours: Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri., Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. / Wed. 9 a.m.-12 noon / Closed Sunday

1145 Clark Street • Covington (Located near the Newton Co. Courthouse)

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Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time.

If making a positive impact in the lives of children and members of your community is something you have a calling for, we’d love to meet you.

Anthony Banks

Isaiah Miller led a high-flying, nationally ranked Newton Rams basketball team in the 2016-17 season. Miller will attend UNC-Greensboro as a freshman this year.

Sports in newton Gabriel Stovall

The Kiwanis Club of Covington has been serving our community since 1927. We meet every Thursday at 12:30pm in the Fellowship Hall of the Covington First United Methodist Church. Kiwanis-Club-of-Covington-Georgia Serving the Children of the World

Kiwanis Club of Covington


on’t let the size fool you. With just a little over 105,000 residents, Newton County still boasts its fair share of big time athletics and big time athletes. Do names like Dale Carter or Jake Reed ring a bell? Both former NFL standouts originated from right here in Newton County. Carter starred for the Kansas City Chiefs after being selected by the franchise in the first round of the 1992 NFL Draft, and went on to a 13 year career that included a 1992 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign and four Pro-Bowls.  And then there’s Reed, a 12-year veteran who played most notably for the Minnesota Vikings, although he finished his career in 2002 with the New Orleans Saints.  In his prime, Reed was a dangerous deep threat for the Vikings, pulling together four straight 1,000 yard receiving seasons.  Both of these stars come from Newton High School, but fast forward to present day, and you’ll see that the tradition of solid athletics — particularly football — continues. Currently four Newton County products adorn NFL rosters. Most notably is Eastside High School alum Sheldon Rankins who

starts on the defensive line for the Saints. But then there’s Akeem Hunt (Houston Texans), Dante Blackmon (Indianapolis Colts) and Demetrius McCray, now of the Seattle Seahawks. But it doesn’t start and stop with pro football guys. Newton County boasts three ultra competitive Georgia High School Association schools which have continuously pushed forward NCAA and professional caliber talent in all sports from football and basketball to baseball and softball.  We’re also home to one of the top private school baseball programs in the state in Peachtree Academy — winners of the 2017 Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association state baseball crown.  In February, 19 Newton County studentathletes signed letters of intent to play college ball, with more than half a dozen signing scholarship letters with Division I football schools such as Georgia, Georgia Tech and Air Force, while several current high school athletes have committed to the likes of 2016 college football national champion Clemson and SEC stalwart, South Carolina.  The hoops talent is pretty solid too. If you moved in after March, you missed one of

Newcomers Guide 2017

the most exciting high school boys basketball teams in the nation play in the Newton Rams. Ranked in the top 10 of several national polls through most of the season, veteran boys coach Rick Rasmussen showed once again, his ability to squeeze the most potential out of high school talent on the hardwood. Middle school and recreation sports are more than solid. Just ask the Newton County Little League All-Stars program which saw its 8u and 10u teams win state crowns, and the 8u squad walk away with the USSSA World Series championship in Gulfport, Miss. this past summer.  And lest we forget about the NCAA Division III tennis juggernaut that is Oxford (Emory) College. The Oxford women just won its third straight national title, while the men claimed its second consecutive crown.  So whether you want to plug your kid into some high caliber little league action or you want to head over to Homer Sharp Stadium to catch some of the best future collegiate talent in Georgia — a state that is No. 4 in the country in turning out Division I college and pro football and basketball prospects — you’ll find what you’re looking for right here in Newton County.


New Orleans defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins is one of four Newton County natives currently playing in the National Football League.

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Conyers/Rockdale Council for the Arts

If you enjoy live theatre, music, fine arts, comedy,children’s programs and art classes -the Conyers/Rockdale Council for the Arts offers all of these and more. Experience a broad variety of art offerings in the intimate black box theater at Center Street Arts, nationally renowned artists in the Rockdale Auditorium and learn from the expert instruction provided by the instructors during ArtSmart Camp.

910 Center Street, Conyers, GA 30012 770-922-3143 •


Newcomers Guide 2017

Newton’s natural beauty

Darryl Welch

Turner Lake, in Covington, is home to a 26-acre lake.

The Covington News


ith lakes on its northern and southern borders, rivers and streams running throughout, and landscape dotted with farms dozens of miles from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta, Newton County is an exemplification of natural beauty. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the county’s natural landscape. Here is a look at how and where to get out and enjoy Newton County.


Academy Springs Park (3120 Conyers St., Covington) Bringing a touch of nature to the city,

Academy Springs Park, sometimes referred to as Springs Park, boasts playground equipment originally installed by the Covington Lions Club, a pavilion with tables and chairs that can seat between 70 and 80 people, and areas for picnicking. The Satsuki Garden Club has restored a butterfly/pollinator garden and there are walking paths, most of which are handicapped accessible, through the park. The park is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pavilion rental information and reservations can be made by calling 770-843-5939, or by visiting Baker Field (1146 Conyers

Proactive Chiropractic

St., Covington) Baker Field is located on Conyers Street next to the Conyers Street Gym. This is a small field that is used by youth baseball and softball teams for games and practices. Baker Field is a community field that is available to the public when activities are not scheduled. Baker Field is named after the late Buddy Baker, a pioneer of early baseball in Newton County. Chimney Park (7116 Floyd St. NE, Covington; 678-625-1235) Located behind Newton County’s main library branch on Floyd Street,

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Newcomers Guide 2017

Chimney Park gets its names from the remnants of the Martin-Patterson Home, built between 1910 and 1918. Though the house burned to the ground in the 1980s, its granite foundation and one chimney remain. The 12-acre site is an urban woodland offering people a chance to reconnect with nature under the shelter of towering trees. Friends of Newton Park, a nonprofit organization, works with the Newton County Parks and Recreation Commission towards creating environments that meet the national goal of “No Child Left Inside.” Legion Field Park (Covington) The site of the county fair, Legion Field has recently been refurbished. Lumber harvested from the Newton-Covington Land Application site was used to build the pavilion and framework for the new bandstand. All of the park facilities and areas are available for private rental as well as events open to the public and weekly matches on the cricket pitch. Newborn City Park (Newborn) The park, located near the city Play the Run Cherokee Run Golf Club is an Arnold Palmer-designed masterpiece.The course and driving range are open to the public year round.

Dine at the Run Retreat to the Palmer Room or clubhouse veranda for daily lunch or a refreshing beverage. Bring the family out for our Sunday brunch buffet.

