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Sunday, March 26, 2017  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 1D

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2D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 26, 2017

Coweta: County Projects

Following busy few years, county prepares for future By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL In 2016, many long-awaited Coweta County projects wrapped up or got under way. In 2017, work will continue on those projects, and the county will be finalizing its list of projects for the new Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. The vote on the county-wide 1 percent sales tax will be held in November, though the current tax doesn’t expire until December 2018. Each SPLOST lasts six years. Proceeds from the sales tax can be used on capital projects ranging from road work to parks and buildings. SPLOST money can’t be used on operations or to pay salaries not related to construction of the capital projects. “It’s a very important time for us to hear from the public on what their desi res a re,” sa id Coweta Cou nt y Administrator Michael Fouts. Road projects typically take up the lion’s share of SPLOST money, and that’s not expected to change. In the current SPLOST, $66 million – 82 percent – was dedicated to transportation projects. Each county department will be working on a proposed project list, and the county will host town hall-style meetings in April and May, Fouts said. The most visible SPLOST project that is currently underway is the construction of the new Leroy Johnson Park along Highway 16 in Senoia, which includes multiple sports fields under phase 1. Construction of the new Interstate 85 interchange at Poplar Road finally got underway in 2016. The interchange project is set to be complete in the first quarter of 2019, but the interchange itself might open to traffic a few months before that. The Newnan Bypass extension from

Turkey Creek Road to Hwy. 16, and the associated interchange improvement at Pine Road and U.S. Highway 29, opened to traffic in late 2016, and the nearby roundabout at the “five points” intersection of Poplar Road, Turkey Creek Road, East Newnan Road and Martin Luther King Drive also opened. Coweta’s next major road project is the first phase of the “Madras Connector.” This road will come off of Herring Road and will come into U.S. Hwy. 29 at Madras Parkway, in front of the Coweta County fire station. A bridge will go over the railroad and Herring Road, and the current railroad crossing at Herring Road will be closed. The road will eventually cross U.S. Hwy. 29 and intersect with Happy Valley Road, then link up with the proposed new I-85 interchange between the current interchanges at Hwy. 154 and Bullsboro Drive. An extension of Hollz Parkway will be the other side of the interchange. As part of the new interchange project, Amlajack Boulevard and Coweta Industrial Parkway will be extended to connect to each other, and Madras Parkway will intersect with the connected industrial road. Phase 1 of Madras Parkway is currently being engineered, and construction is set for 2020. Fouts said county staff will be asking the county commissioners to go ahead and move forward with Phase 2, which goes to Happy Valley, at the same time. The timeframe for the interchange itself is to be determined. “The key to it is establishing roadways to connect to the interchange, which would then justify the funding request,” Fouts said. “The challenge today is there is not much east-west connectivity.” Hopes are that the increased funding from the changes to the state gasoline tax that took effect last summer will help


Construction of the new Interstate 85 interchange at Poplar Road finally got underway in 2016. The interchange project is set to be complete in the first quarter of 2019.

speed along the new interchange. Roads aren’t the only things Coweta is working on in 2017. A new county website is set to launch in the next few months. It’s the first major upgrade in around eight years, said Patricia Palmer, Coweta’s director of community and human relations. In working on the new site, “we have been able to look at data in terms of usage and what the desires are to try to make that the focus – what are people most interested in seeing, what do they want to know?” explained Fouts. The new website will also integrate with the county’s social media accounts. The county’s website has a “massive amount of information, if you know how to find it,” said Palmer. Making it easier

to find is a big part of the upgrade. One way things will be easier to find is individual pages on the county’s website will have more logical addresses. People will also be able to do more things online, including reserving county facilities. The new website should be live in late spring. The housing market in Coweta is continuing to grow – and so is the population. “I think the next couple of years with us is going to be focused on preparing for the anticipated economic growth – making sure we make needed improvements in infrastructure, in staffing and any changes we need to serve the community,” Fouts said.

Coweta Water and Sewer: tremendous strides in 10 years By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL The Coweta County Water and Sewerage Authority has come a long way in the past decade.

Soon after the change was made to set up the county water department an independent authority, the authority embarked on a long – and expensive – switch to copper

piping. The authority’s system was riddled with defective polybutylene pipe, which was causing frequent leaks and the loss of nearly half the water the authority sent through the


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Sunday, March 26, 2017  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 3D

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4D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 26, 2017

Coweta: Water & Sewer

Coweta sewer system continues to expand By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL Though the “water” part of the Coweta Water and Sewerage Authority touches everyone i n t he u n i ncor porated parts of Coweta, sewer is a crucial component for industrial and commercial growth. Over the past several years, there have been big changes in the authority’s sewer service. Under county regulations, sewer is mostly for commercial


Continued from page 2D To cut down on disconnections for nonpayment, customers who are nearing disconnection get automated calls reminding them about their bill. As disconnection gets closer, customers get phone calls from representatives. T he lea k i n su ra nce , t he remote read meters and the phone calls are fairly new. A leak on the customer’s side of the meter can quickly use up many thousands of gallons of water, leading to water bills in the hundreds – or thousands – of dollars. The authority has long offered “leak adjustment” pricing, but customers with major leaks were still facing major bills. When the leak insurance program took effect in mid 2015, all residential customers were automatically enrolled with $1,000 of coverage, for the cost of $2 per month. Customers could go up to $2,000 coverage for $4, or opt-out with a written notice. A similar program is offered for commercial

and industrial growth. It has also been approved for some high-density multi-family projects. The 2 million gallon per day Shenandoah Wastewater Treatment Plant is running at about half capacity. Once capacity hits 80 percent, it will be time to talk about upgrades. The plant was designed to be easily expanded for increased capacity. In 2014, a sewer line was completed to ser ve Popla r Road Elementary School and

E a st Cowet a H ig h School . Businesses along the line were offered the chance to sign up. Only two did. W hen the authority completed lay i ng a sewer l i ne along the new section of the bypass to Highway 16, business on U.S. Highway 29 at the interstate were offered the opportunity to tap on, too – if they paid for running of the line to connect to the authority. So far, there have been no takers.

Jay Boren, the authority’s CEO, expects that to change, eventually. The sewering of the Thomas Crossroads area was made possible by a private group that paid to run the lines, and then gets reimbursed whenever a new customer ties on. Perhaps something like that will happen, eventually, at U.S. Hwy. 29 South. A similar agreement is in place for any customers that may tie onto the line serving the schools – the school system will receive

some reimbursement for the cost of running the line with every new customer sign-up. T he nex t steps i n sewer include the future running of a sewer line to service Northgate High School, and a new sewer plant that will be built to serve the Twelve Parks and McIntosh Village developments just outside Sharpsburg. Developers of the two massive subdivisions will pay for the plant, which will then be turned over to the authority for operations.

customers. Under t he prog ra m , t he insurance amount is applied to the bill from the leak. If the bill is less than the insurance amount, the customer pays an average monthly bill. If the bill is more, the leak adjustment is then applied to the remaining balance. So far, the program has been very popular. “We’ve had a 95 percent-plus participation rate,” said CEO Jay Boren. There have been some customers who chose to opt out, then had pricey leaks. They soon decided to opt back in. When there are leaks, customers on the new remote-read meters, made by Sensus, find out about them quickly. Every morning, a leak report is run for the Sensus meters, said Tracy Thigpen, cross connection control supervisor. “Instead of being reactive, we try to be more proactive,” Thigpen said. “These meters can give us alarms and tell us if something is going on.” If the report shows a possible leak, staff will call customers. Thigpen said the report shows at least 65 potential leaks a day. Some aren’t leaks, just sprinkler systems running, but many are.

