Page 1

The Times-Herald

Vision 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010 — 1D

Coweta weathering financial storm are down about eight percent from the original predictions, Palmer said. The collections for calendar year 2009 were down Coweta County’s government weathered three percent from 2008. the bruising financial year of 2009 with no The six year, one-percent sales tax was layoffs, no furloughs, no tax millage rate originally expected to bring in $127 million, increase, and no loss of county services. with Coweta County getting $88,582,000. And none are planned for 2010. The decline in SPLOST revenues may The county has cut its budget by not mean that some of the projects planned to replacing some employees who retired, be built with SPLOST won’t be. However, and not “back filling” positions when many projects are coming in under budget, someone is promoted. Employees aren’t so the hit might not be that bad. getting cost-of-living adjustments. Any reduction will likely come out of The county also spent about $1.4 million the transportation project list. The transof its multi-million dollar “fund balance.” portation projects were expected to take “We’re just continuing to try and work up 61 percent of the total SPLOST revsmarter,” said Patricia Palmer, Coweta’s enues. director of public affairs. And department Even with the depressed revenues, heads are also “out there thinking and try- Coweta is moving forward with several ing to find ways to cut costs,” she said. projects — and getting good deals on “They are continuing to look at new ways them. we can operate as efficiently and effectiveWork is nearing completion on ly as possible,” she said. Grantville’s new library. Senoia’s library “Even with things being tough, we’ve remains stalled as it has since been since maintained county services,” Palmer said. spring of 2008. The new, state-of-the-art fire engines “We’ve certainly been affected,” by the and apparatus funded through the $2 mileconomic downtown, however, she said. lion bond referendum approved in Nov. “The sales tax revenues have been flat, and declining in some cases,” Palmer said. 2008, are beginning to arrive. The county recently received several And “building permits are down, as they pumper trucks, and purchased a boat for have been the last couple of years.” water rescue. The three aerial platform In 2007, there were 645 new housing trucks are set to arrive April 20, said Chief permits issued, she said. In 2009, there Johnny Teeters of the Coweta County Fire were only 168. Department. However, permits for repairs, additions, The platform trucks will be like nothing and alterations are way up. In 2008, there Coweta County has ever had, Teeters said, were 394 of those permits. In 2009, there were “just over 2,000,” Palmer said. A good and the impact will be “unbelievable.” Coweta County Administrator Theron many of those permits were for new roofs related to last year’s hail storm, but not all. Gay reassured members of the Coweta Board of Health in early March that “We know that people are doing things to their homes now because they are staying “everything’s moving forward” with the construction of a new $1.7 million health in them longer,” she said. department facility on Hospital Road. Revenues from the Special Purpose The new health department building — Local Option Sales Tax are down slightly, but because that money is for capital proj- which is replacing the current facility on Jackson Street — is being funded through a ects, it doesn’t have any impact on opera$1.5 million contribution by the Coweta tions budgets. County Hospital Authority and $500,000 Currently, the total SPLOST collections


in stimulus funds from a Community Development Block Grant offered through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The new facility is expected to open this year. Coweta is also working on plans to expand and improve its recreation facilities. Field space has been at a premium for the last few years, especially for girls’ softball and soccer. Heavy rain made the situation even more critical. The Highway 34 East Whitlock Complex, the main site for both soccer and girls’ softball, is in a flood plain. Drainage has always been an issue, but with the heavy rains of the past year, the fields rarely dry out before another downpour. In summer 2010, the Coweta County Recreation Department will do a drainage improvement project at Whitlock. There are also plans to use property at the Coweta County Fairgrounds on Pine Road, and land adjacent to the Central Library in eastern Coweta, for practice fields. The Central Library fields won’t be done until late summer, but the Pine Road property should be available for use very soon. And after two years of construction, the $7.5 million restoration of the 1904 Coweta County Courthouse is set to be complete some time this summer. New windows were recently installed in the clock tower, replacing the plywood that has filled the spaces during replacement of all the copper work. When completed, the courthouse exterior will offer a somewhat different Court Square for downtown Newnan visitors. All of the mature trees around the courthouse have been removed, many because of health or structural problems. The area around the courthouse will be a lawn, with some bushes for accents and screening. The building will house Coweta County Probate Court and the Coweta County Welcome Center.

Photo by Jeffrey Leo

After two years of construction, the $7.5 million restoration of the 1904 Coweta County Courthouse is set to be complete some time this summer.

2009 year of transportation projects By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL The year 2009 was the year of road and transportation projects in Coweta County, with ongoing Interstate 85 construction, start of a new “dial-a-ride” transit system, and two long-overdue projects finally getting under way — widening of the Ga. Hwy. 34 Bypass and intersection improvements at Greenville Street and Spence Avenue in Newnan. Work on the replacement of the Greentop Road railroad overpass — closed since December 2008, is in its early stages. The bridge, interstate, and Greenville-Spence projects are set to be completed during 2010. Dec. 31 was supposed to bring the end of the Interstate 85 project, but 2009’s historical rainfall, a cold winter, and problems with concrete have delayed it. In early March, the stretch of I-85 south of Bullsboro Drive to the Meriwether County line was completed; but the new loop ramp on Bullsboro, and the interstate lanes north of Bullsboro, are still under construction. Last year’s historic rainfall, and a very cold winter, have slowed work on the interstate, as well as on the other projects. The $107 million rehabilitation project on Interstate 85 from Bullsboro Drive to Ga. Hwy. 74 in Fairburn began in late 2006, and was originally scheduled to be complete Oct. 31, 2009. That date was later changed to Jan. 1, 2010.

Photo by Jeffrey Leo

Georgia Department of Transportation contractors move dirt in the median area where a new loop entrance is being installed to Interstate 85 at Bullsboro Drive in Newnan. The interchange improvement is part of the multi-year widening and rehabilitation project of the interstate through Coweta County. A target for completion is now July 2010. The addition of the third lane from south of Bullsboro to Forest Road near the Meriwether County line began in early 2007. The project also includes the new half-loop ramp for motorists accessing I-85 northbound from Bullsboro Drive east-bound. One of the first parts of the project was the raising of three bridges — at

Lower Fayetteville Road, Poplar Road, and Ga. Hwy. 16. The bridges were jacked up to accommodate the higher pavement to be installed below. The contract for that project — totaling just over $218 million, was the Georgia Department of Transportation’s single largest contract ever.

Photo by Sarah Campbell

Dana Gantt disembarks from Coweta's new dial-a-ride transit system in early July 2009. Gantt, who is legally blind, scheduled the very first trip on the new system.

Lane shifts as the project construction proceeded were followed by serious crashes. Following a string of wrecks, the speed limit was lowered to 50 mph through the construction zone. Things calmed down as the project entered the home stretch. The speed limit was raised in southbound lanes south of Bullsboro in late 2009. Georgia DOT region spokeswoman Kimberly Larson said that now it looks like the new estimated date of completion is July 31, 2010, for lanes to be open to traffic. Widening of the Hwy. 34 Bypass, especially the Millard Farmer Industrial Boulevard portion between U.S. 29 and Ga. 34, is Coweta’s most long-awaited major road project. In March 2009, a month before the project was set to go out to bid, Newnan Mayor Keith Brady said he had long ago quit paying attention to announcements of the bypass construction “because they never were kept.” “They’ve pushed this date back countless times” over the 13 years that the city has tried to get the state road widened, Brady said. But this time, it did actually happen. Clearing work began in August, and utility relocation and grading are now under way. Plans call for the additional two lanes to, for the most part, be built in their entirely without affecting the current travel lanes. It won’t be your standard four-lane project, either. Plans call for the bypass to have bike lanes, an intersection detection system with closed circuit cameras, and a grass median. On a smaller project, the turning lanes and signal improvements at the intersection of Greenville Street and Spence Avenue south of downtown Newnan have been needed almost as long as the bypass widening. Greenville Street is a portion of U.S. 29 through Newnan and a route to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Central Educational Center. The city of Newnan has spent several years negotiating the right-of-way acquisition for the intersection. In spring of 2009, utility relocation began. Actual construction, which has been done by state DOT maintenance crews, began in mid-summer. Because the work is being done by DOT crews instead of a contractor, the crews have often been taken off the Greenville/ Spence intersection to work on other projects, including the interstate. Coweta’s “dial-a-ride” transit system began operation in July. The service, which operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, provides doorto-door trips anywhere in Coweta for $3 each way. Rides must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance. To schedule trips, call 770-683-RIDE (7433). Coweta County continues to make slow but steady progress on a new I-85 interchange at Poplar Road, and the county prepared an “interchange justification report” for a new interchange that would be at the junction of an