Celebrate at the Run Weddings, Receptions, Banquets, and Meetings…the event opportunities at Cherokee Run are endless.

1595Centennial 1595 Centennial Olympic Olympic Parkway Parkway Conyers, Ga. 30013 770-785-7904

hall on Highway 142, features swings, grills, picnic tables, benches, a large pavilion and more. During the summer months, the Newborn Pickers Circle gathers at the pavilion for an evening of bluegrass and fiddles. B.C. Crowell Park (Porterdale) Named in honor of long-time Porterdale resident, Billy Carl Crowell, B.C. Crowell Park sits adjacent to the Porterdale Police Department and City Hall. There is a pavilion for picnics, a little league baseball field, and a basketball court. Cedar Shoals Park (Porterdale) A small park located on the banks of the Yellow River off of Riverfront Street, Cedar Shoals Park was named in honor of Porderdale’s original name: Cedar Shoals. There are picnic tables on the riverfront. Porterdale Community Garden (Porterdale) A collaboration of Newton County Cooperative Extension Service and Master Gardeners,

Hands on Newton/NCCP, and the City of Porterdale, the Newton County Community Garden in Porterdale, located behind city hall, offers residents without access to a sunny garden area or interested in sharing a hobby with fellow enthusiasts a place to plant vegetables and fruits. Managed by local volunteers, the garden has 56 beds, all available to residents for a nominal deposit. Sunflowers, cared for by the garden community as a whole, are harvested, the seeds roasted and packaged and handed out during the city’s annual Christmas parade. Porterdale Pocket Parks (Porterdale) As part of its neighborhood revitalization, the City of Porterdale created three “pocket” parks, located on Hemlock, Pine and Elm streets. All have playground equipment installed on safety mulch, and feature roses, areas to rest and a kiosk housing free lending libraries. Porterdale Memorial Gym (Porterdale)


When the gymnasium burned in 2005, the village made the decision to keep the standing brick walls and create an outdoor venue with seating for 500 for weddings, concerts, and other events. There is a stage and a green room. Veterans Memorial Park (Porterdale) Situated on a triangle-shaped piece of land off South Broad Street, Veterans Memorial Park features a gazebo built by veterans from the area. Yellow River Park (2400 Main St., Porterdale) The long-neglected river is now clean and part of the Georgia Rivers Network. An extensive park is being created, based on a design by The National Park Service, that will link the river side park to a major walking trail system. The existing historic depot will serve as the trailhead, eventually housing restrooms. The city, county, the Newton County Trails/Path Foundation, chamber, Yellow River Conservation and PreservaContinued on page 38


Newcomers Guide 2017

Continued from page 38

tion Club and Lafarge Aggregate, and with the help of a grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Yellow River Park now offers kayakers a launch area, playgrounds for children, and a one-quarter mile concrete trail for walkers and bike riders. Plans are underway to install a disk golf course, and create a 27-acre outdoor festival area. Newton County Parks & Recreation (6185 Turner Lake Road, Covington; 770-786-4373) Picnic near the shoals of Factory River, fish go bird watching or just relax at one of the 14 recreational parts in Newton County’s Parks and Recreation arsenal. Headquartered at Turner Lake, The Newton County Recreation Commission manages more than 330 acres of facilities. The goal is to offer high-quality facilities and programs meeting all physical, social and emotional interests of Newton County residents. For information, visit www. Beaver Park (Highway 213, Mansfield) Beaver Park is used as a youth baseball and softball practice field. A walking track circles the park’s large open field and leads to the pavilion and tennis court. The large field is a great place to throw a football; or fly a kite. The open area also offers kids a place to run around and play games such as tag. The park also has a playground for the entertainment of young children. City Pond Complex (13501 City Pond Road, Covington) City Pond Park is located just off of Interstate 20 on Old City Pond Road. A large pond encompasses much of the park’s land, with an open area nearby for playing catch or tossing Frisbees. The state of the art facilities at City Pond offer a wide variety of activities including a two-mile trail that circles the pond for walkers and runners; a lighted football field; four lighted tennis courts; one picnic pavilion; three concession stands with a meeting room; restrooms; an umpire dressing facilities/scorekeeper building; five batting cages; and a

The Yellow River offers a variety of sporting activities.

tot-lot playground. The six baseball fields for youth, 5 through 14, are considered some of the finest in the state, and were the site of the 1993, 1997, 2002 and 2008 Dixie Boys World Series. Part of the park is The Miracle League Complex, a state-of-the-art facility that opened in April 2015, it accommodates players with physical or mental challenges. It includes a custom-designed field with a cushioned, rubberized surface, wheelchair accessible dugouts, and a completely flat surface to eliminate barriers. Accessible restrooms, a concession stand, and picnic pavilion will also be incorporated within this design. The park is open daylight to dusk. Conyers Street Gym (1146 Conyers St., Covington) Conyers Street Gym is located in downtown Covington beside Baker Field. The Gym consists of one full sized basketball court that doubles as a volleyball court. The Gym can be rented on weekdays and weekends for group play at a cost of $50 for the first hour and $40 for each additional hour. A $50 key deposit is required.

Denny Dobbs Park (6244 Highway 212, Covington) Located in western Newton County’s Oak Hill District, Denny Dobbs Park is a state of the art regional park with amenities offering different recreational opportunities for residents. The park’s amenities include two playgrounds for children 2 to 5 years old, and one for children, 5 to 12. There are two basketball courts and a ball field, trails and an interactive electronic gaming station called NEOS, which combines video game speed with aerobic activities. A Life Trail offers a series of handicapped accessible exercise stations designed to maintain and enhance flexibility, strength and endurance for adults 50 and older. The stations are connected by a paved walkway that circles the entrance to the park. Mary Louise Fowler Park (Covington By-Pass, Covington) A two-acre park located in the central part of the county, the Mary Louise Fowler Park consists of a walking trail, tennis court and basketball court.

RotaDyne Field (9150 Industrial Blvd, Covington) RotaDyne Field is a small field located on Industrial Blvd. and is used for practice and games for younger age children, ages 5 through 8. Pactiv Field (7150 Alcovy Road, Covington) Pactiv Field is used for softball and football practice. Old Cousins/Wolverine Field (8134 Geiger Street, Covington) Newton County Recreation Commission has started work on the Old Cousin site adding a new football stadium and renovating the basketball gym. South Street Park (2201 Emory St., Covington) South Street is just one of our traditional neighborhood parks. The park is designed for children under the age of 12. The park is fenced-in for safety and consists of swings, a slide, merry-go-round, monkey bars and landscaped with cypress mulch and shade trees. Spillers Park (9134 Jefferson Ave., Covington)

Newcomers Guide 2017

Another traditional neighborhood park, Spillers Park is designed for children under the age of 12. The park sits under a canopy of shade trees and consists of a large tot-lot, swings, a picnic area and a walking trail.