Customers appreciate the notice, Thigpen said. Normally it isn’t until crews read the meter once a month that they’ll notice something is going on. The rest of the authority’s meters are “radio read,” which means meter readers just have to drive by. If they notice high usage, they’ll stop, and leave a “door knocker” note. If the authority has someone’s phone number on file, they can call. But many customers don’t update their phone numbers. “It would be great if we had updated information,” said CFO Christine Swanson. “We want to be able to help you, but if we don’t have contact information …“ To update your contact information, call the authority at 770-254-3710. When authority staff don’t have t he best phone nu mber for you, they also can’t get in touch with you to let you know your account is pending disconnection. Just a few years ago, there could be around 200 disconnects per cycle, per month. “It would take two or three days to cut everybody off and cut them back on,” said Executive Business Manager Sandy

Grubbs. All the meter crews would be busy, and at least one crew would have to be pulled off construction to help with disconnections. The problem was made worse because the how billing cycles worked, a process since systematized. Disconnects are now down to around 30 or 35 a cycle, and sometimes as low as 15, Grubbs said. “Now one person can do all the cutoffs in a day,” Thigpen said. When it comes to paying the bill, the authority’s new billing system makes things easier. The new system launched several months ago, and customers who pay online no longer have to pay a processing charge. Customers can also set up an auto draft from a credit card or a bank. For many years, the authority has been locked into “take or pay” contracts that require it to buy more water than it can sell. Over the past few months, however, the authority has been producing a substantial amount of water – up to 3 million gallons per day – at the B.T. Brown Water Treatment Plant. For most of the plant’s existence, it was running just barely enough to maintain the plant. To give

the operators at the plant something to do, the authority got into water bottling, creating custom-labeled bottles. But that time has passed and the bottling plant isn’t currently being used. It’s for sale, if the authority can find someone to pay the right price. The authority’s larger contract, with Griffin, is in place until 2049, but the contract with Newnan Utilities expires at the end of 2019. Boren said there will probably be some kind of agreement with Newnan Utilities going forward but “I’m not going to get into a ‘take or pay’ that I can’t sell.” Currently, the authority gets 3 million gallons per day from Griffin and from Newnan Utilities. In 2022, the Griffin contract jumps to 5 million. And to take that five million, the authority will need to do a major pipe upgrade on the line that connects to Griffin. That’s the next major project in the works. For more information about t he Coweta Cou nt y Water and Sewerage Authority, visit or call 770-253-3710.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 5D

Public Safety: Coweta County Fire Department

Addressing the needs of a growing community By CLAY NEELY

One year ago, Chief Pat Wilson inherited a fire department that is continuing to oversee the needs of a rapidly growing community. Over the last several years, the demand for Emergency Medical Service has increased roughly 3 percent each year, according to Wilson. Last year, Coweta County Fire Rescue responded to almost 18,000 calls – the vast majority of them EMS-related. In an effort to manage the needs of an expanding population on a daily basis, the county and fire department are developing strategies to work as efficiently as possible. With the population growth comes the need to address staffing concerns in the department. While the fire department is currently meeting the required standards, it will be harder each year, Wilson said. A s 2020 approaches, t he

“Our strategy has always been all about what makes the most sense today, and how do we make it work for tomorrow based on what the funding may be without breaking the backs of our citizens,” Wilson said. possibility of the population exceeding 100,000 in unincorporated Coweta will mean the need for the fire department to take over business inspections. Currently, the state of Georgia handles the workload for Coweta, which is estimated to be around 1,400, according to Wilson. “If you look at our growth, by 2020, we will inherit roughly 2,500 to 3,000 properties we’ll be responsible for inspecting,” Wilson said. T he need for add it ion a l ambulances is also looming. According to Wilson, there are days when the department is running EMS calls all day long. But Wilson said he’s not worried yet. “We’re working with our

county administrators to make the best plan possible,” Wilson said. “The relationship shared between our department and the county is excellent, and you don’t see many communities that have that.” “Our strategy has always been all about what makes the most sense today, and how do we make it work for tomorrow based on what the funding may be without breaking the backs of our citizens,” Wilson said. Wilson said the department is also looking at how technology can help out with first responders, including the use of drones. “We’ve had conversations with the sheriff’s office about how something like that would help alleviate the need for helicopters for things like search

and rescue operations,” Wilson said. “In a fire or hazmat situation, you can send in a drone to get vital information without risking the safety of a person.” A not her way t he depa rtment is attempting to reduce its heavy call volume for medical emergency calls is introducing the concept of community paramedicine. Some r ura l patients lack access to primary care, and use 911 services for non-urgent health care. This is a burden for volunteer EMS personnel in rural areas. Community paramedics who work in a primary care role can meet the needs of rural residents in a more efficient and proactive way. “This isn’t home nursing, but checking in on those with

specific illnesses that we track as high risk for hospital trips,” Wilson said. “It’s the next step for EMS.” The move towards accreditation remains a large goal for Wilson and the department. Wilson looks to begin the process within the next year. The accreditation process takes roughly two years to complete and places the department under a microscope to analyze total response times, identifying procedural changes and modifications, and analyzing any gaps. Wi lson sa id t hat becoming accredited demonstrates a department is committed to continuous improvement, serving the community efficiently and providing a safe and effic ient env i ron ment for a l l employees. “It forces us to look at every piece of our operation,” he said. “If we can do better, we will. It helps us reach those benchmarks of service quality.”

Public Safety: Coweta County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff’s office keeps an eye on needs, growth By CLAY NEELY

As the number of residents continues to climb, the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office is looking forward to a number of changes the department hopes will improve the safety of its officers and the people of the county. One of the priorities, according to Sheriff Mike Yeager, is attempting to maintain a strong classification system at the jail. Inmates are currently classified as minimum, medium and maximum.