extended Amlajack Boulevard and Hollz Parkway, a road off Hwy. 34 East across from the Summit healthplex. The interchange justification report for a new Interstate 85 interchange between Bullsboro Drive and Ga. Hwy. 154 has been completed and is now “with the state for review,” said Patricia Palmer, Coweta’s director of public affairs. Once the state completes its review, the report will be sent to the Federal Highway Administration. Getting approval is not a quick process. The IJR for the Poplar Road interchange was completed in 2005, but not approved until 2008. Hollz Parkway will be the location of a new park and ride lot for the Xpress Bus system. The Xpress Bus route, which currently leaves from Ashley Park, heads to downtown and midtown Atlanta five days a week. Buses leave six times each morning, from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and arrive seven times each evening, from 4 to 7 p.m. In January 2009, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, which operates the system, submitted plans for the 700-space lot on Hollz Parkway. Last summer, it was announced that the park and ride lot would receive $158,600 in federal stimulus funds. That money will fund information technology equipment for the lot. In June, GRTA Spokesman William Mecke said he expected the lot to open in late 2010. Several other projects are in the works for either construction or rightof-way acquisition in 2010 including improvements at Ga. Hwy. 154 and Lower Fayetteville Road; Hal Jones, Greentop and U.S. 29; and Roscoe Road, Jackson Street, and Sprayberry Road. Right-of-way acquisition is currently under way for the intersection improvement at Ga. Hwy. 154 and Hammock Road, the site of several accidents in which cars wound up down an embankment. Coweta will be paying approximately $1.5 million, which is just over half of the project cost. The rest will come from state and federal funds. Actual construction on the project, which will include a guardrail, “should begin at the end of the year or sometime in the spring of next year,” Palmer said. The timing depends on when the right-of-way is acquired and certified. Also in planning is extension of the Newnan Bypass from its current terminus at Turkey Creek Road southward to Hwy. 16 East. Plans are to four-lane Hwy. 16 from the bypass to U.S. 29, and to realign Pine Road so that Pine, Hwy. 16, and U.S. 29 will become a standard four-point intersection. Construction is planned for 2012 and 2013. The project will be funded with a combination of local, state, and federal funds. “The dollars are appropriated, so they are there,” Palmer said. The federal government has even kicked in an additional $1.4 million for right-of-way acquisition, which is usually a local responsibility. “That lets us keep our local money for other projects,” she said.

2D — The Times-Herald — Sunday, March 28, 2010


Newnan in good financial shape, despite economy By ELIZABETH RICHARDSON

for us, and it’s been well received,” said Brady. The facility operates as a non-circulating reading room, however Media Coordinator Amy Mapel started an honor system whereby patrons can borrow a book on their honor and “either return it, or not,” according to Brady. Book donations are also welcome. Carnegie holds regular programs — including the popular children’s programs — and community meetings. “We think we’ve done a good thing with Carnegie,” said Brady. The city is also looking forward to the completion of the county’s courthouse renovation in downtown Newnan in late summer. The city spent about $1.8 million in SPLOST funds of the total $8 million project undertaken by Coweta County. Once the renovations are complete, the 1904 courthouse will house Coweta Probate Court and an office of the Coweta Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “I think it’s going to be important to have those two high traffic county businesses in the center of the city,” said Brady. “I’m looking forward to that reopening. It will finish up downtown for quite a while as far as major projects.” The city is under the gun to complete construction on the new swimming pool at Willie Lynch Park by the end of May when children get out of school. So far, the project is on budget and, with recent rains, about a week behind schedule. Community Development Director Cleatus Phillips expects to be able to make that time up somewhere else in the project. The project was contracted out to Georgia Development Partners in the amount of approximately $942,000. Funding for the project is coming from allocated money collected in the 2007 SPLOST. The Summit Family YMCA is planning to partner with the city to provide programs at the pool at a free or reduced rate. “This will continue to strengthen that neighborhood,” said Brady. “It’s important to have those kind of neighborhood parks.” A milestone for the city and local veterans’ groups was completion of the Veterans Memorial Plaza at the city park at Jackson Street and Temple

Avenue. Col. Joe M. Jackson traveled to Newnan from his home in Kent, Wash., to speak during the annual Veterans Day ceremonies in November 2009. Several members of the family of Maj. Stephen W. Pless also were present for the unveiling of the statues of the two Medal of Honor recipients by Dallas, Texas, sculptors Mark Austin Byrd and Jenelle Armstrong Byrd. The statue grouping shows two children listening to Pless and Jackson. “May they represent all of the soldiers who sacrifice their lives, their bodies to make this (freedom) possible,” Jackson said. Newnan is reexamining the feasibility of building a conference center in the city — and possibly on city-owned property on Lower Fayetteville Road adjacent to the Coweta School System’s performing arts center. “We’re trying to move forward with that — I think it’s time,” said Brady. “I would like to see it on Lower Fayetteville Road run in conjunction with the school system.” Newnan has approximately $3.1 million in SPLOST funding allocated for the conference center project. Newnan City Council agreed at its annual retreat in February to have the Newnan Convention Center Authority revisit the issue and develop a business plan. Brady is hoping to change up the originally proposed use of that land. He no longer sees an amphitheater making sense in the business plan. “It will be something that the community will be proud of and will be able to use the services of,” he said. The city is also eyeballing space to build a new police/municipal court facility. “That will be our next major project,” said Brady. He expects it will be feasible to move forward with the complex within the next 5-10 years, but “the sooner, the better.” “We need municipal court space and the police department needs to have room to grow into a new space,” he added. Brady said the project needs to move up in prioritization, but that there’s no funding available right now. He anticipates that it will probably be a $12-14 million project. One of the sites under consideration is the city-owned

Things have definitely slowed down in the city of Newnan because of the economy, but city staff and the elected officials of the Newnan City Council say they’re doing the best they can with what they have. “We as a city are in really good financial shape,” said Mayor Keith Brady. “We have a nice surplus and no long term debt — and that’s very important when writing a budget.” This year, the city budget was down about 7 percent Brady overall from last year, according to Brady. The general fund decreased 4.5 percent. Yet, the mayor said not only has the city managed to avoid layoffs and furloughs, but it has increased its number of personnel, absorbed a 9 percent health insurance increase for its employees and increased funding to the city’s retirement fund to offset recent losses. Newnan took in about $1 million less than it budgeted last year. Even with less revenues, the city still finished the year in the black approximately $420,000, according to Brady. “The staff did a really good job coming in and reducing expenditures,” said Brady. City Manager Dick Bolin communicated his expectations to the department heads who all took the initiative to cut costs. The mayor said that two years ago, Newnan was earning around $500,000 a year in interest. In 2009, the city only earned $50,000. As a result of the financial strains, they’ve had to cut funding for capital items in half. This year the city is focusing on projects funded by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. “The money’s been collected or is being collected and these projects are important and put people to work,” said Brady. Plus, the money can’t be spent on anything other than the designated project. “Let’s go ahead and do projects that create the economic benefit derived from putting people to work.” Some of those projects that have utilized SPLOST dollars include reopening Carnegie as a library-type facility, helping fund renovation of the the Coweta County Courthouse, building a new pool and pool house at Willie Lynch Park and exploring the option of having a conference center in Newnan. The week-long grand reopening celebration of Carnegie was held in September 2009. The original Carnegie library was built in 1904 and operated as such until 1987. The city has invested approximately $1.5 million to restore the historic building to a library-type facility with meeting space for community Photo by Jeffrey Leo use. Renovations lasted for Enrique Cortes, left, and Jesus Chavez work at new pool construcnearly a year. tion project at Willie Lynch Park off Richard Allen Drive. A new pool “Carnegie was a big success house is taking shape.

People pack Greenville Street Park for entertainment by the Royal Scottish Country Dancers celebrating the reopening of Newnan Carnegie Library. The crowd then processed up Greenville Street to the library for an official ribbon cutting and tours. land located at the corner of Greison Trail and East Broad Street. He says its centrally located near the bypass, interstate and the Coweta County Jail. Plus, the city’s west side is already covered from the precinct on Temple Avenue. Brady says the land does pose some challenges with topography. In addition to these projects, the city is planning and executing many road improvement projects. The intersection improvements at the intersection of Roscoe Road, Jackson Street and Sprayberry Road are moving right along. The city is proposing the continuation of Sprayberry Road at its intersection with Jackson Street to go through the Lenny’s Pub property and intersect with Roscoe Road — thus eliminating the sharp turn right onto Roscoe for motorists traveling south on Jackson Street. Brady says the city is about 90 percent complete with the design stage — they’re waiting on the Georgia Department of Transportation’s final design approval. The next step will be to relocate the utilities, and then the city can begin con-

struction. Brady says he hopes to have the project complete by the end of the year. Newnan is also working to improve the connectivity of the city by f inishing more streetscapes on Jackson and Jefferson streets. The city has long wanted to complete McIntosh Parkway — which is planned to run from the Ashley Park area to downtown Newnan, parallel to and south of Bullsboro Drive — but the project lacks funding. Finally, the city is looking forward to the construction of two new hospitals. The new Piedmont Newnan Hospital will be built on Poplar Road and the Cancer Treatment Centers of America facility will be built off Newnan Crossing Bypass across from Ashley Park. “We are excited about both hospitals that are either in planning stages or under way,” said Brady. “This will have a huge economic impact on our community for the next two years while they’re under construction and then continuing after that. This is an opportunity for us to be a regional medical destination.” The hospitals will not only

create jobs, but they will pour money back into the city via the use of hotels/motels, restaurants and shopping. Brady is excited to welcome business professionals, such as doctors and their support staff, to take up residence in this community. And the economic boost couldn’t come at a better time. Brady says the city was lucky that it didn’t get into the economic recession as quickly as most, but, even though there’s talk that things are improving, the city still faces a long road to recovery. The revenues on the Local Option Sales Tax and SPLOST are down 16 percent year-todate. Brady says tax revenues are always going to lag behind by a few years in times of economic turmoil. “We’re looking at 2011 and 2012 being very tough years,” said Brady. “The economy and the job market might bounce back, but government budgets will have to catch up. We’re planning for that, that’s why we have a $12 million surplus — if we need to use it, we can.”