Newton Trails offers public trails throughout the county.

Stone Road Complex (Four miles off I-20 exit 93 on Stone Road, Covington) A three-field adult softball complex on the outskirts of the Covington city limits, Stone Park Complex is 14.5 acres and known, locally, as Hamm Fields. The playing fields are lighted and the park has a full concession stand and a scorekeepers booth. Trail Blazer Park (3112 Clark St., Covington) Trailblazer Park is a two-acre park located on the outskirts of downtown historic Covington. It includes playground for small children, a covered basketball court for older children and adults and a picnic pavilion. Turner Lake Complex (6185 Turner Lake Road, Covington)

The Turner Lake Complex is situated on 158-acres and contains a 26-acre lake as well as a 34,000-square-foot building, which houses the commission offices, a gymnasium, a full service senior center and a meeting room. The facility is home to four girls softball fields. Year and daily passes for residents and nonresidents are available for the indoor walk-

ing path and basketball court. Park hours are daylight to dusk. Indoor gym and walking track hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed weekends. Administrative office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The indoor basketball courts close at 5:30 p.m. between November and February for Recreation League Play.


Covington/Newton County Trails (P.O. Box 2010, Covington) The Cricket Frog Trail is a 15mile rail trail running through central Newton County, along the route once travelled by the Central of Georgia Railroad. Approximately 6.5 miles of mostly primitive trail are open for public use. In February 2017, Newton Trails began hard surface paving of the trail with a 12-foot-wide concrete section .65 miles long between Elm Street and Conyers Street in downtown Covington.  While the primitive sections are best suited to hiking and mountain biking, the concrete trail is accessible for all non-motorized traffic and  wheelchairs. The Eastside Trail runs 2.5 miles from downtown Covington to Eastside High School. A multiuse greenway, the 10-foot wide concrete path begins off Ramsey Drive, just west of the Newton County Public Library, and runs between pasture land and woods south to the high school. Continued on page 40


Continued from page 38

The Lake Varner Trails, located just north of Covington, feature a short, paved trail along Newton County’s main reservoir, and an unpaved, primitive trail leading through the woods to a granite outcrop. The Oxford Trail is a 1.2 mile, 8-foot-wide concrete trail that was developed in partnership with the City of Oxford and Oxford College. The wooded path runs behind the campus and along Turkey Creek, and features benches, a kiosk with information about native forest and meadow habitats, and a large deck under the trees behind Oxford’s historic Old Church on Wesley Road. The Charlie Elliott Trail is a 4.7 mile, soft-surface multi-use trail at the Wildlife Center, just south of the City of Mansfield. The Yellow River Trail is a 1,480-foot concrete loop that follows a curve in the river. Used for fitness workouts and accessing the Yellow River Water Trail, the loop will be linked to the Historic Train Depot trailhead at Broad Street and eventually, to Newton County’s planned Turkey Creek/Yellow River Greenway and Turner Lake Park. A disc golf course opened this year in the park. Turner Lake Park’s Trails feature three miles of paved and unpaved walking trails around Turner Lake and ball fields, and pass by outdoor classrooms and the site of an old Newton County homestead.

Other Recreation Areas Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center (563 Elliott Trail, Mansfield) Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center features 6,400-acres managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Offering a variety of activities and programs, this beautiful area is centrally located in the state in a beautiful wooded setting near Mansfield, making it easily accessible from Atlanta, Athens and Macon. Factory Shoals (450 Newton Factory Bridge Road, Covington) Now a nature park situated along the Alcovy River in the Southern portion of the county, Factory

Newcomers Guide 2017

Cricket Frog Trail is unveiled as the name of Newton County’s rail trail.

Shoals represents one of Georgia’s earliest experiences in water-powered industrialization in the U.S. Archaeological remains of five mills, ranging from large textile factories to small mills, exist within a one mile section of the river, some built as early as 1820. Today, the 450-acre park hosts picnickers, campers, rafters and hikers. Swimming is permitted. Park hours are from 8 a.m. until dark. Camping is available from March 1 through Dec. 1 on a first come first serve basis. Georgia Wildlife Federation Alcovy Conservation Center (11600 Hazelbrand Road, Covington) Headquartered in Covington at the Alcovy Conservation Center, the Georgia Wildlife Federation’s (GWF) mission is to encourage the protection and restoration of waters, wildlife, forest and field through advocacy, education and stewardship. Affiliated with the National Wildlife Federation, GWF offers educational programs that use the swamps of Alcovy River as an interpretive backdrop. The Conservation Center is a 15,000-square-foot complex of offices, lecture halls, classrooms and library space, all surrounded by native plant gardens. Other facilities on the 115-acres site along the Alcovy River include pavilions, an executive retreat house and a log

cabin. Hunter and angler heritage education programs are also offered. The Center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All visitors must check in with the front office upon arrival and departure. The Georgia FFA/FCCLA Center (720 FFA Road (Highway 36), Covington; 770-786-6926) The Georgia FFA-FCCLA Center is a non-profit educational facility designed to provide Georgia’s youth with a site for leadership and career development. Started in 1937, the site is one of only two FFA-FCCLA Centers in Georgia, and has evolved into a premier camp facility and conference center for FFA and FCCLA Organizations, as well as other youth and adult organizations. Programs include wildlife camps, horse camps, parent and children adventure camp and a rope course program. Lake Varner/Cornish Creek Reservoir (11905 Alcovy Road, Covington; 770-784-2049) The Cornish Creek Reservoir offers a natural setting to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Fish, picnic, read, enjoy nature and watch wildlife within minutes of downtown Covington. The reservoir is managed in coordination with the Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division and is stocked with a wide variety of fish. Park facilities