Other defining characteristics of inmates include those with medical issues and the female population, which is pushed beyond the jail’s original capabilities. While the jail itself is only 26 years old, the needs of 1991 are different than 2017, Yeager believes. When the jail was completed, the sheriff’s office had 122 total positions. Now, 26 years later, the staff has doubled to 245 personnel, while the population has tripled since then. T he jail was intended to

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house 32 female inmates. Currently, the jail hosts a female population around 70. Many of the younger inmates are also claiming a gang affiliation of some sort which pushes the issue of inmate safety to the forefront. “We’re fortunate because it’s not an issue of overcrowding,” Yeager said. “But in order to maintain order and security, you don’t want people with minor misdemeanor charges mixing with the hard-nosed felons.” Yeager would like to see an

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additional pod with a dormitory setting that could house 150 inmates who are classified as a minimum- to medium-security risk. The idea is to take the load off the two primary pods and get back to single bunk housing for those with more serious charges. For this, they expect they will expand toward the site of the old jail, which was demolished. Whenever the addition does happen, the department will also work on renovating the old pods of the jail and updating

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their security technology. “It’s never ending, and everything changes,” Yeager said. “We’re just trying to keep up and make sure we stay safe and secure.” Video visitation has also helped increase security at the jail without the expense of more manpower. The Coweta County Jail was one of the last county jails in Georgia that allowed visitors to meet with inmates face-toface, Yeager said. There were

CCSO, page 8D

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6D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 26, 2017

Newnan-Coweta Board of REALTORS ®

Million Dollar Club 2016 Silver Phoenix Members

Thomas (Chip) Barron

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Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

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Sunday, March 26, 2017  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 7D

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8D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 26, 2017

Public Safety: Coweta County Fire Department

Newnan Police continue push toward community policing By CLAY NEELY

As the Newnan Police Department enters its third year at their new facility, the department continues to focus on furthering officers’ training and becoming more involved with the community. Corporal Edward Lee serves as community relations officer with the Newnan Police Department. Since taking the job in 2015, Lee has hit the ground running in an effort to provide more outreach programs aimed at youth. “Lee is just a laid-back, grounded, good officer,” said Newnan Police Chief D.L. “Buster” Meadows. “And most importantly, he knows how to talk to both grownups and kids.” In 2017, the Guitars Not Guns program will enter its third year in Newnan. The course is an eight-week program that provides foster children and at-risk youth with an alternative to violence through guitars and music lessons. Lee handles this partnership for the police department, and has high hopes for what the program will continue to do for the kids. “The great thing about the guitar is that it occupies the hands and the mind,” Lee said. “It stimulates both the left and right side of the brain, and we hope to continue this program for as long as possible.”


Newnan Police Chief D.L. “Buster” Meadows.

The program was started in California in 2000 by retired musician Ray Nelson and his wife, Lulie, and works with youth to help them appreciate the power of music. There are currently 15 chapters in 12 states. The Newnan Police Department is currently the only department hosting the course in the state of Georgia. Along with the Guitars Not Guns program, the department offers tennis lessons through an NPD partnership with the Southern Crescent Tennis Association and the Explorer program, which gives

youth an opportunity to develop an interest in law enforcement and improve leadership skills, citizen engagement and teamwork. All the programs are examples of Lee’s proactive game plan to not only keep the youth engaged, but to foster a relationship between them and law enforcement. According to Lee, the reception from the public with these programs has been incredibly positive – many citing they like to see the programs go year-round. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to do that right now,” Lee said. “But the fact that the programs have been so well-received is a really positive sign for the community.” Other initiatives presented by the police department include car seat inspections in the Babies “R” Us parking lot, an Easter Egg Hunt hosted at the Central Education Center, and a softball tournament to help funding for the various programs. Due to the success of the programs, the police department now plans to hire a second community relations officer to assist Lee with current programs and to help develop even more, fresh ideas. “The last few years have been really busy with these programs, so I think another community relations officer will really help out a whole lot,” Lee said.


Continued from page 5D problems with visitors attempting to bring contraband, such as marijuana or lewd photos, into the jail when they visited, Yeager said. The video visitation center was able to cut that out. Instead, visitors now speak to inmates via computers in the center – they see each other on the computer screens and converse through headsets. The only people who are be able to visit inmates in person are their attorneys, Yeager said. In the past, Yeager also has asked the county about the possibility of getting some of those bed spaces at county work release facility to be part of the minimum security jail annex. T hose w it h m isdemeanor charges or facing sentences up to 120 days in jail would be housed at the work-release facility where they could be put to work, rather than taking up a bed at the county jail, Yeager said. “ I don’ t t h i n k t h e average person realizes the complex system we have to undertake here at the jail,” Yeager said.

“It’s not as simple as getting arrested and getting a cell. We’re adamant about maintaining the best classification system we can.” The sheriff’s office has also added a “West Side precinct,” located in a small office space inside Fire Station 8 on Dixon Road. The idea behind the small space isn’t necessarily a 24-7 facility, but a place where residents in the western side of the county can avoid traveling to Newnan if they need to meet with a representative from the sheriff’s office. “ We h ad t a l ked i n years past about the idea, but didn’t think building a freestanding building was sensible,” Yeager said. “We were able to utilize some empty space at the fire station, and I think it’s a great idea.” A s Coweta Cou nt y continues to grow, Yeager knows that the need for more personnel will inevitably be addressed. However, the current proper t y on Grei son Trail has ample room to handle any type of expansion. “This a good facility, and we have the ability to expand when we see f it,” Yeager said. “We work hard to make everything count and utilize what we have.”

Community: Education

Whitlock helps shape educational model By REBECCA LEFTWICH Mark Whitlock started out studying education but figured out the classroom wasn’t for him. He earned a business degree and took a job in the banking industry, but the thought that education could better equip students for the real world never left him. “I was disappointed that education wasn’t more about helping you understand your career goals, what you really wanted to do,” Whitlock said. “My original goal was to teach, but I think after student teaching, I knew wasn’t for me. It shouldn’t be at the end of your four-year degree when you figure that out.” He spent 18 yea rs in ba n k i ng, t he last 1 5 of which he spent forging relationships with other banks and exporters around the world. Through managing global banking partnerships, Whitlock began to see a bigger financial picture emerging. “Bank of America helped me understand what kind of economy our children were going to face,” he said. “I thought the right kind of education could speed up the exchange. I hoped that it would.” Whitlock jumped at the chance to test that theory, moving back to Coweta County when he became CEO of the newly formed Central Educational Center, a cha r ter prog ra m developed by Cha mber of Commerce leaders, the Coweta County School System and West Georgia Technical College. Aimed at “seamless education,” Central was born from two years’ worth of work by a steering committee headed by the late Dr. Joe Harless, a behavioral psychologist whose ideas for educational change included educating students in an environment that simulated the real-life workplace as closely as possible. “All the work they did was on target,” said Whitlock , who had become