Final touches are put on the Carnegie building in downtown Newnan in preparation for its grand reopening in September 2009.


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4D — The Times-Herald — Sunday, March 28, 2010


Coweta’s economic news positive on development front By JEFF BISHOP In spite of a lagging economy that still struggles with double-digit unemployment and record numbers of foreclosures, Coweta County has had its fair share of good economic news this year. At the forefront of that positive economic news are the components of what local educator Mark Whitlock has dubbed the “Golden Triangle” — which includes a new Piedmont Newnan Hospital facility and medical office building on Poplar Road, a planned new West Georgia Technical College campus off Turkey Creek Road, and the Southeastern headquarters for Cancer Treatment Centers of America planned for a site across from Ashley Park on Newnan Crossing Boulevard. “Even with the economy the way it is — especially with it the way it is — we are still pleased with the development activity we are seeGreg Wright ing,” said Greg Wright, president of the Coweta County Development Authority. The proposed 50-bed, 200,000square-foot Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) hospital had its Certificate of Need application approved by the Georgia Department of Community Health in December, clearing the way for 500 new jobs and a predicted $500 million in new economic activity to make its way to Coweta County over the next five years. That was quickly followed by Piedmont Hospital’s announcement that it was taking its new hospital development project out of mothballs. “I think this hospital is coming at just the right time,” Development Authority Chairman David Brown said at a recent board meeting. “After a drought of good economic news, this gives us all a good feeling, just knowing that we’ve got a stateof-the-art medical facility coming.” Michael Bass, CEO of Piedmont Newnan Hospital, said that the replacement facility on Poplar Road will be “highly accessible,” as well as “highly flexible,” with an “electronic, digital infrastructure.” The new 362,376-square-foot hospital will include: —104 medical/surgical beds. —18 critical care beds. — 14 post-partum beds. — 23 emergency department treatment rooms. — 8 main operating suites. — 1,000 parking spaces. The hospital will employ about

1,100 people, Bass said. “Right now we’re at 850,” he said. “So we’re adding 250 positions.” Yamaha recently announced an expansion of its Newnan facility as it consolidates other operations into the local plant, which manufactures golf carts, four-wheeler ATVs and personal water sport vehicles. D&H Distributing, a major North American computer products and consumer electronics distributor, located its new regional warehouse at Coweta Industrial Park off Interstate 85 and Highway 154 about a year ago. The new, 476,000-squarefoot, state-of-the-art warehouse employed approximately 100 workers on its opening day, and hopes to expand. The Kia automobile manufacturing plant in nearby West Point, Ga., also held two rounds of hiring, and the hiring still continues with plans for a second line. The Kia Sorento SUV is selling ahead of projections and has moved into third place in the SUV category, Kia officials said at February 2010 grand opening ceremonies. That’s good news for local job seekers as the plant ramps up production to meet demand, said Kia representatives. “We’re doing quite well,” said Michael Sprague, VP of marketing. There are already 1,203 employees on site at the West Point plant and more than 30,000 applications were being processed in a second wave of hiring as the company plans to set up production of a second vehicle line. About 350 new employees will be sent to Korea for training in preparation for the second shift, Kia officials said. “We’re studying a second model, but we haven’t announced what that will be yet,” said Sprague. On the education front, West Georgia Technical College announced plans to build a new 38acre campus near Interstate 85 and Turkey Creek Road. The school and its predecessor, West Central Technical College, have offered classes at Central Educational Center in Newnan for several years. The USDA dog detector training center also opened a new facility at Creekside Industrial Park off Highway 34 East, and Falcon Aviation Academy opened its doors at the Newnan-Coweta Airport. “And we expect to see even more companies looking to expand here and to locate here as the economy continues to improve,” said Wright. “We have all the ingredients companies are looking for — a great location, and a great work force,” said Wright. “I think we’ll continue to be one of the top communities for business in the state of Georgia.”

Photo by Jeffrey Leo

Angelica Heard stands with her family in May 2009 at her graduation from the joint Central Educational Center/ West Georgia Technical College program. Heard earned a technical certificate of credit in basic dental assisting, and she was among the graduation speakers. WCTC, which currently holds classes at CEC, plans a new campus in Coweta off Turkey Creek Road.

The new Piedmont Newnan Hospital, replacing the facility on Hospital Road, will be on the south of Poplar Road just east of Interstate 85. The target opening now is spring 2012.

Photo by Jeffrey Leo

This is a rendering of the new medical office building, left, to be adjacent to the new Piedmont Newnan Hospital, right, at Poplar Road and Interstate 85. The medical building is planned to be four stories and 110,000 square feet. Projected opening is late 2011, before completion of the new replacement hospital.

A fleet of land moving equipment sits near the site of the planned Cancer Treatment Centers of America across from Ashley Park in Newnan. The proposed 50-bed, 200,000square-foot CTCA hospital had its Certificate of Need application approved by the Georgia Department of Community Health in December, clearing the way for 500 new jobs and a predicted $500 million in new economic activity to make its way to Coweta County over the next five years.


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6D — The Times-Herald — Sunday, March 28, 2010


Most job creation is from growth of existing industries By JEFF BISHOP Many development authorities traditionally focus on trying to lure new industries to the community, but Greg Wright, president of the Coweta County Development Authority, said that most job creation comes from working with what you have. “I’ve seen different numbers on this, but about 70 to 80 percent of your new job growth is going to come from existing companies growing and succeeding in your community,” said Wright. A big part of what the Coweta County Development Authority does involves “going out and making that connection” with companies that are already here, he said. “If they’re looking at an expansion project, then maybe we can help them put their resources together,” said Wright. “If Coweta County is competing with another state, and a company is thinking about relocating its facility out of the county, we can help the plant manager sell Coweta County as the best location,” he said. There may be community resources available to companies “that they’re just otherwise unaware of,” Wright said. One company recently wondered if it could qualify for stimulus funding. “And we were able through Georgia Tech to connect them with the Procurement Assistance Center to see if they would qualify,” said Wright. “We want to build relationships and help these companies to grow and prosper,” said Wright. “We want to bring in resources to fix those problems and provide solutions, so that we’re not faced with a situation where a company just suddenly announces, ‘Okay, we’re closing.’” The county’s location is still a major selling point, both for expansions of existing companies and for luring new companies, he said. “We’re right on I-85, and we’re going to soon have a new technical college and two new hospitals,” he said. “The synergy of all of that is going to help everyone in this community.” Wright said there’s no secret formula to enticing companies to come invest in a community. “You never know where a prospect is going to come from,” he said. He used the new Kia plant in West Point as a prime example of how the whole process can be serendipitous. “Kia located there because they had executives driving from Hartsfield to the Hyundai plant in Alabama. They saw that piece of property on I-85, and the rest is history,” he said. “You just never know where prospects are going to come from,” he said, “or even what’s going to

Photo courtesy Kia

The Kia plant in West Point, Ga. will have a $4 billion per year impact on the state, said Gov. Sonny Perdue at grand opening ceremonies in February. It is capable of producing 300,000 cars annually for the North American and global markets. attract them to your area.” Existing development does drive future development, however. The announcement of the two new hospitals and medical office building is already drawing interest from the medical community,” said Wright, “and that’s something that’s going to be an important part of our economy.” He often heard his predecessor, Bill Harrison, say that he liked to “shoot at everything and see what falls,” when it comes to economic development. Wright said he appreciates that philosophy, but he brings a slightly different approach. “We’re putting together our new marketing

materials right now,” he said. “And while I tend to agree somewhat with what Bill said, I’m a little more in the middle. There are ways to promote the assets that we have to particular industries, and build on those specifically, and at the same time to ensure that we grow into a diverse economy, so that we’re not tied to any one industry or sector.” Failure to diversify can have devastating consequences for any community, he said. “We want to do what’s good for Coweta County,” he said. Prospect activity seems to be picking up lately, he said. “During Christmas you’re usually going to

see a slowdown, but after that it’s picked right back up,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of interest and a lot of activity, both from new companies wanting to locate here and from existing companies wanting to expand.” Even when the community isn’t trying to dig its way out of a recession, “there’s always pressure to bring in more jobs,” said Wright. With an escalating unemployment rate, it makes the situation much more acute. “I’m talking to people all the time who need jobs, so I always feel that pressure,” said Wright. “And that’s what we’re here for — to grow jobs in this community.”