include two covered picnic pavilions, picnic sites with charcoal grills and parking, public restrooms, children’s playground, dual launch boat ramp, paved and primitive nature trails, open field areas for recreation, swings and benches with great views of the water, accessible bank fishing areas and an ADA accessible fishing pier. Newton and Walton County residents are not charged fees for use. There’s a $5 per boat and $5 per vehicle charge for all out of county residents. Jackson Lake One of the oldest reservoirs in Georgia, Jackson Lake is situated within parts of three counties—Jasper, Newton and Butts. Though relatively small—about 4,750 acres with 135 miles of shoreline—Jackson Lake is formed by the confluence of the Yellow, Alcovy and South rivers. Tussahaw Creek is a tributary, and below the Lloyd Shoals Dam, built in 1910 by Central Georgia Power, the lake’s outlet is the Ocmulgee River. Jackson Lake still generates electricity while providing a location for water sports, boating, skiing, wake boarding and fishing. Gaither Plantation, (270 Davis Ford Road, Covington; 678-6251200) This 256-acre Gaither Plantation is one of the few remaining exam-

ples of mid-19th to late 20th century farms and cotton plantations in Northeast Georgia.  Built in 1850, the plantation house was the center of a rural Georgia farm community for more than 100 years. The Gaither family lived in the home until the 1920s, and for the next 76 years, was a private residence owned by others. In 1986, Newton County purchased the property as part of the Bear Creek Reservoir project. In addition to the house, there is a 1830s log smokehouse, a pole hay bar, agricultural fields, two 19th century cemeteries, and other historic buildings relocated from elsewhere in Newton County. Groups of 10 or more have been able to tour the plantation on certain days, but reservations are required. The plantation is available

for weddings, gatherings and other events. Starsville Plantation (283 Old Starsville Road, Covington; 770990-4095) Starrsville Plantation was established in 1822 and encompasses 753 acres. It now serves as a wedding venue and event location. As you pull into the main gate, you immediately see the vast beauty of Starrsville. The oak-tree-lined driveway leading to the main house is just the beginning. The main house was built in 1836 and offers an elegant and private place for the bridal party to get dressed, relax and take pictures before the exciting wedding day begins. Hours are flexible, Call 678-425-0131 or 770990-4095 for more information.

discover what’s around the corner conyers, georgia

A casual stroll, a yummy bite, a beauty touch-up … it’s all just around the corner.

Newton County Recreation Golf Courses Ashton Hills Golf Club Ashton Hills Golf Club formerly known as Indian Creek Golf Club went through a renovation in 2012 when ownership changed. That same year Georgia Golf News named the course Atlanta’s Best New Course. The course is located at 10400 Covington Bypass Road in Covington, Georgia. The 18 hole course is year round with an open guest policy and bent greens. It also includes a driving range, rental

clubs and rental carts. Tee times start at $15. The Oaks Course Measuring 6,437 yards and located at 11240 Brown Bridge Road in Covington. The course features four sets of trees each tailored to players of different skill levels. The Oaks course is a semi-private course open year round with Bermuda fairways and greens. The course has a driving range, rental clubs and carts – carts are included in green fees. Tee times start at $15.

Take a stroll through 70,000 sq. ft. of shops, restaurants, medical services and office space. Ten uniquely-crafted buildings capture the charm of Conyers, Georgia.

Just one block west of Hwy. 138, the intersection of Flat Shoals and Parker Roads offers premier visibility and easy access to the 30094 community. • proximity to affluent neighborhoods • signalized intersection with 3 entrance points

so, discover what’s around your corner! Space available for brand-minded tenants: • Cafes + Restaurants • Small Business • Professional Services

Contact us today. FAYE PHILLIPS, CCIM, CPM® 770.922.2794 • for a complete list of shops and restaurants Parks are open to the public throughout the county.


Newcomers Guide 2017

How to vote in Newton County Visit My Voter Page at to obtain your voting precinct information.

County Precincts and Polling Locations Alcovy 04 Newton County Library 7116 Floyd St.,NE Covington, GA 30014 Almon 03 Almon Community Center 65 Mount Tabor Road Covington, GA 30016 Beaverdam 13 Gateway Community Church 11677 Brown Bridge Road Covington, GA 30016 Brewers 06 Red Oak Methodist Church 15105 Hwy. 36 Covington, GA 30014 Brick Store 07 St. Augustine Catholic Church 11524 Hwy. 278, E Covington, GA 30014 Buck Creek 19 Zion Baptist Church 7037 Hwy. 212, N Covington, GA 30016 Cedar Shoals 08 Porterdale Baptist Church 2 Palmetto St. Porterdale, GA 30070 City Pond 01 Central Community Church 11157 City Pond Road Covington, GA 30014 Cov. Mills 05 American Legion Post #32 3132 Legion Drive Covington, GA 30014 Crowell 24 The Potter’s House 1120 Crowell Road, N Covington, GA 30014 Downs 10 Prospect United Methodist 6752 Hwy. 212 Covington, GA 30016 Fairview 23 Belmont Baptist Church 3275 Iris Drive, SE Conyers, GA 30013 Gum Creek 12 Gum Creek Precinct Building 325 Dial Mill Road Oxford, GA 30054 Hub 25

Berean Baptist Church 20 Old Social Circle Road Social Circle, GA 30025

Leguinn 14 High Point Baptist Church 12025 Hwy. 36 Covington, GA 30014 Livingston 09 County Line Baptist Church 3 325 Hwy. 162, S Covington, GA 30016 Mansfield 15 Mansfield Community House 3158 Hwy. 11 Mansfield, GA 30055 Newborn 16 Newborn United Methodist 118 Church St. Newborn, GA 30056 Oxford 17 Oxford City Hall 110 W Clark St. Oxford, GA 30054 Rocky Plains 18 Harvest Baptist Church 2075 Hwy. 212 Covington, GA 30016 Stansells 20 Voice of Pentecost 4648 Salem Road Covington, GA 30016 Town 02 Wash. St. Community Center 4138 School St. Covington, GA 30014 Municipal Polling Locations Covington 2 Covington City Hall 2194 Emory St., NW Covington, GA 30014 Mansfield 5 Mansfield City Hall 3146 Hwy. 11 Mansfield, GA 30055 Newborn 6 Newborn City Hall 4224 Hwy. 142, E Newborn, GA 30056 Oxford 3 Oxford City Hall 110 W Clark St. Oxford, GA 30054 Porterdale 4 Porterdale Fire Station 2 Main St. Porterdale, GA 30070 Social Circle 7 Social Circle City Hall Community Room 138 E Hightower Trail Social Circle, GA 30025

Newcomers Guide 2017


get to know your elected officials Newton County Board of Commissioners

Newton County local government consists of five district commissioners and a chair elected county-wide. The Board of Commissioners meets the first and third Tuesday of every month at the Historic Courthouse on the Covington Square.