involved with the school system in the mid 1990s, investigating the chartering laws and helping grow a local Montessori school. “I knew I loved learning and education, and I knew it had been disappointing that education was not more focused on careers. There were a lot of good companies here, and it was a time period where everything pointed toward Coweta and Coweta was booming. “My personal hope was that I could keep finding things I was passionate about, and (CEC) was the intersection of all of that,” he said. He was homegrown, but Whitlock had never worked in Coweta as an adult. Harless and his committee had analyzed the situation and developed a system, so for Whitlock it was just a matter of connecting the dots. “All of the things we needed already existed,” he said. “We didn’t have to fix anything. We just had to figure out how to connect in a different way and make everything work. To fulfill our needs, we had to get all these players together to create the system and make it sustainable, make us capable of doing it over and over again. It didn’t mean you didn’t have to implement the design and tweak it, but it’s all collaboration by design.” T hat mea nt developing educational programs with the specific goal of a tailor-made local workforce – helping students explore their interests and strengths while providing curriculum and opportunities to match them with Coweta’s busi ness a nd industry needs. And CEC has been so successful that it is the basis for the state’s College and Career Academy model. More than 500 groups from Georgia and across the U.S. as well as from 16 other nations have visited CEC to study its model, and Whitlock travels to other communities to help them with replication efforts. Central was recently designated one of 30 replicable high school reform model programs in the

active in the broader business and education community, as a past chairman of and current board member of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce and a past president of the Technical College Foundation Association. He currently serves on the West Georgia Technical College Foundation’s board of trustees. But the bulk of his work still takes place at CEC, where he says he has a lot of ground to cover as Central moves toward Harless’ idea of taking educational programming as close as possible to simulating the real workplace. For instance, there is a recent partnership with the Samaritan Dental Clinic to allow dental assisting students a chance to work with a volunteer dentist to serve uninsured patients. “To me, that’s the most exciting thing to see, taking these programs even closer to what these workplaces really look like,” he said. “This is fun. I get to see these young people making real progress, making cool decisions and gaining

United States by the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE). Dr. Anthony Chow conducted research on CEC for his book, “Systems Thinking and 21st Century Education: A Case Study of an American Model for High School Educational Reform.” Whitlock has continued Harless’ work as one of seven original mentors with Arizona State University’s Leadership for Educational Entrepreneurs program, a master’s degree program combining M.Ed. and MBA curricula to train leaders who positively impact student learning, maintain financial responsibilities and thrive in an increasingly market-based s y s t e m fo r A m e r i c a ’s schools. Closer to home, Whitlock has chaired Georgia’s Charter Advisory Committee since its formation. The CAC assists local school systems and the state board of education in developing plans that allow local school systems flexibility from federal regulatory plans. He has remained


Mark Whitlock discusses plans for the new cohort of apprentices during a recent Georgia Consortium for Advanced Technical Training team meeting.

incredible skills.” A n d d e s p i t e C E C ’s international acclaim and its becoming the basis for legislative change, Whitlock still insists the real magic is right in his own backyard. “It’s more fun to think

about the idea that in Coweta County, we have all the people and all the things we need to create innovative stuff,” he said. “We don’t have to wait on Washington, D.C. to do stuff that’s beneficial for our community.”


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Sunday, March 26, 2017  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 9D

Community: Education

CEC at intersection of education, industry By REBECCA LEFTWICH As schools scramble to meet workforce demands, Coweta County’s Central Educational Center continues to set the pace for partnerships between education and local business and industry. Georgia’s College and Career Academies are modeled on CEC, allowing high schools throughout the state to offer an ever-widening range of accelerated dual-enrollment opportunities in technical education; its beefed-up work-based learning strategy and alignment with West Georgia Technical College paved the way for local implementation of the first German-style apprenticeship program in the country; and the accomplishments and focus of CEC have brought it wide acclaim as a high school reform model. “The sum total is that CEC is the model program for the state that connects business, school systems and technical colleges in an intentional effort to systematically impact economic development by

ensuring competitive talent for current and future careers with ‘talent’ becoming younger and younger ages,” said Mark Whitlock, Central’s CEO. CEC was established via a two-year steering committee led by the late Dr. Joe Harless, a behavioral psychologist whose goal was to educate students in an environment that mimics the real-world workplace as closely as possible. Then-Superintendent Richard Brooks engaged Harless after local business representatives approached the Coweta County School System, asking for help. Typical high school graduates were unprepared for the new workplace, which was being shaped by the onset of global business, downsizing and automation, they said, and no model existed. “They said, ‘Let’s develop something unique in Coweta,’” Whitlock said. In the nearly two decades Central has served students, innovation – along with an emphasis on work ethic in all instructional programs – has been its trademark. Whitlock credits Coweta County business

and industry for guiding CEC’s work. “The most engaged business community in Georgia is here in Coweta County,” he said. “The group has done more to engage with education than anywhere else in the nation that I have visited. We may have great examples of single large companies who engage in other communities, but no similar across-the-board effort like in Coweta.” Focusing on workforce development at a younger and younger age doesn’t just benefit companies. It’s important for entire communities, Whitlock said, and for hard-to-reach students who may become interested enough in a course of study to not only graduate, but pursue further education. “We just can’t afford to lose kids, because we’ve got to have skilled young people to drive our economy,” Whitlock said. It’s why Central keeps its finger on the pulse of the shifting business and industry trends, constantly taking stock of new and changing trends and expanding

UWG-Newnan looks ahead to master plan, buildout By REBECCA LEFTWICH When the University of West Georgia’s Newnan campus opened its doors to students in 2014, the history of the former Newnan Hospital building became part of its future. Former exam rooms morphed into nursing simulation suites; original tile and operating room lights remained, even as as cavernous lecture halls and high-tech labs took shape. Workforce needs demand focus on health care and education, and with those components firmly in place, UWG is taking a new look at the space – particularly at the 24,000 buildable square feet already available on campus. The sale of UWG’s Shenandoah property will fund the buildout, and new space will be designated for programs that address workforce needs beyond what the institution already estab-

lished in Coweta. The build-to-grow model is as bygone as UWG-Newnan’s days as a working hospital. A fresh facility plan calls for flexible, state-of-the-art spaces that will serve growing demand while maximizing resources, according to university officials. It’s a universal issue where higher learning is concerned. Institutions are seeking to make use of existing space and many, like UWG, are looking to the Education Advisory Board’s “Campus 2025” model, designing multi-functional space, active classrooms and flexible/shared research labs. But it’s not just about the structure. UWG partnered with the West Georgia Center for Business and Economic Research to determine those needs, and that research will help guide the university’s hand in developing not only programs but facility design and student services to support those programs. Research results

opportunities for the students who will soon join the workforce. For instance, the CEC board of directors recently approved a diesel mechanics program after a presentation of economic data collected by West Georgia Technical College. A greater emphasis on real-world computer programming will be bolstered by new cybersecurity courses, with an eye toward new cybersecurity facilities in Augusta and Brookhaven. While CEC’s work is hailed as “reform,” a term often used in educational circles, supporters of industry-driven instruction prefer a more open-ended, business-oriented concept: Continuous improvement. “Continuous improvement is a lot of new and different things, and that’s why it’s exciting,” Whitlock said. “You’re always working in a direction, never finished, so there’s always something to do. You’re always reanalyzing needs, redesigning what you need to do in the next iteration… It’s the intersection of education and business, and CEC is designed to be that.”