Project would double capacity of Coweta jail By ELIZABETH RICHARDSON Not surprisingly, major capital projects are essentially on hold for Coweta’s law enforcement agencies until the economic situation improves. However, Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager and Newnan Police Chief Douglas L. “Buster” Meadows are taking this time to focus on the basics — training, programs and the less-costly improvements — that will help make this community safer. The Coweta County Sheriff’s Office is awaiting a much overdue jail expansion that remains in the planning stages. The Newnan Police Department is preparing to implement a stateof-the-art crime suppression camera system. “That’s a big thing right now — to prepare for our future expansion,” said Sheriff Yeager. “It’s not going to happen in the next year or so, but it’s probably three or more years down the road.” The Coweta County Jail has a capacity of 350 inmates and consistently operates at or above capacity — sometimes going above 400 inmates. The sheriff would ideally like to double the capacity of the jail. When the jail opened in 1991, there were 200 beds — one bed per cell. Now that the population of the county has more than doubled from 60,000 in 1991, “we are double bunked, in some cases, triple, and we’re even looking at quadruple,” Yeager said. Since the jail is landlocked, the plan will be to demolish the neighboring old jail building built in 1976, which is located



behind the jail and was most recently used by the Crime Suppression Unit. Yeager believes the “most feasible” plan would be to utilize vertical space to increase their inmate capacity. His model for success is Carrollton’s correctional facility. Yeager envisions the expanded facility to be a total of five stories and house at least 75 inmates on each floor. In February, the county hired Mark Goldman and Associates to do a needs assessment/space analysis for the sheriff’s office and jail expansion. In the meantime, Yeager is working on plans to temporarily expand capacity until the jail expansion can be completed. He is presently creating a dormitory for the inmate trusties, which will free up 32 beds, according to the sheriff. In the women’s section, he’s adding some additional bed space. “If we can move them back into one section, we’ll free up 32 more beds,” said Yeager. The sheriff’s office also works closely with the Georgia Department of Corrections to move inmates into other cor-

rectional facilities when Coweta needs more bed space. Jail officials work with Coweta courts to push cases through the pike as quickly as possible. In addition to working to remedy the jail situation, Yeager assures the public that his employees are always trying to improve their traffic safety initiatives. “We’re trying to make roads as safe as we can here in Coweta County, by reducing the number of accidents and fatalities,” said Yeager. “A lot of this depends on the public — we need their help.” The sheriff said that the Criminal Investigation Division is continuously looking for ways to keep criminal activity down. They frequently document crime trends to identify areas at greater risk for thefts, burglaries and drugs. “We’re looking at the areas with problems to see what we can do to reduce the number of crimes,” said Yeager. The sheriff’s office is closely watching the state legislature to monitor changes in law, especially sex offender and gun laws. “The sheriff’s association is working with the state to make a safer Georgia, but we’re also

trying to clean up [the sex offender law] a little bit in order to focus our energies on the people who need to be gone after,” said Yeager. The state legislature recently considered a bill that would allow some low-risk sex offenders to petition the courts to remove them from the sex offender registry after completing their sentences. Among those who would be eligible are the disabled, those confined to a hospice and so-called Romeo and Juliet statutory rape cases, in which the teens are close together in age. “We’re focused on keeping and maintaining the programs we’ve got in order to maintain a quieter, safer community here as we continue through this economic downturn and face an expanded population,” said Yeager. Keeping in line with that vision, Chief Meadows said Newnan police are about to implement a high visibility crime suppression camera system in the city. Wind Channel Communications will replace and upgrade the camera system at a total cost of $183,982. The project will be funded by a $75,430 Justice Assistance Grant, with the balance coming from the city’s drug condemnation funds. The current system consists of 20 cameras, but the new system would give the department the capability of adding up to 60 camera sites within the city of Newnan over time as money allows, according to Meadows. Meadows said the department has installed cameras in high crime areas where drugs are frequently sold and in high volume intersections. The cameras have the capa-

bility of filming in real time and archiving information for 14 days. Officers can review the data and archive video to a CD permanently. Police have upgraded the capabilities of the cameras at entrance ramps to the interstate so they will be able to capture tag numbers. The cameras are also a matter of officer safety, according to Meadows. Officers responding to the scene of a crime will now be able to view images from the scene ahead of time by uploading them directly to their in-car computers. “This will be real helpful because responding officers can get an idea of what’s happening before they arrive at the scene,” said Meadows. Implementation is expected

to begin in April. Meadows anticipates that some, if not all, of the cameras will be up and running by summer. Additionally, the chief says his men and women are using this time to focus on police training and on ways to improve their department. “We’re pushing to get as much advanced training for our officers as we can with the economy like it is,” said Meadows. “We’re keeping abreast of the current changes in technologies and laws. We strive to have a professional police department that works to serve the community and to set a professional standard for others to follow.”

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Adjacent to the current Coweta County Jail is the old 1976-era jail building, at right, most recently used by the Crime Suppression Unit. Plans are to demolish the old building to make way for a new wing beside the current jail to double the facility’s capacity.

29 Brown Street • Newnan, GA 30263 Phone: 770-251-7158 • Fax: 770-251-7545 E-mail:

Sunday, March 28, 2010 — The Times-Herald — 7D


Plans in works for airport taxiway project By ALEX McRAE Plans for new construction and repairs to existing taxiways are in the works for NewnanCoweta Airport, located off U.S. Highway 29 near Moreland. At the recent March meeting of Coweta County Airport Authority, Airport Manager Calvin Walker reported that


bids are due on March 30 for expansion of taxiways on the airport’s east apron, a project that has already been approved. The full four-phase expansion project would include about 22 new 100-foot by 120foot hangars, three taxiways, and a 35-foot wide apron extending south from the existing Thomas Enterprises hangars and the new Falcon Aviation Academy. When completed, the project could open 30 acres for new development. The authority currently has $283,000 in its account for the taxiway project, which would improve areas adjacent to the Falcon Aviation Academy and open space for the construction of new hangars that could generate much needed revenue for the airport. If bids come in at or under budget construction could begin this spring. It is anticipated there could be enough funding left after phase one construction to pay for design work necessary to begin Photo by Jeff Bishop

Engineer Reg Weaver, right, discusses plans with the Coweta Airport Authority. At left is Newnan-Coweta Airport Manager Calvin Walker, and back right is member Ronny Jones.

Photo by Bob Fraley

New construction and repairs to existing taxiways are in the works for Newnan-Coweta Airport. Bids are due March 30 for expansion of taxiways on the airport’s east apron, a project that has already been approved.

repairs to the airport’s west side taxiway, which serves the majority of airport traffic. Airport authority engineer Reg Weaver said it was possible that in May, some so-called “fallout funds” not used on other projects across the state might come available for use by the Newnan-Coweta Airport. Those funds could be used to rehab the existing taxiway. Weaver said the funds would only be awarded to “shovel ready” projects with completed plans and bids. Authority Chairman Dale

Pepper said he was ready to proceed with the west side rehab project, but advised against making a commitment until the bids were received for the eastside expansion to make sure that project was fully funded before beginning another job. Walker also said it was time for the authority to perform a review and re-bidding of engineering services, which has to be done every five years. Walker had contacted firms who currently meet state qualifications for such work and

was advertising the bidding in March. Bids for engineering services are due April 2. An engineering firm will be selected for a 5year term after review and discussion by the authority. Plans for a new landing guidance system for the airport are also being studied. The authority hopes to upgrade the current landing guidance system soon but is awaiting final word from vendors and the FAA as to what systems will be most cost effective and suitable for the airport.

Gary Rower, of Rower Air Shows has approached the authority about the possibility of staging an air show at the Newnan-Coweta Airport in the spring of 2011. Rower, a Fayette County resident, briefly outlined the process and scope of his proposal at the March authority meeting and inquired about the authority’s interest. All comments were positive and it was agreed Rower would make a formal presentation for a proposed air show at a forthcoming authority meeting.