Marcello Banes

Stan Edwards

Lanier Sims

Lloyd Kerr


District 1

District 2


Nancy Schulz

J.C. Henderson

Ronnie Cowan

Jackie Smith

District 3

District 4

District 5



Newcomers Guide 2017

get to know your elected officials State Legislature

Rick Jeffares

Dale Rutledge

Andrew Welch

SENATOR, District 17

HOUSE District 109

HOUSE District 110

Newton County is divided between District 17 and District 43 at the Georgia Senate level, represented by Senator Rick Jeffares and Tonya Anderson, respectively. In the Georgia House of Representatives, Newton County is divided into District 109 (Dale Rutledge), District 110 (Andrew Welch), District 112 (Dave Belton) and District 113 (Pamela Dickerson).

Tonya Anderson

Dave Belton

Pamela Dickerson

SENATOR, District 43

HOUSE District 112

HOUSE District 113

get to know your elected officials Constitutionals

Ezell Brown


Barbara Dingler

Melanie Bell


Probate judge

Linda Hays

Tommy Davis

Clerk of Superior Court


Newcomers Guide 2017


get to know your elected officials CITY OF Covington

The Covington City Council meets at Covington City Hall, 2194 Emory St., on the first and third Monday of every month.


Chris Smith

Hawnethia Williams

Joshua McKelvey





Kenneth Morgan

Michael Whatley

Ocie Franklin

Leigh Anne Knight





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COVINGTON As a new resident, here is some information you may find useful:

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Newcomers Guide 2017

get to know your elected officials CITY OF Porterdale Porterdale city council meets for regular meetings the first Monday of every month with work sessions on the second Tuesday and fourth Thursday, at City Hall, 2400 Main St., Porterdale.

Arline Chapman

Terry Grey

Linda Finger




Mike Harper

Lowell Chambers

Tim Savage

Bob Thompson





City of OXFORD

The Oxford City Council meets the first Monday of every month and holds a work session every third Monday at City Hall at 110 West Clark St., Oxford.

jerry roseberry

Matthew Pepper

david eady

melvin baker


city manager



george holt

Sarah Davis

Mike Ready

jim windham





Newcomers Guide 2017


get to know your elected officials CITY OF MANSFIELD

Jefferson Riley

Perry Lunsford

Lisa Dunn


Mayor Pro Tem


Helen Robertson

Bryan Hale

Chris Fulmer




Mansfield City Council meetings are held the second Monday of every month, with work sessions the first Thursday, at the Mansfield Community Center

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Newcomers Guide 2017

get to know your elected officials CITY OF Newborn City council meetings are held the first Monday of every month at the Town Hall 4224 Highway 142

Gregg Ellwanger

Tom Krieger

Robert Bratton


Mayor Pro-Tem


Wayne Sams

Martha Ellwanger



city of Social Circle

Hal Dally

David Keener

Steve Shelton




Tyson Jackson

Scott Simpkins

Adele Schirme



city manager

The Social Circle Mayor and City Council meet on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Room at 138 East Hightower Road in Social Circle. There is usually a work session immediately prior to the meeting at 5:30 p.m.

Newcomers Guide 2017


get to know your elected officials Board of education

Trey Bailey

Eddie Johnson

Shakila Baker

District 1



Almond Turner

Abigail Coggin

Samantha Fuhrey




Newton County School Board work sessions and meetings are held at 7 p.m. at the Board of Education every second and third Tuesday of every month.


Newcomers Guide 2017

Newton County Schools ’17-‘18 System Office: 2109 Newton Drive NE, Covington/PO Box 1469, Covington, GA 30015 Phone: 770-787-1330 Fax: 770-784-2950

Porterdale Elementary School


Rocky Plains Elementary School

East Newton Elementary

P: 770-784-2973 F: 770-784-2976 2286 Dixie Road, Covington Principal: Dr. Kim Coady Assistant Principal: Dr. Geri Hawkins

Fairview Elementary

P: 770-786-2636 F: 770-784-2938 3324 Fairview Road, Covington Principal: Dr. LaMoyne Brunson Assistant Principal: Dr. Yoli D. Curry

Flint Hill Elementary

P: 770-784-2669 F: 770-784-2994 1300 Airport Road, Oxford Principal: Dr. Lynne DiNardo Assistant Principals: Ms. Kelly Walker, Ms. Dionna Evans, Ms. Diana Hipps

Heard-Mixon Elementary

P: 770-784-2980 F: 770-784-2984 14110 Highway 36, Covington Principal: Marquita Wilkins Assistant Principal: Angelia Cameron

Live Oak Elementary School

P: 678-625-6654 F: 678-625-6021 500 Kirkland Road, Covington Principal: Ericka Anderson Assistant Principals: Dr. Ryan James, Ms. Melissa Daniell

Livingston Elementary School

P: 770-784-2930 F: 770-784-2996 3657 Highway 81 S, Covington Principal: Dr. Patrick Carter Assistant Principal: Ms. Amber St. Clair

Mansfield Elementary School P: 770-784-2948 F: 770-784-2995 45 E. Third Ave, Mansfield Principal: Chris Haymore Assistant Principal: Ms. Teresa Sauls

Middle Ridge Elementary School

P: 770-385-6463 F: 770-385-6466 11649 S. Covington Bypass Road, Covington Principal: Rhonda Battle Assistant Principal: Ms. De’Wanda Chester

Oak Hill Elementary School P: 770-385-6906 F: 770-385-6909 6243 Highway 212, Covington Principal: Brenda Gammans Assistant Principal: Ms. Tara Lynn

P: 770-784-2928 F: 770-784-2996 45 Ram Drive, Covington Principal: Ms. Clydia Newell Assistant Principal: Dr. Casha Williams P: 770-784-4987 F: 770-784-4988 5300 Highway 162 S, Covington Principal: Dr. Miranda Jones Assistant Principal: TBA

Social Circle Elementary School

P: 770-464-2664 F: 770-464-2665 240-A West Hightower Trail, Social Circle Principal: Beth Pridgen Assistant Principal: Maria Hargrove

Assistant Principals: Ms. Karen Gibbs, Mr. Malcolm Brown

Social Circle Middle School

P: 770-464-1932 F: 770-464-2612 154 Alcova Drive, Social Circle Principal: Cappy Douglass Assistant Principal: Craig Hargrove

Veterans Memorial Middle School

P: 770-385-6893 F: 770-385-6899 13357 Brown Bridge Road, Covington Principal: Dr. Takila Curry Assistant Principals: Ms. Jeanne Rachels, Ms. Sabrina Grant