Grey areas indicate unused space – including the three-story former nurses’ dormitory on the right – which the University of West Georgia plans to utilize on its Newnan campus.

will be included in the University of West Georgia-Newnan’s Academic Master Plan, which will be rolled out this spring. "This is a very innovative and deliberate approach to how we operate in the 21st century,” said university President Kyle Marrero. “It is very important that our programs are aligned with the current needs of our students and the workforce." The plan is designed to reveal the uni-

versity’s far-reaching vision for its Newnan campus, something Marrero said he looks forward to sharing. "We are very excited about the future vision for UWG Newnan, to build on all the wonderful accomplishments we have made already,” he said. “We are so thankful for the overwhelming support from our partners in the Newnan-Coweta community in this effort."

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10D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 26, 2017

Community: Sports

High School sports alive and well in Coweta By DOUG GORMAN No matter the sport, fans in Coweta County have a passion for their favorite high school teams. In recent months, high schools in the county have produced state championships and sent a host of athletes on to the college ranks after signing scholarship offers. It’s all part of the busy local high school sports scene. This past season, the Georgia High School Association jumped from six classifications to seven. With the changes, Newnan and East Coweta moved into Region 2-AAAAAAA, while Northgate jumped to Region 5-AAAAAA. All three teams will stay in those regions and classifications at least through the 201718 school year when again the GHSA plans to realign schools through the state based on their enrollment size. The Heritage School and Trinity Christian play at a high level in the Georgia Independent School Association. Thanks to their success, two state GISA championships now rest in Coweta County. On a cool, crisp Friday night in the fall, local fans flock to their favorite high school campuses for a football game. High School softball fans can spend the early part of the fall cheering on their favorite players and teams, all with the same goal in mind, to make it to Columbus and Elite Eight Tournament with the hopes of bringing home a state title. That’s exactly what happened to East Coweta last fall as the Lady Indians were one of the last

eight teams playing in the Class AAAAAAA tournament before losing twice in Columbus to end their season. Jump ahead to the winter and fans can choose between high school basketball and high school wrestling to get their sports fix, and in the spring, there’s a whole menu of options to whet the sports fan’s appetite, including baseball, soccer, track, lacrosse, golf and tennis. In the fall, Trinity Christian won the GISA volleyball title, their fifth in six years, in a match that came down to five-set thriller against rival Heritage. However, it was in basketball where the county had some of its best success. Led by head coach Justin Stephens, the Central Lady Crusaders captured their second straight GICAA title, this time with an perfect 24-0 record. “We have a good group of seniors who are responsible for the state titles, and they are going to be missed,” Stephens said. “I am looking forward to getting started, because we have a good group of players coming back.” The Heritage Lady Hawks brought home a state title in basketball with a victory over Gatewood at Mercer University in Macon. It came after a few near misses. It was the Lady Hawks’ fourth straight trip to the GISA Final Four, but the first three years, they lost in the semifinals. “I hate that our win had to come against my good friend, (head coach) Josh Daher of Gatewood, but that’s how it goes,” said coach D.J. Clay after winning the title. “Josh told me before the basketball season started that our


Heritage’s Kara Groover dribbles past a Frederica defender in the first round of the GISA state tournament.

teams would face each other for the state title, and that’s exactly how it happened. It will probably hit me later that we are the state champions.” Heritage’s boys basketball team also had one of its best seasons in school history, also advancing to the GISA Final Four where it lost to Holy Spirit. Heritage and Holy Spirit are each in the same region and played four times this season, with the Hawks winning the first meeting before Holy Spirit took the next three contests, including a 63-44 victory in the finals. Last spring, both Trinity and Heritage also advanced to the GISA Final Four in baseball. One of the biggest changes on

the local high school sports landscape will be this fall on the football field. All five local high schools will have new head football coaches next year. At East Coweta, former South Gwinnett’s John Small takes over for Steve Pardue, who retired from high school coaching and has been named the new head coach at LaGrange College. Newnan High School recently hired Chip Walker as its new football coach, taking over for Mike McDonald, who stepped down after eight years patrolling the sidelines for the Cougars. Northgate will a lso be in search of a new head coach after Tommy Walburn recently retired

after an 18-year coaching career, including seven seasons as head coach with the Vikings. “This is something I have thought about for a while now,” Walburn said. “I just didn’t want to do it on emotion. I have been coaching for a long time, and no matter when I announced it, it wasn’t going to be an easy decision. I feel like the program is on solid ground, and we have accomplished a lot here.” Trinity recently hired former Landmark Christian head coach Kenny Dallas. Heritage is also looking to hire a new coach after Clay decided to stay on as the girls basketball coach, but has given up his football coaching duties.

Community: Nonprofits

Local nonprofits offer variety of charity runs By MAGGIE BOWERS Nonprofit organizations are an important part of the commun it y i n Coweta Count y, attending the needs of the underserved, bringing awareness and allowing local youth to achieve not only goals, but often deserved recognition. In addition to local groups providing assista nce, however, several also encourage fitness — particularly those that include a walk or race as part of an annual fundraising effort. Assistant City Manager for the city of Newnan, Hasco Craver, is known for making the most of the historic downtown by jogging along the streets as part of his own fitness regimen. Craver can also be found participating in local charity races. “Participating in local road races not only provides me with the opportunity to join fellow runners on a tour of our beau-

tiful community, but allows me to support the various nonprofit and community-based coordinating organizations,” Craver said. He added that running, in general, has benefitted his life in myriad ways. “Perseverance, dedication, and commitment are skills honed while logging miles or training for a distance race. I never run against a clock,” Craver said. “I run against myself: the best of me.” Another community leader, Kelly Preston, is not only a charity race participant, but the founder of a local nonprofit. Preston established RACE for the Orphans five years ago in an effort to help Coweta families in the process of adopting children both domestically and internationally. According to Preston, participating in local charity runs is a “win-win.” “The charitable organization


Run for Angels, benefitting Angel’s House children’s shelter, takes place annually in Newnan in February.

wins because participants help provide what the organization needs, i.e., funds for adopting families,” Preston noted. “At the same time, the participants win because they are supporting causes that help improve the lives of people in their community — and that is something

beneficial to the heart, soul, mind and body.” Ot her com mun it y leaders who are likely to be spotted pounding the pavement in local charity race events include Mayor Keith Brady, Newnan City Council member Rhodes Shell, and well-known

real estate representative Parks Avery.