Coweta school system finances better than most By JEFF BISHOP With sales tax revenues at their lowest ebb since 2006, it’s perhaps good to know that student population growth has slowed down in lockstep with the economic downturn, said Coweta County School System Superintendent Blake Bass. “Student population growth hasn’t been an issue — it hasn’t been here because of the recession,” Bass said. “So we haven’t had a building need in the last year or so.” The newest school is Brooks Elementary, which opened in the fall of 2008 in north Coweta. The school system doesn’t see any more new schools on the horizon, at least in the foreseeable future. That doesn’t mean the school system won’t have other needs — especially as the state cuts further into local school system

budgets. “We’re in a little better shape than most counties at this time,” said Winston Dowdell, Coweta County Board of Blake Bass Education member and former administrator. “But we’re waiting to see what comes our way in the 2011 budget,” which is likely to be announced by the state in April, he said. Sales tax revenues are “not good,” said school system finance officer Keith Chapman. That’s the same tune school systems are singing all over the state of Georgia. Right now the school system is bringing in about $1.5 million


per month — or $19.1 million between March 2009 and Feb. 2010, compared to nearly $21 million during the same period for the two previous years. “But even with the reduced collections we should have enough money in the bank to repay our bonds with the sales tax,” said Chapman. School board member Harry Mullins said that the school system has been a good steward of taxpayer dollars and as a result “we’ll have no more debt soon.” When the bonds are paid off, the school system will be in a “pay as you go” situation with the incoming sales tax revenue, Bass pointed out. “Hopefully when we get to the point of ‘pay as we go,’ we’ll have more coming in than $1.5 million per month,” Bass said. “We do have some transportation needs and some other needs.” The school system is in good

students is also tracked by subgroups including Students with Disabilities, Economically Disadvantaged Students, English Language Learners, and ethnic subgroups. But national NCLB standards may be about to change, if a new proposal by President Barack Obama goes forward. Obama’s proposal would cast aside much of the 2002 No Child Left Behind law and would move away from punishing schools for not meeting federal benchmarks and instead focus on rewarding progress. Among the more important revisions was Obama’s proposal to call for states to adopt standards to ensure students are college or career ready rather than grade-level proficient, as the current law does. “Unless we take action — unless we step up — there are countless children who will never realize their full talent

and potential,” Obama said, the Associated Press reported. “I don’t accept that future for them. And I don’t accept that future for the United States of America.” Obama’s plan also involves a $4 billion increase in federal education spending, money that would be given to states through competitive grants. It represents a movement away from the current formula-based federal funding. The administration’s blueprint would also allow states to use subjects other than reading and mathematics as part of their measurements for student progress, appeasing critics of No Child Left Behind who said the law put too much pressure on schools to focus on just those two subjects at the expense of history, art, science and social studies among other subjects.

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shape when it comes to meeting the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind legislation: all 27 county schools and the school system as a whole met AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) last year. “That was exceptional,” said Bass. “All of our schools, and our school system as a whole, exceeded every standard set out by No Child Left Behind.” Bass noted Coweta’s schools have done well by the standards of No Child Left Behind since the accountability standards began in 2002. Each year, only a few of Coweta’s 27 applicable schools do not meet AYP, generally because of performance in smaller subgroupings of students examined by the standards. Schools are judged by the percentage of students who meet or exceed NCLB standards in statewide testing during the school year. The performance of

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The Times-Herald

Vision 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010 — 1E


Volunteers stepping up to help By W. WINSTON SKINNER

Self-Sufficiency Program from public housing to home ownership. Leslie Merriman, NCHH executive director, said Habitat has already begun purchasing homes and drawing on the funds. Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 in Americus to

A small but stately monument on the south side of Newnan’s downtown Court Square is dedicated “to the thousands of tireless volunteers who have helped sustain the growth and prosperity of the City of Homes.” The monument was placed in 2003, during Newnan’s celebration of the town’s 175th birthday. Volunteerism, however, is far more than a tradition in Coweta County. Across the county, local citizens give of their time in a wide variety of ways. Sharon Hazel, manager of the Newnan-Coweta Habitat for Humanity ReStore, said the store — which sells building materials and household appliances — could not operate without volunteers. A visit to one of the local museums will more than likely involve interaction with a volunteer docent or shop clerk. At the recent Trivia Bee to raise funds for local literacy group Certified Literate Is Coweta’s Key, Lisa Johnston, CLICK’s executive director thanked the many volunteers who do a variety of things for CLICK. Many provide one-on-one tutoring for people learning to read or studying for the General Equivalency Diplomas. Auxiliary members man the front desk, keep the gift shop humming and deliver flowers at Piedmont Newnan Hospital. At area schools, volunteers put up bulletin boards and chaperone field trips. Churches have lots of places for volunteers to serve — depending on the size and focus of the congregation. Almost all non-profits have a need for volunteers who help raise funds to keep programs going. In the current economic downturn, supporters have dug a little deeper to help local charities and arts programs. Volunteers have also stepped forward to see that work gets done even when there are fewer dollars. Amelia Rivers, 9, and her sister, Seiler, 7, help most weeks with the Feeding Our Friends ministry at Central Baptist Church. The Tuesday outreach program takes a hot and tasty meal to people who will enjoy one. “It’s really fun,” Amelia said. “We get to meet new people.” The girls’ parents, Todd and Helen Rivers, decided to homeschool their daughters — in part because Todd’s job allows for travel as a family that can be worked into homeschool lesson plans but is hard to coordinate with a traditional school schedule. A recent trip to Egypt elicits lots of interesting stories from the Rivers sisters, but they also are excited about volunteering with their church to reach out to others. Helen Rivers said the girls were eager to take advantage of “the opportunity for service” that being homeschooled offered. Soon after lessons began at their home, the family realized there was “a flexibility we weren’t taking advantage of” that could be used to make other people’s lives better, Mrs. Rivers said. They often deliver meals to Dr. Howard Glover, local retired pediatrician, and his wife, Margaret. “I love them,” Seiler said. “They’re really, really nice.” “They’re my favorite part of the trip,” her big sister

See HABITAT, page 2E


Photo by Jeffrey Leo

Amelia Rivers, 9, standing and her sister, Seiler, 7, play the piano to entertain Dr. Howard Glover and his wife, Margaret, after delivering a meal for the Feeding Our Friends ministry sponsored by Central Baptist Church.

Habitat working with foreclosed homes Non-profit working in Newnan, Coweta on neighborhood stabilization From STAFF REPORTS Newnan-Coweta Habitat for Humanity is taking steps to improve substandard housing conditions and address homelessness in Newnan and Coweta County. In February, the Newnan City Council approved the

Neighborhood Stabilization Agreement — something city, Newnan-Coweta Habitat for Humanity and Newnan Housing Authority officials have been working toward for several months. Under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, $3.7 million in federal stimulus dollars will flow through the city to the hous-

ing authority and Habitat. The local Habitat affiliate will use $2.2 million to purchase foreclosed homes, improve them and sell them to families approved through Habitat’s family selection process. The housing authority will use $1.5 million to buy foreclosed homes and use a lease-tobuy program to move housing authority residents in the Family

Development begins on Chattahoochee Bend State Park Coweta, sat for several years without any funding. And it likely would have Ten years after the property remained so for many more was acquired by the state of years, if not for the work of Georgia, work has finally begun Cowetans. on Chattahoochee Bend State In 2003, members of the Park. Coweta County Convention and Construction on the park’s Visitors Bureau were discussing amenities began in late 2009, Coweta’s marketing assets for and completion of major work tourism, and they got to thinkis expected in the summer of ing about the park property. 2011. Since the purchase, “it had sat Hopes are that the park will there and we hadn’t heard anybe open to the public in sumthing more about it,” said mer 2011, but that will depend Friends of Chattahoochee Bend on whether or not there is fund- State Park President Dean ing available in the state budget Jackson, who was the chairman for operations. of the CVB at the time. The nearly 3,000-acre state So they called Georgia’s State park property, located along Flat Parks and Historic Sites division, and had someone come to Rock Road and the Chattahoochee River in western Newnan to discuss the future of


Photo by Jeff Bishop

Helping drive stakes for new trails at Chattahoochee Bend State Park at September 2009 ceremonies are, from left, Warren Budd, DNR board member; Chris Clark, DNR commissioner; State Rep. Lynn Smith and State Sen. Mitch Seabaugh.

Photo by Sarah Campbell

Building a trail along the Chattahoochee River is the first major project for the Friends of Chattahoochee Bend State Park.

the property. “We said, ‘We have 3,000 acres. When is it going to become a state park?’” Jackson said. “And he said, ‘Well… eventually, down the line, the state will fund a development plan.” They asked when that might happen and “he said it’s going to happen when it happens,” Jackson said. Jackson said they got the impression the plan would be done in the 2010 to 2015 time frame, and that the plan might sit for several years before anything else happens. “He pretty much gave us the

impression that if this became a park, it would be 2020, 2025, or 2030,” Jackson said. The CVB members asked what would happen if Coweta County would fund the development plan. They were told that was a great idea. The planning process began in 2005, and in the spring of 2006, thanks to the work of Coweta legislators State Rep. Lynn Smith, Sen. Mitch Seabaugh and State Rep. Billy Horne, $7 million was appropriated for park construction. It took nearly two more years to work out access to the park

property. The state parks division originally wanted to have the main entrance of the park be on Bud Davis Road, near the river amenity area. But residents of the remote area weren’t very happy with that idea, and the access plan was changed. Instead, Coweta County agreed to improve Flat Rock Road to the park property; the county also pledged its inmate labor crews to pave the roads at the park, providing a tremendous savings. And though the change necessitated more road building, it opened up much greater

portions of the property to visitors. That includes access to the vast areas of exposed granite, inhabited by vast colonies of mosses, lichen, pine trees and other plants, that give the area its traditional name. Another move to stretch the budget was the removal of all trail building from the construction contract. Instead, all of the trails will be built by volunteers, coordinated by the local volunteer Friends of Chattahoochee Bend State Park. For more information, visit