Social Circle Primary School

Alcovy High School

P: 770-464-1411 F: 770-464-9233 439 Annie P. Henderson Drive, Social Circle Principal: Darlene Favors Assistant Principal: April Burnfin

P: 770-784-4995 F: 678-625-6117 14567 Highway 36, Covington Principal: Dr. Sandra Owens Assistant Principals: Dr. Kristopher Williams, Ms. Carla Peck, Mr. Jacob Vuiller, Ms. Gina Clark

South Salem Elementary School

Eastside High School

P: 678-342-5907 F: 678-342-5908 5335 Salem Road, Covington Principal: Terran Hovers Assistant Principals: Ms. Jeffery Hughes, Dr. Andrew Kinney

West Newton Elementary School P: 770-385-6472 F: 770-385-6475 13387 Brown Bridge Road, Covington Principal: Mr. Sammy Fudge Assistant Principal: Ms. Leah Green


P: 770-784-2920 F: 770-784-2918 10245 Eagle Drive, Covington Principal: Mr. Jeff Cher, principal Assistant Principals: Dr. Gloria Griffith, Dr. Philip Davidson, Mr. Bart Buff

Newton High School

P: 770-787-2250 F: 770-784-2957 1 Ram Way, Covington Principal: Ms. Shannon Buff Assistant Principals: Ms. Carla Hull, Dr. Veronica Bacote, Mr. Vincent Byams, Mr. Michael Chapple, Ms. Shanta Mayes, Ms. Katrina Stanfield

Clements Middle School

Social Circle High School

Cousins Middle School


P: 770-784-2934 F: 770-784-2934 66 Jack Neely Road, Covington Principal: Ms. Joy Warren Assistant Principals: Ms. Dawn Ward, Mr. Fredrick Richard P: 770-786-7311 F: 770-784-2991 8187 Carlton Trail NW, Covington Principal: Mr. Terrence Martin Assistant Principals: Mr. Aaron Robinson, Ms. Alison Jackson

Indian Creek Middle School

P: 770-464-2611 F: 770-464-2612 154 Alcova Drive, Social Circle Principal: Dr. Carrie Booher Assistant Principal: Mr. Tim Armstrong

Newton County Theme School at Ficquett 2207 Williams Street, Covington 770-784-2959 Principal: Naomi Cobb


P: 770-385-6453 F: 770-385-6456 11051 S. Covington Bypass Road, Covington Principal: Dr. Swade Huff Assistant Principals: Mr. Tyler Smith, Ms. Valerie Reed

Mainstay Academy

Liberty Middle School

Newton College and Career Academy

P: 678-625-6617 F: 678-625-6200 5225 Salem Road, Covington Principal: Keisa Taylor

P: 770-385-6878 F: 770-784-1275 1110 N. Emory St., Oxford Coordinator: Mr. Richard Brantley P: 678-625-6769 F: 678-625-6041 144 Ram Drive, Covington Principal/CEO: Chad Walker

Newcomers Guide 2017

Higher education HIGHER EDUCATION Oxford College of Emory University 110 Few Circle, Oxford 770-784-8888 Dr. Douglas A. Hicks, dean The first two years of Emory University’s liberal arts curriculum may be pursued either at the main campus in Atlanta or at Oxford College, which was founded in 1836 as Emory’s original campus. Emory moved to Atlanta in 1919, but students who wish to live and study in a smaller community can still choose Oxford. Georgia State University (Georgia Perimeter College Newton Campus) 239 Cedar Lane, Covington 770-278-1200 Dr. Peter Lyons, Vice Provost

Georgia State’s Newton Campus doors opened in 2007 as Georgia Perimeter College. In 2015 the college consolidated with Georgia State University. The Newton campus is now part of a university that has more than 50,000 students enrolled in multiple campuses throughout the Metro Atlanta Area. Georgia Piedmont Technical College 16200 Alcovy Road, Covington 770-786-9522 Dr. Irvin Clark, dean Established in 1961, Georgia Piedmont Technical College is one of the oldest and most respected of the state’s 33 technical colleges. In 2010, the college served 24,590 students and conferred 1,118 awards to graduates across its two campuses and five centers. Graduates have a 99 percent job place-

ment rate with 69 percent graduate placement in jobs in or related to their program or field of study or in further education. The GPTC adult education program is one of the largest such programs, as well as international literacy programs, in the state. GPTC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Colleges to award associate of applied science degrees, diplomas and technical certificates of credit.

AREA PRIVATE SCHOOLS Covington Academy 2171 Elks Club Road, Covington 678-625-9025 Grades: K3 through 12 George Walton Academy 1 Bulldog Drive, Monroe 770-267-7578 Grades: K4 through 12 Loganville Christian Academy 2575 Highway 81, Loganville


770-554-9888 Grades: K4 through 12 Montessori School of Covington 4108 Summers St., Covington 770-788-7779 Grades: K3 through 8 Peachtree Academy 14101 Hwy. 278, Covington 678-729-9111 Grades: K4 through 12 Piedmont Academy 126 Hwy. 212, Monticello 706-468-8818 Grades: K3 through 12 Providence Christian School 252 Byrd Road, Oxford 770-788-6618 Grades: K4 through 12 Young Americans Christian School 1701 Honey Creek Conyers 770-760-7902 Grades: K4 through12

DESIGN FOR ALL Eastmore is a new, mixed-use community that celebrates the role of great design in daily life. Here, you’ll find a variety of beautifully crafted homes, shops, restaurants and office space designed within a walkable community in a pleasing natural setting.

Single-Family Homes


Multi-Family Homes & Townhomes


Retail & Office District

1785 Parker Road, Suite D-310, Conyers, Georgia 30094 | Prices, amenities and availability are subject to change without notice.