Wintry runs Charities host walks and races throughout the year in Coweta, including the cooler,

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Sunday, March 26, 2017  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 11D

Community: What to do

Food and fun in Coweta and beyond By MAGGIE BOWERS Whether rooted in tradition or fresh and appealing to the young (or young at heart), Coweta continues to be a destination for locals seeking a variety of activities, most of which are unique to the cities and small towns that make up the nearly 450 square miles of the county. Despite decades of growth that has brought the county a host of shopping, movie theaters, live music venues, shopping, and a seemingly endless array of restaurants, Coweta maintains a reputation of being county of small towns with all of the charm and open countryside the “small town” title insinuates. Every type of business can be found in one area, observed Robert Bhagwandat, director of franchise development for Checkers and Rally’s. The county, he noted, is very much self-contained. “And, residents like to do business with one another,” Bhagwandat said. “Many travel to Atlanta, but most do only when they have to.” Dining, as the developer would likely agree, is often considered entertainment. At the very least, an evening on the town generally begins with a meal, and if the food isn’t enough, the trend in Coweta is to offer guests both dinner and a show. In the hub of the county, Newnan, several eateries offer live music, evenings of trivia and card games in addition to supper. The Cellar Chop House and Bar, located at 20 Jefferson Street in downtown Newnan, serves up five-star dishes like prime beef steaks and wild game burgers while popular music bands perform on a small stage overlooking both indoor and outdoor tables. Behind the upscale eatery is RPM Full


Continued from page 10D and sometimes even rainy days. Newnan resident Brannon Pass said the 2016 Glow Light Your World Run, a popular race held annually in December, left some participants a bit wet, but didn’t stop more than 1,000 locals from joining the fun. “Despite everything, the residents and friends managed to come together and raise more than ever,” Pass said of the 2016 event. The glow run benefits Bridging the Gap, a charity which aims to provide food, toiletries, household items and Christmas gifts to locals in need. Pass pointed out that one of the best aspects of the event is its ability to bring so much of the local c om m u n it y to g e t h e r, “including those of all ages and generations.” “There were mommies at the race with babies in strollers. Some strollers were even decorated with Christmas lights,” Pass noted. “Elizabeth Crain, who is in her 70s, was also a participant. It is so amazing to see that.”

Other cool-weather runs include:

Service Patio Pub & Grill, which offers an even more relaxed atmosphere where karaoke nights and local bands can be enjoyed. The restaurant is a unique, “upcycled” venue created from the bones of the city’s old downtown service station. Just a short walk away from the service station-turned eatery is another among many examples in the city of repurposed business venues. Once the town’s movie theatre, The Alamo, located at 19 South Court Square now offers a full service bar and an all-access pass to the adjoining Fabiano’s Pizzeria, which serves a variety of handmade pizza, sandwiches and salads. The venue draws crowds of all ages with a showcase of local, musical talent. Food and drink can also be enjoyed as part of a variety of annual events and celebrations in the area. Downtown Newnan plays host to activities locals return to year after year such as the Taste of Newnan, where local eateries offer samples of dishes to the public, and Summer Wined-Up, an event that includes local businesses opening late to offer samples of wine and snacks to local shoppers. Entertainment sans a focus on food is available throughout Coweta as well, and the pride county residents have in both history and tradition is evident throughout the area. Each city offers a unique celebration of culture in the form of parades, cook-offs, fairs and museums showcasing the town’s prized treasures. In the center of the county, the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society is the source for locals and guests with a penchant for exploring the history, culture and art of the city. Jeff Bishop, the society’s executive director, works alongside several community leaders to

The Purple Run and health fair benef itting the Community Welcome House, a charity that provides shelter and support to women and children who have been victims of domest ic v iolence , takes place in October in Newnan. ( Piedmont New na n Hospital hosts the annual Autum n Chase r un in Newnan in October. The event benefits the programs at the nonprofit hospita l’s f itness center, which offers a numb er of pro g r a m s a nd exercise equipment to Coweta residents. (www. autumn-chase) Pacing for Preemies, benefitting the March of Dimes in Georgia, occurs in Newnan’s Ashley Park in November. Coweta CASA Justice League 5/10K, benefitting Coweta CASA, occurred for t h e f i r s t t i m e i n November 2016 in Senoia. The organization trains and supports community volunteers that advocate for the best interests of an abused or neglected child in juvenile court proceedings. (www.cowetacasa. org) Run for Life, benefitting Coweta Pregnancy Services will celebrate

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its third annual event in October 2017. The race takes place in Ashley Park in Newnan. ( The majority of charity runs in Coweta serve a s q u a l i f i e r s for t h e Peachtree Road Race, one of the largest events for runners in the state with nearly 60,000 participants each year. Qualifying races are managed by professional groups, with chip-timing available and run times posted online fo l l o w i n g t h e e ve n t . Awards for race winners in categories based on age are also given at the majority of local charity runs.

Other Coweta 5/10K fundraising runs include: Run for Angels, benefitting Angel’s House chil-

offer programming and exhibits at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum, located at 74 Jackson Street and the Train Depot at 60 East Broad Street. “Our exhibits are constantly evolving, from World War II to the history of black schools to ladies’ lingerie. We have a little bit for everyone, from adults to kids to families,” said Bishop. Theatre in Coweta, according to Bishop, has its own rich history, which began with traveling productions offered to townspeople for both education and entertainment. Newnan is home to a nonprofit theater group which has been entertaining audiences for more than 30 years. The Newnan Theatre Company produces up to 10 shows each year for audiences of all ages. The staff is comprised solely of volunteers, including directors, actors and backstage assistants. In addition to comedic and dramatic productions, Newnan’s local theatre offers improvisational comedy performances, interactive murder mystery evenings, special events and theater camps for children. In the nearby city of Tyrone, The Legacy Theatre is a professional, forprofit organization with actors who travel nationally. The Legacy Theatre is located at 1175 Senoia Road, Suite C in Tyrone. In south Fulton County, Serenbe Playhouse offers a feature unique to modern-day performances, but original to the origins of theater. All Playhouse productions are performed outdoors by repurposing existing structures, using nature as props, and using as much natural light as possible. Offering theatre, comedy, magic performances and a variety of other cultural events for audiences of all ages, dren’s shelter, takes place annually in Newnan in February. ( The annual Royal Run takes place in Newnan in March and benefits Keris Kares, Inc., a local nonprof it wh ich provides hope for families with a childhood cancer diagnosis by providing spiritual, emotiona l, a nd f i na ncial support. ( T he New na n Ju n ior Service Leag ue Shamrock Run is held annually in Newnan in March, and benefits a different local nonprofit each year. The 2017 race benefitted the A ngel’s House. (w w w. Abby’s Angels Rainbow Run, benefitting the Abby’s Angels Foundation which provides school supplies and other items

Caring, Teaching, Reaching

The Donald W. Nixon Centre for the Performing and Visual Arts is an entertainment venue that encompasses much of what the county has to offer, all in one place. The Nixon Centre is considered by many to be the crown jewel of Newnan, providing not only entertainment, but education as well. “Because the Centre functions as an extension of the classroom, it allows students, patrons and citizens of the county to continue learning, as well as bringing in new master classes,” explained the Centre’s Director, Cathe Nixon. Tourists and locals alike find Senoia to be both an escape from the buzz of a busy downtown and the ideal place in which to be entertained — or, at least, learn about the entertainment industry. Senoia is popular with fans of AMC’s hit show “The Walking Dead.” With recognizable streets on which the show was filmed, and a themed restaurant and gift shop, Senoia attracts flocks of TWD followers. The city even has its own version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with plaques showing the dozens of TV shows and movies shot there in the last few years. Coweta is also home to Chattahoochee Bend State Park, a 2,910-acre tract of wilderness the northwest portion of the county. The park is haven for paddlers, campers and hikers in addition to hosting several family-friendly outdoor activities for all ages. Picnic shelters at the park can be rented for birthday parties, reunions and other gatherings, and the nature preserve is dog-friendly – making Chattahoochee Bend State Park an ideal entertaining space for the entire family.