2E — The Times-Herald — Sunday, March 28, 2010


Volunteers stepping up to help build a better Coweta he said. “I started out driving the truck and doing pick-ups,” Continued from page 1E Huguley said. When he injured his back a few months ago, he began working in the store. added. Nicole Echevarria, volunteer Amelia and Seiler Rivers got coordinator for Newnaninvolved with Feeding Our Coweta Habitat, noted Huguley Friends in December. The has also helped with the Glovers “were our first people redesign of the local Habitat we visited,” Amelia rememaffiliate’s Web site. bered. Huguley is one of many volThe sisters both are musicalunteers with Habitat. Andreia ly inclined, and the Glovers Chapman “volunteered last have a fine piano. Trips to summer on the Thrivent build deliver a meal almost always include a time at the piano, too. in Grantville,” Echevarria siad. “Then, in December, she began Mitch Huguley and his wife moved to Newnan in July 2007. volunteering at the ReStore.” A couple of weeks ago, Being retired from the military, Chapman began working partHuguley was used to staying time at the store as a cashier. busy and he looked around for “Connie Singleton is fairly an opportunity to stay busy and new to Habitat, also. She is on help someone. The Habitat ReStore on Pine our grant writing committee and has recruited her Sunday Road has become an outlet for school group to begin volunHuguley’s time and energy. teering at a construction site,” “A friend at my church was Echevarria said. volunteering here. I asked him Huguley is enthusiastic about it,” Huguley said. Huguley came to the store and about what he gets in return for soon found a place to give of giving his time and effort. “I himself. “I fell in love with it,” enjoy meeting people and talk-


ing with them,” he said. He said he often talks with people “who are working hard to make it these days” and is glad to be able to offer a word of encouragement. The other Habitat volunteers are also part of the experience. “There are a lot of nice people working here — volunteering,” Huguley said. Volunteering is something that has been memorialized in downtown Newnan, but the concept also is one that can be learned and nurtured. Amelia and Seiler Rivers get a gift from their grandfather every year for their birthday — a check to the charity of their choice. That experience started an early understanding that there are people who need help. The birthday tradition also engendered a special love and appreciation for a wise grandfather. “He’s really awesome,” Amelia Rivers said. So are his altruistic granddaughters and all the volunteers who touch lives across Coweta County day by day.

Photo by Jeffrey Leo

Volunteers, from left, Ryan Grubbs, Win Clark, Jason Burns and Josh Davis take a break at the Newnan-Coweta Habitat for Humanity ReStore thrift shop on Pine Road.

Habitat working with foreclosed homes HABITAT Continued from page 1E provide simple, decent and affordable housing. Volunteers help build homes; and individuals, businesses, churches and organizations donate funds to help with construction of the homes. Families selected to live in a Habitat home must put “sweat equity” — approximately 500 hours of work — into a Habitat project. Homes are sold at market value but without interest, enabling people who would not qualify for a traditional mortgage the opportunity to own their own home. The family selection process ensures applicants can afford to

make the monthly payments. Habitat also provides training that helps families understand responsibilities of home ownership. In addition to donations of cash and materials, the local affiliate operates the Habitat ReStore, which sells used building materials and supplies, and home furnishings. The ReStore on Pine Road accepts donations of used goods and items, which are resold to raise funds for future projects. Monthly payments from homeowners also help Habitat keep its building projects moving forward. The sale of the homes purchased and rehabilitated through the neighborhood stabilization program will add to that ongoing fund. Merriman said the federal program identifies areas with

high percentages of foreclosures. The areas identified for the local program are in zip codes 30263, 30220 and 30259 — Newnan, Grantville and Moreland. Houses in all three areas may be purchased and repaired. Because the city of Newnan is handling the funds, 35 percent of the homes must be in Newnan. The federal money can be used for purchase of the homes and repairs to make them ready for occupancy. “It’s going to put some money back in the economy,” said Bob Peebles, chairman of the Habitat board. It is estimated the neighborhood stabilization funds will enable Habitat to buy and upgrade at least 20 houses. Teresa Brooks, left, accepts house warming gifts from Leslie Merriman, center, of NewnanPeebles said he believes “a lot Coweta Habitat for Humanity, and Linda Satter at ceremonies in August 2009. At right is Mary Elsner, a future Habitat homeowner. more than that” will be done.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010 — The Times-Herald — 3E

Discover the NEWNAN CENTER: your path to


Discover the University of West Georgia’s growing Newnan Center. • Earn a degree in education, business, nursing or criminology. • Complete core classes for a degree you can finish at UWG’s main campus without having to reapply. • Learn on a wireless campus with multimedia-enhanced labs. The Newnan Center is only 30 minutes away from the main campus of UWG, designated a Princeton Review Best Southeastern College. Its big-campus amenities include a new stadium and the region’s largest indoor arena.

4E — The Times-Herald — Sunday, March 28, 2010


Coweta offers plenty for families used in past years as courtroom overflow space, is located at 1 LaGrange St. Travel across the globe vicCoweta offers many new ariously by attending the new and unique opportunities for the families who call it home. Armchair Travelers program, or learn about health topics Newnan’s Summit Family YMCA is a place where fami- with Medical Mondays. Patrons can wander the lies and fitness goals come upstairs art Gallery at the together. More than 900 people come library to see changing art exhibits by members of the through the YMCA doors Newnan-Coweta Art each day, says Executive Association. A Sack Lunch Director Jeff Alevy. cinema is also offered reguIn December, the Charter larly. Foundation of CharterBank Story time is held each awarded grant money to the Thursday morning at 10 a.m. Summit Family YMCA in the for pre-school age children. amount of $21,250. The Dancing, stories and arts and YMCA used the grant funds crafts are part of each proto purchase Hop Sports gram. portable fitness equipment One woman bringing her for the Youth Fit for Life prograndchild to a recent story gram. Alevy describes the new, interactive equipment as time commented that it was “nice” to see the old Carnegie a “Wii concept on steroids.” being used as a library again. Alevy says that the nonThe staff of the Carnegie is profit YMCA is “uniquely currently collecting old phopositioned” to help promote tos, and mementos of the fitness as Georgia’s obesity rates are among the highest in library’s history for a memory book. Newnan’s Carnegie is the nation. oldest Carnegie Library in the The YMCA’s Coach state of Georgia. Approach program offers Call 770-683-1347 for more individuals “yet to be fit” taiinformation on the library’s lored plans and coaching to programs or meeting room help achieve fitness goals. space, or visit at www.newWhile moms and dads are working out, or taking classes, . Coweta’s other libraries, children are supervised by Asa Powell Jr. in Newnan, the YMCA’s Child Watch Central Library in East staff. Coweta, and the Senoia Membership scholarships are available to single parents, Library also offer programs for children and adults senior citizens on a fixed income, or those families fac- including teen programs, book clubs, geneaology classing a job loss. es, and job-hunting assisThe YMCA is about more than fitness. Its teen outreach tance. A new Grantville library is and summer camp day programs also teach participants under construction adjacent about character development to the town’s new ball field with the Grantville Library and making lasting friendBoard anticipating a mid-2010 ships. opening. The Y also offers ways for The wide variety of proits members to be involved gramming offered by the with volunteering through can drives, collections to help Coweta County Recreation Department also lends to the those serving overseas, and quality of life experienced by gently used clothing drives. families. The YMCA staff and memThe recreation department bers will help build a Habitat for Humanity Home this sum- has several parks and fields where children can particimer. pate in team sports such as The YMCA’s Partner With baseball, softball and soccer. Youth Campaign is currently When the Latin-inspired fitunder way. The campaign ness dance Zumba gained raises funds for scholarships popularity, the department for those in need. For details on Partner With Youth, or any began to offer classes in two YMCA program, call 770-254- locations. Art classes, Mommy and 9622. Me Activity Classes, dog obeLast fall, Newnan’s dience courses and senior Carnegie Library re-opened programming are just a few of offering a central gathering place for all ages. The historic the other Recreation Department-sponsored activijewel, which had only been


Angela Decker works with a YMCA Titans swimmer during a practice in last June. Decker, who swam varsity at Northgate High, was one of two college students helping YMCA swim coach Buzz Kuhn during summer 2009.

Photo by Nichole Golden

Story time leader Dianne Oliver reads a tale to youngsters attending a recent program at the Carnegie Library in Newnan. Stories, music and crafts are offered at the story time events each Thursday at 10 a.m. ties. Coweta children are also fortunate to have access to the Georgia Youth Science & Technology Center (GYSTC) in Grantville. Elementary and middle school students enrolled in the public school system often take science field trips to the center. GYSTC brings its summer camps to various locations each year. An addition to the summer camps offered in 2010 will be CSI Newnan, covering general science and problem-solving for students entering Kindergarten through fifth grades in the fall. The camp will be held at Jefferson

Tracy Maddox creates new learning centers using paper sacks while attending “Bag of Science and Math Tricks” at GYSTC in Grantville.