Newcomers Guide 2017

Porter Memorial Branch Library 6191 Highway 212, Covington 678-729-1388 Monday & Wednesday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Thursday, Saturday & Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Libraries Newton County Library System Covington Branch Library 7116 Floyd St., Covington 770-787-3231 Tuesday & Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesday & Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Jeanette Adams Zeigler Library (Newborn) 4224 Hwy. 142, Newborn 770-787-1126 Monday & Wednesday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Uncle Remus Regional Library System W.H. Stanton Memorial Library 407 West Hightower Trail, Social Circle 770-464-2444 Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday & Thursday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

A word from Samantha Fuhrey - Newton County Superintendent


elcome to Newton County and the Newton County School System where our mission is to provide educational excellence for all students. I hope you have had an excellent summer filled with great times shared with family and friends. The 2016-2017 school year was an exciting year that included many accomplishments; such as, the Class of 2017 receiving more than $30 million dollars in academic, athletic, and fine arts scholarships. I am so proud of our students and staff, and I look forward to the accolades we will receive during the 2017-2018 school year. It is my honor and privilege to serve as your school system Superintendent! I look forward to working together to ensure our students

experience positive, engaging learning environments in which they can focus on excelling. The Newton County School System staff believes it is our responsibility to provide students with a quality education in a safe, orderly environment that fosters innovation, creativity, and high expectations. Our partnerships with parents and families serve as the foundation for our continued advancement. My request of our parents is to be supportive of our schools and make certain students read and attend school regularly. When children are not in school, they miss important information and are likely to fall behind. Often, it is believed that missing a day or two “doesn’t hurt,” but research indicates that over time, consistent absenteeism significantly impacts student learning. Unless your child is not feeling well, please ensure he/she gets to school. Over the last several years, we have experienced exceptional growth in student achievement. Our students continue to outpace the state with regard to graduation rates, and our graduating seniors have been awarded millions of dollars in athletic and academic scholarships including the Posse, Gates Millennium, and Stamps Scholarships. Our laser-like focus on teaching and learning prepares students to be college and career-ready thereby opening a multitude of oppor-

tunities beyond high school. Our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) emphasis begins as early as kindergarten; we believe it is imperative that every student attending the Newton County School System experiences rigorous, relevant learning opportunities via the STEM problem-solving model. We envision expanding our STEM program to include the arts. STEAM programs round out students’ educational experiences by immersing them not only in traditional studies, but also high-quality artistic programming. Additionally, in an effort to meet the needs of our students, we have implemented a “Young Scholars Program” in our elementary and middle schools through the use of advanced coursework. Finally, we are fortunate that we are home to the very first STEM certified College and Career Academy in Georgia. Reading is the single most important indicator of success. In the Newton County School System, it is expected that all students read at or above grade level prior to moving to the next grade. In addition to their regular studies, the more children read, the more likely they are to experience success in school. If your child is entering school for the first time, reading with him/ her daily and discussing what you have read will prove beneficial. An international study conducted by

the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development confirms that children whose parents frequently read with them in their first years of school continue to reap the benefit long after the completion of elementary school. For all students, regular “outsideof-school” reading is critical to expanding vocabulary and building background knowledge. All students should read challenging books of interest to them for at least 20-30 minutes each and every day. The Newton County School System enjoys a tremendous level of community support. Our partnerships with businesses and community agencies demonstrate a commitment to continued economic development, future growth, and support for our students, teachers, leaders, and staff. I am happy to continue to work to enhance our strong relationships and invite others to get involved. Again, welcome to our community! I look forward to an excellent school year, and thank you, in advance, for your support of our school system; I encourage every student and parent to make the 2017-2018 school year the best school year ever! Samantha Fuhrey Superintendent, Newton County School System

Newcomers Guide 2017

convenience centers Full-Service Convenience Centers - bulk waste, household trash, yard waste and recyclables: Adams Circle: 2010 Adams Circle Stone Road: 70 Stone Road Stewart: 14645 Hwy. 36 Piper Road: 10545 Hwy. 36 Oak Hill: 112 Oak Hill Road Recycling only: 11575 Covington Bypass Road Hours: All centers Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Hangtags: $145 – allows access to all six centers; $24 – allows access to recycling center only All hang tags are on sale at the Newton County Historic Courthouse from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday Friday. Tags can also be purchased online at or through the mail by printing out an application form from and mailing it to 1113 Usher St., Covington, Ga. 30014.



Newcomers Guide 2017

Public Safety


LAW ENFORCEMENT Social Circle Police Department Tyrone Oliver, Chief 138 E Hightower Trail, Social Circle 770-464-2366 Newton County Sheriff’s Office Ezell Brown, Sheriff 15151 Alcovy Road NE, Covington General Information 678-625-1400 Jail Information 678-625-1420

Oxford Police Department David Harvey, Chief 110 W. Clark St., Oxford 770-788-1390

Covington Police Department Stacy Cotton, Chief 1143 Oak St. SE, Covington 770-786-7605

Porterdale Police Department Jason Cripps, Chief 2602 Main St., Porterdale 770-786-2226

Covington Fire Department Stoney Bowles, Chief 2101 Pace St., Covington 770-385-2100

Newton County Fire Service Michael Conner, Chief 4136 Highway 278 NE, #A, Covington 678-784-2116

Social Circle Fire Department Kenneth Zaydel, Chief 165 East Hightower Trail, Social Circle 770-464-0621



Piedmont Newton Hospital 5126 Hospital Drive NE, Covington 770-786-7053

Covington – Newton County 911 Center 8146 Carlton Trail, Covington Emergency: 9-1-1 Non-Emergency: 678-342-8790

Welcome The residents of Oxford, the Mayor and the City Council members would like to welcome you to Oxford. Oxford Mayor and Council

Jerry D. Roseberry, Mayor Council Members: David S. Eady, Mike Ready, George R. Holt, Melvin O. Baker, James H. Windham and Sarah T. Davis

Getting utilities Water and septic lines Water and sewerage authority 11325 Brown Bridge Road, Covington, GA 30016 770-787-1375 Electricity The City of Covington is the only municipality in the county that provides electricity. Contact 770-385-2075 or log on to

Become a Sustaining Member!

All others should contact Snapping Shoals EMC – 770-786-3484 or Georgia Power - 404-329-4001 or

This program allows any individual, veteran, organization or business to choose their level of annual support. Several levels of membership are available beginning at $50. You will receive a decorative decal to show your support of the Walk of Heroes Veterans War Memorial. Membership renewals available each year. Call 404-401-7142 or go online!

Honor any veteran with a paver to preserve his/her service and sacrifice, including individuals currently serving (including Active Duty, Reserve or National Guard) or anyone who has ever served the United States Military, peace-time or war-time, from 1900-present time. Go to our website and use PayPal or credit card or call 404-401-7142 to request an order form.

4” x 8” @ $100 3 lines 16 characters per line 8” x 8” @ $200 6 lines 16 characters per line

Walk of Heroes/Veterans War Memorial 3001 Black Shoals Road • Conyers, Georgia 30012 (Located within Black Shoals Park) Open 7:00am-7:00pm Daily • Park is Closed on Wednesday


Newcomers Guide 2017

Duane Ford

A field of eggplant grows at Oxford College of Emory University Organic Farm.