for local youth in addition to supporting families whose children have given life through organ donation, takes place each year in April in Newnan. ( Soles for Cole 5K, benef itting those affected by Cystic Fibrosis, takes place in Newnan in the month of May. (w w w. Relay for Life of Coweta County benef its the American Cancer Society and take place annually in May in Newnan. (www. RACE for the Orphans, benefitting adoptive families in Coweta, is held in Newnan in May. (www. Newnan High School Student & Veteran Connec t 5 K i s a n a n nu a l fundraiser created by the

Newnan High School history club to benefit local veterans. The event takes place annually in Newnan in May. Race for Hope to Cure Blood Cancers, sponsored by t he Ca ncer Treatment Centers of America Southeastern in Newnan, benef its the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and is held annually in Newnan in June. Sunrise on the Square Race takes place in downtown Newnan each year in September and benefits Communities In Schools of Coweta County, whose mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. (www.


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12D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 26, 2017

Business: Entertainment

More business moves in, medical mecca expands By KANDICE BELL Coweta County is growing economically and more businesses are moving to the area, particularly manufacturing businesses. The Coweta County Development Authority has recently announced several new projects that include manufacturers.

New manufacturers in Coweta A new Mingledorff distribution center has opened a facility at Creekside Business Park off of Highway 34 in Newnan. Mingledorff is a distributor of HVAC equipment and has 33 locations in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and South Carolina. NYCO America, a maker of specialty lubricants in the aviation market, has brought their U.S. headquarters and operating platform to Shenandoah Industrial Park in Newnan. NYCO officially opened in January. Lowell Smith, NYCO sales director, has lived in Newnan for 17 years and said the city’s location was ideal for business. “The location is strategic in order to provide lubricants in the aviation industry,” Smith said. “Our products are manufactured in Belgium. Bringing products into U.S., we’ll use the ports of Savannah and Miami.” Smith said the company had been searching for the ideal

By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL F r om s le e py l itt le tow n to i nter n a t ion a l tou r i st at t raction, Senoia keeps on growing. The city’s downtown shopping district is getting a significant expansion with several new commercial buildings built along Main Street and Barnes Street. The new buildings on Main face inward – creating a pedestrian walkway to the new development on Barnes. There’s commercial on the ground floor, and 10 residential lofts of the second floor. Most of t he project should be done in the next few months, w it h t he new restaurant being completed as early as June, according to developer and f ilm studio president Scott Tigchelaar. The restaurant, Bistro Hilary, will be run by the same chef who owns The Hil in Serenbe. The project has ended up taking much longer tha n expected but, “I think the end result is really adding something special to downtown,” Tigchelaar said. Fi lm i ng for “T he Walking Dead” will be gea ri ng up soon, a nd fans of the show continue to flock to Senoia to see where it’s made a nd tr y to catch a glimpse of the show’s stars. Tigchelaar said that filming of “The Walking Dead” still occupies the entire Raleigh Studios facility just outside town, and the Gin Proper t y resident i a l a rea continues to be the site of “Alexandria.” Once the show is done w it h A lex a nd r ia , t he Gin Property development will be f inished out, Tigchelaar said. B u t h ow lon g t h a t will be remains to be seen. “It is sort of up for debate on how long they’ll continue to provide that show,” he said. S e n o i a ’s n e w c i t y manager, Harold Sim-

location for a while before finding the Coweta property. “Newnan has a really great environment for growing companies, and, to be honest, this facility met every one of our needs,” Smith said. N YCO America also purchased two adjoining properties in the Shenandoah Industrial Park in late August, and installed a variety of safety, fire protection, health equipment and emergency devices prior to occupying the office area. In a prev ious New na n Times-Herald interview, NYCO America CEO James Mustacchio said the manufacturing sector of the business should be operating in 2019, which would raise the number of employees to between 12 and 15. He also said the logistics of the location is good for business. Coweta County Development Authority President Greg Wright said NYCO marked the second international company to locate to Coweta within last nine months. Blickle U.S.A., which manufactures and distributes wheels and casters, located its U.S. headquarters in Coweta County in October. “This is a great testimony to competitiveness of our community,” Wright said in an email statement. Wright said Coweta’s close proximity to Hartsfield- Jackson International Airport and I-85 also make the county competitive for business.

“A lot of it has to do with ex i s t i n g i ndu s t r i a l ba s e ,” Wright said. “Coweta is viewed as a very positive area for manufacturing. Yamaha and Niagara are well-recognized companies. Some of it has to do with the fact we put forth a lot of effort to take care of our existing companies and do what we can to meet their needs and help them be successful.” Other manufacturing prosp e c t s for C owe t a C ou nt y include a European manufacturing company that is considering several others sites in the county. That project is being led by the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Georgia Power. Officials with the prospect company visited Coweta recently to learn more about the community, mainly from a quality of life standpoint. Va riety W holesa lers Inc. established its second major distribution center in here in Coweta County last year and is expected to add at approximately 320 jobs. Rose’s Express, a retail merchandising store, opened late last year in Newnan’s Mercha nt ’s Crossi ng shoppi ng center.

Piedmont-Newnan plans to expand Piedmont-Newnan Hospital has received required state approval to move forward with a new interventional radiology area and a second catheterization lab.

The $5 million project was announced in February. The Newnan nonprofit health care center will renovate space on the hospital’s first floor and in the cardiology unit to include both an interventional radiology room and an additional cardiac catheterization lab. According to the hospital’s Communications Specialist Nicole Dillon, the facility’s latest additions will include topof-the-line imaging equipment and percutaneous coronary intervention. “PCI is used to relieve symptoms of coronary heart disease and reduce heart damage during or after a heart attack,” Dillon said. Dr. Ryan Crisel, an interventional cardiologist with Piedmont Heart Institute, said offering this service at the local hospital will provide “rapid intervention” and “better outcomes” for patients. In a press release, Crisel said patients suffering from heart attacks have “a 90-minute window to regain blood flow to the heart to prevent heart failure and save their life.” Coweta County has a higher-than-average rate of complications related to obstructive heart disease, with more than 30 percent of local adults being obese or inactive – or having high blood pressure, according to Piedmont. These specialized services in heart care will serve to further promote the hospital’s goal of allowing patients to seek treatment close to home.

“This is an exciting time for Piedmont Newnan as we continue to grow and add new services needed in our community,” said Mike Robertson, CEO of Piedmont Newnan in a previous Newnan Times-Herald interview. “Providing high quality, patient-centered care close to home is a top priority and has a positive impact on both the patient and their family. We thank our local community for their support and helping us grow.” Construction is expected to begin at the end of this month or the beginning of April and renovation projects at Piedmont-Newnan are expected to be completed this fall.