Parkway Elementary June 2124. A crime scene filled with curious items, and new daily clues will fill this week as eager campers investigate to solve a mystery of a missing teddy bear. Other camps are Robots, Rockets and Electricity for students in grades four through nine, and Bugs for Breakfast for younger students. Register online by May 1 at . This year, the GYSTC Camps will be held at three different locations: Jefferson Parkway, Moreland Elementary, and the University of West Georgia, Newnan campus.

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Enjoying karaoke at the recent father/daughter Sweetheart Dance at the Summit Family YMCA were, from left, Madison Lecuona, Isabella Walters, Rebekah Logan, Macy Morgan and Stella Gerson. The YMCA plans to make the dance an annual event.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010 — The Times-Herald — 5E

Cargill Newnan “Where Great People Come to Meat” Employees of Cargill Newnan Volunteers from Newnan worked as lane monitors for Special Olympics Masters Bowling Tournament! A great time with great people!

Cargill Newnan volunteers from left to right – Jacky Carstairs, Accounting; Terri Baker, Health Services Manager; Jennifer Overstreet, Accounting Manager.

The Cargill Newnan plant recently enjoyed an authentic Ethiopian celebration. Employees prepared delicious African dishes to share with everyone and the authentic handmade clothing was beautiful. Celebrating diversity has become a tradition for all of us at Cargill.

Jennifer celebrates with all of the winners on her team.

Name: Gail Warner

Cargill Community

Areas of Responsibility: Gail is responsible for checking bar codes on the products and ensuring that all products are tightly sealed and labeled correctly. This is a vital responsibility to ensure a good quality product for our customers. Personal Bio: A life time resident of Coweta County, Gail works in our Beef Department as a Quality Monitor. She has been with Cargill since the plant first opened in October 1998. Gail and her husband, Jarvis, recently visited her son, David and daughter-in-law, Shoba, in Japan. These young people are currently serving in the Air Force and David has since been deployed to Iraq. Gail enjoys traveling and studying history and especially had a wonderful time on the trip to Japan. Gail also has a daughter, Tiffany, who recently achieved her Master’s degree in business management. Gail attends Wesley Chapel AME church and has been an active member her entire life. What you like about working at Cargill Newnan: Gail likes the people at Cargill and loves their warm hearts. She says, “They are always willing to work with you on all occasions.” As an added bonus, work is conveniently close to home. What coworkers have to say about Gail: “A great team member with a good attitude.” “Someone you can count on.”

Name: Petra Fuhrmans Areas of Responsibility: As Controller it is Petra’s responsibility to safeguard the assets of the company. That not only includes providing timely and correct financial reports, but also ensures that all company property in Newnan is well-managed and accounted for. She is active in every production process, ensuring efficient and cost effective transactions. Efficiencies are daily challenges to keep the business competitive. As Controller she is a member of the BMT – Business Management Team – providing leadership and counsel to all areas of the plant operations. Personal Bio: Petra has been with Cargill for 21 years in various finance positions. She worked in a number of locations in the US as well as four years in Germany, and joined the Newnan team as Controller in 2000. Petra was born in Hamburg, Germany. She is a US citizen and has lived in the United States for almost 50 years now. She and her husband, Hans, have three children and two grandchildren. Petra is active in the community and has served on the YMCA Board of Directors and as a member of the local United Way Board. Petra is a daily visitor to the local YMCA, where she participates in weights, yoga, core exercises and speed biking. Petra and Hans love the Atlanta Symphony and especially the chorus which she says is “the best in the world.” What you like about working at Cargill Newnan: “At Cargill, customers and employees come first. At Cargill we are proud of producing high quality and wholesome food. In Newnan, we produce Case Ready meats for supermarkets. It gives me great satisfaction to know that our meat products are the best for customers to enjoy. I love working for Cargill because we are part of a large family of employees and the well-being of each employee is vitally important. Cargill provides a network of benefits for employees. As a result, people at Cargill are highly engaged and proud of their work.”

The Cargill Team has been a proud member of the Newnan community for twelve years. We began operations in October of 1998. While providing employment for over 350 persons, we have been blessed to successfully maintain a competitive business while never experiencing a work force reduction. The Newnan Cargill Team takes pride in giving back to the surrounding community. We are engaged in many areas of the community and hold part of our mission as “Nourishing People.” We try to focus on this each day. Our employees are our most valuable asset. We promote participation and engagement in many aspects of our daily operation. We look forward to sharing with you more information about our Team in future issues of The TimesHerald. Some things we will be highlighting are our team members, work and recreational experiences, and community involvements. We look forward to many more years of being an even greater asset for Newnan as we continue to grow and develop in this great community. A huge THANK YOU goes out to all of the Cargill Team members who have helped along this journey. Also, we must recognize the great community in which we work for allowing us the opportunity to be part of something really special.

What coworkers have to say about Petra: “Petra is an exceptional boss/person.” “She is strong, confident, and extremely supportive. She strives to do her best, and to get the best out of others.” “Great person to work with. Strong and fair leader with a big tender heart.”

Cargill Newnan has HEART! Health Services used February Heart Health Month to encourage our employees to take a closer look at their heart health! We kicked off our month with a Red Cross blood drive on February 4th. We had over twenty employees donate the gift of life, which will in turn benefit more than sixty individuals! WOW! February also kicked off our new, month-long, heart health education series. Employees participated in a heart health screening each week and gained entry into a drawing for a great prize. Prizes include athletic shoes for one lucky winner each week, as well as an extra drawing for a great prize like a bicycle, a Wii Fit, a trip to Gatlinburg, or even a heart-healthy meal basket! We know our employees have HEART, and we want to make sure they are keeping it healthy and strong!

Shannon Norris Complex Manager

CARGILL NEWNAN AT A GLANCE Cargill Newnan started production in October of 1998. We are a U.S.D.A. inspected facility with 364 employees. We feed approximately 4 million people per week. We provide consumer-packaged meat products serving retailers in the southeast and southwest United States.

Join Our Team! Now Accepting Applications! Stop by 33 Dart Road, Newnan. Cargill is a drug free, equal opportunity workplace.

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6E — The Times-Herald — Sunday, March 28, 2010


Senoia thriving, despite economic downturn By JEFF BISHOP Senoia continues to thrive in spite of the economic downturn, and that trend is going to continue as visitors flock there later this year to see the Southern Living “Idea House,” say members of the community. Walls on the “four-story brownstone” are already up. The brownstone — something never before seen in a small, Southern town like Senoia — eventually will be used on a day-to-day basis as a residential property, but will also allow film crews to use the street in front of it as a set to double as a Boston, Philadelphia, or New York City location. Senoia is home to RiverWood Studios, which served as the home base for the recently-filmed “Killers” movie staring Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher. The movie will be a major summer 2010 release. “They say that the Idea House could have 300 to 400 visitors a day” after it opens to tourists, said David Brown,

chairman of the Coweta County Development Authority. Atlanta magazine will also use Senoia for an upcoming “House of Dreams” project, Brown said. “It was originally supposed to go in a subdivision north of Atlanta,” but that fell through, Brown said, and now the magazine is looking at Senoia for its next annual “House of Dreams” feature. “It’s going to be a big event,” especially when it’s cross-fertilized with the Southern Living ‘Idea House,’” Brown said. He said the eastern Coweta town is doing amazingly well, with the latest addition being the upscale Founders Restaurant on Main Street, owned and operated by Todd and Tray Baggarly, descendants of one of the town’s earliest families. “That place is first-class,” said Brown. “It’s a white-cloth restaurant, and it can be used as a movie location,” just as the nearby Maguire’s pub has been used as a regular location for the Lifetime network TV show “Drop Dead Diva.”

Fans of big Hollywood movies like “Apocalypse Now” can find memorabilia such as Col. Kilgore’s surfboard on display at the Senoia Redneck Gourmet. On the sidewalk outside the eatery, there’s a “walk of fame,” with bronze stars noting the growing number of films made in the town. Brown said with all the ongoing activity there, Senoia’s future looks particularly bright. With growing national attention on small-town life and “family-oriented, walkable communities,” said Kristen Payne, director of Southern Living Homes Group, when the magazine announced Senoia as their choice for 2010, “we set our sights on finding a historic town under revitalization.” She described Senoia as “a small Georgia town where the main street looks like a scene out of the movie ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ — but look deeper and you will find a community committed to eco-friendly construction right down to the electric cars parked in front of the diner. “This town is blending the best of today with the nostalgia of yesterday,” said Payne. “It’s Photo by Bob Fraley

The 3,700-square-foot, 3.5-story Southern Living Idea House in Senoia will be the first of five such luxury brownstones to be constructed. It will feature a courtyard, a plunge pool and a grilling pavilion. It will also feature a rooftop terrace and an elevator. The brownstones will be priced around $600,000-$1 million.