Farm to table Newton offers several ways to support local agriculture The Covington News


ome small farm farmers are offering two different ways for Newton County residents to support local agriculture: either by purchasing shares in a farm’s seasonal offerings or by subscribing to receive an email which lists the week’s offerings and prices. Neither way beats the prices in the big box grocery stores, but both ensure freshly harvested and, for the most part, organically grown, produce. For example, six ounces of baby kale from Flying Horse Farm in Newborn, which notifies customers of what’s in by newsletter, was $4. At Yellow Hen Farms, to keep things simple, vegetables are priced at $3, whether it is for one head of lettuce, four ounces of kale or Swiss chard, or three ounces of arugula. “I’m not trying to compete with Wal-Mart, so you’ll find that my prices are higher,” said Sara Vinson, of Yellow Hen Farm in Covington. “Our CSA is not free food,” said Daniel Parson, manager of the organic farm at Oxford College at Emory University. “It’s not volume food or geared toward canning. Last year was a great year for

squash and people were freezing it. This year may not be [good for squash], but could be for tomatoes.” The Oxford organic farm sells its produce by subscription, or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. So, too, does Alcovy Organic Farms and Double B Farm. Shares run between $25 and $30 a week for a full share, typically between five to nine items a week of the current crops. The definition of season can vary by farm. Oxford offers spring and fall 13-week seasonal shares, and a summer, eight-week share, while Alcovy offers three 12-week seasons with the possibility of a winter season. Double Bee Farm in Oxford offers three 12-week shares at $30 per half share and $50 per full. There are 50 shares available each season at the Oxford College Organic Farm, Parson said. The spring season begins on April 28, and shares are nearly sold out. However, this year, the farm will sell produce at the city of Oxford’s Farmer’s Market off of Emory Street, on Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m. CSA share holders can pick

their weekly produce up there as well. There’s also a drop off site at Emory University.

trients in the soil through fertilizers such as blood- or bone-meal, and use only natural pesticides, if any.

Need in the community “We’re inspired by the need of the community for fresh food,” Parson said. “We’re inspired by the health department telling us we’re part of the food desert. We think there’s a need here, and we’re trying to serve people in our community first.” The Oxford College organic farm is certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Alcovy Organic Farms will be certified in July. The certification verifies compliance with USDA organic regulations and takes 36-months to prove compliance. Certifications must be renewed every year, and only certified producers can call themselves “organic,” according to USDA. Yellow Hen, Double B and Flying Horse farms are all Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) producers. CNG farms receive peer review certification, and grow crops without synthetic chemicals or genetically modified organisms (GMO). All three compost and build up nu-

Selecting weekly Both Yellow Hen Farm and Flying Horse Farm release a weekly list of what crops are available at what price. Customers place an order and the boxes are dropped off at a location weekly. Yellow Hen Farm drops boxes off on Thursday at Oxford College at 9:15 a.m. and Covington Square at 9:45 a.m. Glenna Wright and her husband Doug of Flying Horse Farm drop off their produce boxes at the Newton County Main Library branch on Thursday at noon. The Wrights also deliver in Madison and Rutledge on Wednesdays. “Not everyone wants the commitment of a CSA,” Wright said. “A lot of our customers have voiced the opinion on other occasions. They had specific things they wanted and they would end up with something they didn’t like or didn’t know how to cook.” Flying Horse Farms grows “a lot of heirloom vegetables,” she said, “those originally introduced no

Newcomers Guide 2017

later than the 1950s, though a lot from [varieties] grown as far back as the 1700s. They are seeds that predate the hybrids. Sometimes, they aren’t as beautiful as some of the vegetables in the store. Those are bred for a longer shelf life and the flavor has been bred out.” The Wrights say they believe it’s important to carry forward seeds that have been supplying food for generations and purchase their organic heirloom seeds online. The table and beyond Most of the farms grow similar items – varieties of spring greens such as kale, Swiss chard, arugula, collards; beets; sweet potatoes; melon; varieties of squash and other vegetables common to the area. Some may offer berries, watermelons, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Some, like Flying Horse Farm, offer blueberries, ginger and turmeric. Others offer melons and pea and bean varieties. In addition to seasonal vegetables, herbs and eggs, Yellow Hen Farm sells handcrafted soaps, moisturizer, scrubs and an all-natural

Ruth Geiger (left), farm apprentice, and Camille Mosley, Oxford College alumna and Emory University student, staff the Oxford College of Emory University Organic Farm’s booth at the Oxford farmers’ market.

mosquito repellent. “If a customer tells me they want something, I’ll explore it,” Ballard said. “I had a lady ask me about sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes.” “There’s a reason I sell my produce this way, instead of the grocery store,” agreed Parson. “If I did that, I’d never get to know my customers. I hear from customers

they like the same thing. “It’s a wonderful thing to have food growing in our communities,” he said. All of the farmers encourage people to come visit their farms and see how food is grown. “We’re on a small scale, and people can visit the farm,” Parson said. “It’s important for people to rec-


ognize the effort that goes in to growing food,” said Wright. “We touch every seed, pick every plant, pick off every bug “When people come out to see what’s actually done, it gives a new appreciation for what’s grown,” she said. All agree that there are significant benefits to buying produce and other agricultural products from local vendors. One benefit, Parson said, is the produce is “way fresher. It takes days or weeks for things to get to the grocery store. We pick and pack the day before. It’s as fresh as anything you can get.” Like Parson, Vinson said her customers have said the fresher produce tastes better. “Customers often tell me that they’re amazed when lettuce that they purchased one or two weeks ago is still fresh in the refrigerator. They’re used to produce lasting only a few days after purchase. I think I’ve also read that the fresher produce is the more nutritious it is. “And, environmentally, food purchased locally has a smaller carbon footprint,” she said.

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Be your healthiest self. The Newton Health Center provides high quality, affordable healthcare for every phase of life. Walk-ins are welcome and many insurance plans are accepted. Call us today at 770-786-9086 or visit us on the web at Immunizations

Cancer Screenings

Lab Services

Family Planning

STD Clinic

Travel Clinic

School Screenings

Drug Testing

Women, Infant and Children (WIC)

Newton Health Center 8203 Hazelbrand Road Covington, GA 30014 Tel: 770-786-9086 Web:

Healthy living starts here.

Get healthy-living inspirations every day at


Newcomer's Guide 2017-2018  
Newcomer's Guide 2017-2018