Piedmont-Newnan receives award The Leapfrog Group, a foundation established and funded by national employers who were seeking a way to improve health care, awarded Piedmont Newnan an A last spring and fall. Just 16 Georgia hospitals took an A in the new report. The grades are compiled using its own hospital survey and national performance measures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey and Health Information Technology Supplement.

New growth continues in Senoia mons, started work in January and is settling in well. “Harold is a no-nonsense guy. He’s been a ver y va luable a sset ,” said Mayor Larry Owens. Longtime City Manager Richard Ferry left t he job Sept. 30, a nd Police Chief Jason Edens served as interim city manager while the city embarked on a national search for a new city manager. They ended up picking someone close to home – Si m mons has lived i n Senoia si nce 1992. T he cit y is i n t he midst of a major stormwater project, and last ye a r i m p l e m e n t e d a “s tor mw ate r ut i l it y ” fee for all parcels in the city. Money from that fee will help pay for the project, which will send rainwater runoff from downtown to a pond at Ma ri mac La kes. Currently, the stormwater is going into the stormwater pond at the Gin Property site. As the city continues

to grow, it’s time to look at ways of upg radi ng sewer capacity. R ight now, t he c it y u se s a land application system for t reated wa stewater. The next step will be traditiona l strea m discharge. The city has recently received preliminary approval for a discharge point on Dead Oak Creek. Fig uri ng out how to have new development pay for the needed sewer upgrades is going to be a key challenge. T he cit y a l ready h a s impact fees as well as “capital recovery fees” that are charged to new water and sewer customers. But that’s not going to be suff icient to fund the new sewer system. “Developers are going to h ave to h elp u s ,” Owens said. Speaking of development, most of Senoia’s growth has been in residential and small retail. The city needs industrial growth and larger commercial entities to help take the burden of funding city operations

Bo Sells Houses

off homeowners, Owens said. Tw o o f t h e b i g gest projects com i ng together in 2017 are the

long-awaited intersect ion i mprovement at P ylant Street and Ga. Hwy. 16, and the complet ion of t he spor ts

By City: Senoia fields at the new Leroy Johnson Park. T he P yla nt Street

SENOIA, page 13D

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Sunday, March 26, 2017  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 13D

By City: Grantville

Grantville sees results of completed audits By KANDICE BELL The City of Grantville is reaping the harvest of having their financial reports in order. Post Street, West Grantville Road, Grady Smith Street and Pine Streets have been paved. That project is part of the city’s Local Maintenance Improvement Grant Project, for which the state will reimburse the city approximately $40,000 of the $222,000 bill. The city’s audits were completed for the first time in four years in March 2016, which allowed the city to be eligible for grants and state funding. “This is the fruit of our labor of getting our audits caught up and done,” said Mayor Doug Jewell at a previous city council meeting. “We’re eligible for grants like this.” The city’s audits were completed for the first time in four years in March 2016, which allowed the city to be eligible for grants and state funding. The Grantville 2016 audit was complete ahead of the April 1 deadline. As far as other progressions, City Manager Al Grieshaber believes the city’s completion of the the city’s skatepark, located on Griffin Street next to the Willie L. Clements Jr. and John A. Malcolm Community Center, was an accomplishment for the city. Since spring 2013, Grantville has been pondering the possibility of a skatepark for local skaters. The American Ramp Company, which specializes in the construction of skateparks, built the facility, with a budget of roughly $100,000. The park was funded by a local sales tax. “The skatepark complements the Grantville Splash Park for year-round recreation,” Grieshaber said in an email statement.


Continued from page 12D realignment has been in the works for many, many years.


Grantville City Hall had an indoor air quality inspection conducted to identify mold and moisture problems. City employees had been complaining of respiratory and sinus problems. PHOTO BY KANDICE BELL

Grantville City Manager Al Grieshaber said the city is moving closer to mold remediation and stopping water intrusion at Grantville City Hall.

Grieshaber is also proud of the operation of the city’s animal shelter, which he refers to as a “hidden gem.” “Of the 52 dogs and 20 cats impounded, five cats were released to a licensed cat rescue and 15 cats were taken to Coweta County Animal Control,” Grieshaber said. “Fourteen dogs were reclaimed by their owners, and 31 dogs were released to licensed rescues to be re-homed. Grantville prides itself with animal rescue in the southern part of Coweta County and finding new homes for the abandoned animals.” Grieshaber said the city will continue to improve its roads and streets and recreational opportunities in the upcoming year. “We will be attentive to our fiscal affairs while providing a safe and affordable community with a friendly, family atmosphere for all residents,” he said. Although there were triumphs, there

It got delayed, again, when the state decided to go with a new bridge instead of a box culvert over the outf low of Marimac Lakes. But things should rea lly sta r t mov i ng t h is yea r. A

were also struggles for the city. After several months of debate and public meetings, Jewell vetoed a motion that would amend the personnel handbook to implement the four-day work week. The 90-day trial of the four-day work week officially started on Oct. 5, 2015, but was extended to last longer than the original 90-day period. City hall and public works were closed on Fridays and open Monday-Thursday from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The senior center and police department kept the same hours. Grieshaber proposed the four-day work week primarily because Grantville offers few benefits and the retirement plan no longer exists. The city lost two police officers in 2015 because of health insurance costs for spouses and dependents. In lieu of the four-day work week, the city is working on ways to improvement retirement and employee benefit packages. The city also had issues with utilities payment procedures, particularly pertaining to late-fees and cut offs.

final plan meeting is set for Wed nesday. “ T hat shou ld g i ve m e m ore i n s i g h t to where we are and when we are going to start moving forward,” Simmons said. T he new Leroy Joh nson

Grantville City Council changed the city’s utility procedures in November, and the impact was seen in January when Grantville turned off as many as 90 customers’ utilities. The policy states utility bills are due on the 15th of each month, and customers have until noon on the 24th of the month to pay their bill to prevent interruption. The city passed a ordinance earlier this month amending Chapter 38, Article 1, which prohibits disconnection if the only amount remaining unpaid is a late fee. The late fee will be rolled into the next month's utility bill and the entire bill, including current charges and late fee, must be paid by the 15th of the following month to avoid disconnection. The city also decided to mediate mold problems caused by water intrusion at city hall located on Lagrange Street instead of moving to another location. The city’s offices are located in the Glanton Complex, built during the New Deal era as a school. Some city workers had to relocate from an area with mold problems to another section of the building, as the result of a worker’s compensation claim.

Park is nearing completion, but the sod will have to grow a year before it can be played on. “The county did promise that in 2018 they will be playing on it,” Owens said.

Once the new park opens, the city has hopes to redevelop the old fields on Howard Road into a slightly different kind of “park” – an industrial park.

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14D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 26, 2017

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