Photo courtesy Gary Gruby

Approximately 800 people gathered in downtown Senoia New Year’s Day for the Stand by Me portrait. This year’s photo commemorates the town’s Millennium Portrait, taken Jan. 1, 2000.

why we chose this location to tell our story with this year’s Idea House.” The home in Senoia will be the first-ever Southern Living brownstone project. The house will open for tours in early June 2010 with ticket proceeds benefitting The American Cancer Society Cattle Baron’s Ball 2010. Jamie Elliott McPherson of Hearth and Home Interiors of Newnan was selected by Southern Living as the interior designer for the project. “His sophisticated style and unique ability to blend antiques with urban style is simply innate,” she said. “Jamie’s work as a noted kitchen designer has earned him recognition both locally and nationally.”

The Historic Senoia Project is a downtown redevelopment initiative in the Senoia historic district, undertaken by the principles of RiverWood Studios, who describe the new project as “an in-town urban living, dining and cultural experience that includes shopping, attractions and ambience.” Many of the vacant parcels of land in Senoia’s Historic District have been acquired for the purpose of constructing period infill development, designed to blend seamlessly with the town’s existing architecture set between the late 1800s and the early 1900s. Scott Tigchelaar, president of RiverWood Studios, said the Historic Senoia Project’s gin property development’s recog-

nition by Southern Living is “thrilling.” “You just can’t buy that type of exposure,” he said. “It should be phenomenal,” and could lead tens of thousands of tourists “to come visit the site.” The 3,700-square-foot, 3.5story idea house will be the first of five such luxury brownstones to be constructed. It will feature a courtyard, a plunge pool and a grilling pavilion. It will also feature a rooftop terrace and an elevator. The brownstones will be priced around $600,000-$1 million. Tigchelaar said the magazine estimates that “anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000-plus people” will come to Senoia and tour the home.

Discover the Beginning of Your New Life at Towne Club Peachtree City. Many active retirees considering a move to a senior living community wonder if they’ll be giving up their freedom. But Towne Club Peachtree City residents have found that they’ve simply changed their address, not their lifestyle.

Towne Club, a new concept in independent senior living for adults 55+, offers resort-style living at an affordable cost. “When I came to Towne Club, I wondered how long I would stay,” resident George Anderson explains, “but this is a great place, and I wouldn’t think of leaving.” The community has won awards both for its breakthrough design and its unmatched Peachtree City location.

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Residents of Towne Club enjoy country club dining, spacious apartment homes, countless activities, a gorgeous setting, supportive services if needed, and much more. Earl White, one of Towne Club’s first residents, compares

Towne Club to the Waldorf Astoria. “The things that really attracted me were the beautiful surroundings, the well appointed apartments and the beautiful grounds,” said White. “We even have a garden where we can grow vegetables and flowers in the spring. And the friendly staff would do anything for you.” George Anderson agrees, saying “You can go around the world and find beautiful places but that’s not what makes a nice area. The people are what make it nice. Now this is a beautiful edifice, but the thing that makes Towne Club are the residents and the staff.”


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Sunday, March 28, 2010 — The Times-Herald — 7E


Variety, affordability bywords for Coweta arts community By W. WINSTON SKINNER

Photo by Bob Fraley

Charles Wadsworth accompanies cellist Kristina Reiko Cooper who flew in from Tel Aviv, Israel for the 2010 Wadsworth and Friends concert in Newnan’s Wadsworth Auditorium, and was flying back the next day.

Although the economy has been at a low ebb, Coweta County’s arts community remains active and vibrant. Leaders in the arts locally have lots planned for the remainder of 2010 and are already looking at options for 2011. Variety and affordability are key issues for people planning arts events. “We have had some wonderful events and some great opportunities,” said Don Nixon, director of the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts. Ginny Lyles, 2010 chair of the City of Newnan’s Cultural Arts Commission, said “a nice, broad appeal” is the aim of that group. The tight economy has brought arts supporters a new reason to contribute their money and support. Economic conditions may also actually have helped with attendance at arts events. Lyles said historically, people have attended and supported cultural events in tough economic times. “Cultural interests — people will continue to do those things. People want some kind of outlet,” she said. Both Lyles and John Thrasher,

Photo by Jeffrey Leo

Kelsi Adams practices her song during rehearsal at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts for the July 2009 STAR production “One Sensation.”

who chaired the Newnan CAC committee for this year’s Charles Wadsworth and Friends Concert at Wadsworth Auditorium on Jefferson Street, noted the great attendance at that annual event. “We were pleasantly surprised — in fact, overwhelmed,” Lyles said. Thrasher said there were serious concerns about support for the Wadsworth event this year — because of the economy. While some past contributors were unable to help — or to help as much as in the past — the concert was a rousing success. “To our delight, we were able to reach out to the broader community and actually had a sell-out for the first time in several years,” Thrasher said. Don Nixon, director of the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts, said the arts center’s patrons have been extremely supportive in 2009 and continue their hard work this year. The Centre is operated by the Coweta County School System, which — like all school systems in the state — is having a lean time. The patrons are helping to make sure the local arts center continues its work — providing a space for performing arts and for painting, sculpture and other visual arts. “We’re very excited about the programming opportunities,” Nixon said. The Centre has an auditorium that seats almost 1,000 and is home to the Francoise Gilot Gallery, named for the famed artist who has visited the facility twice. The arts center is a regular spot for art exhibits, including several by the Newnan-Coweta Art Association. Nixon said he is working to make sure the offerings at the Centre appeal to a wide range of Cowetans. The Centre is working with the CAC to bring the Wenlan Orchestra from China for a concert. The student orchestra planned to give a concert at the Centre last year, but had to cancel because of the swine flu epidemic. Other events planned at the

Photo by Sarah Campbell

Wood carver and painter Cecil Cornwall and his wife, Maxine, relax at the opening reception for the NewnanCoweta Art Association’s juried show in June 2009 at the Centre for Performing Arts. Centre in coming months include a concert by Ralph Stanley and a one-woman show about Ethel Merman by Klea Blackhurst. Stanley brings a bluegrass legacy — his father wrote “Brother, Where Art Thou?” Blackhurst has been to the Centre before for a performance of “Annie, Get Your Gun.” Fayetteville author Ferrol Sams will be giving a talk and interacting with the audience at a Sunday afternoon event. Sams, a retired physician, is known for such novels as “Run With the Horseman” and his short story collection, “The Widow’s Mite.” Another Centre event will be the Three Redneck Tenors. The three trained singers will intersperse a wide range of music styles with comedy — finishing with three operatic arias. Michael Shinn, a Juilliard instructor, will give a piano concert. The Annie Moses Band, the Chamber Orchestra of the Kremlin from Russia and the Voices of Lee, a college group who were runners-up in “The Sing Off” on television are also coming to the Centre. The National Theatre production of “The Scarlet Letter” is also on the CPVA schedule. As part of events surrounding the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the Centre will be the location for the American Place Theatre presentation of a one-

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woman show, “Incidences in the Life of a Slave Girl.” Nixon noted all of those events are in addition to the programming aimed at students. Planned school events include productions of “Ferdinand the Bull,” “Angelina Ballerina” and “Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing.” While the CAC is working with Nixon on the Wenlan Orchestra visit, Lyles said the main goal of the CAC is “to provide cultural arts experiences promoting the Wadsworth Auditorium.” The downtown theater space — renovated in part with funds raised through the Wadsworth concerts — is “such a magnificent facility for us to have,” she said. Lyles said the all-volunteer CAC is keeping its plans simple but working to have a series of cultural events each year. One of the upcoming projects is “some collaboration with students from several of the colleges around us.” Lyles said all the area colleges have talented students who could provide entertainment for the community. A big band show and a Beatles tribute band performance are also planned by the CAC for 2010. Next year, the group hopes to mount a country music concert of some kind.

8E — The Times-Herald — Sunday, March 28, 2010


CELEBRATING SUCCESS in Cancer Treatment Years ago, the Radiation Oncology Services – Newnan (ROS) physicians developed a unique clinical program still in active use today: New Patient Tumor Conference (NPTC). NPTC provides a weekly forum for treatment planning and peer review. All new ROS-Newnan patients have the benefit of this built in second opinion. During NPTC, the treating physician presents new cases to our team of eleven ROS physicians for their input and approval of the treatment plan. Through a collaborative effort, NPTC ensures that all patients receive treatment consistent with both ROS and national standards. The Newnan center has expanded to include two linear accelerators. Dr. Rao, Dr. Santiago and the ROS-Newnan team provide state-of-theart technology gy to include:

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At ROS-Newnan, we recognize that the word cancer has different meanings depending on one’s perspective. We deliver quality cancer care at all levels throughout a patient’s ROS-Newnan experience. In addition, we provide technology and expertise in an environment of compassionate care. It is through the efforts of many that the fear associated with cancer can be replaced with understanding, acceptance and hope. ROS-Newnan extends a heartfelt thank you for the support of the communities we serve.

Accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) in radiation therapy since 1995.

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