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Team Covington Chronicles April 25 - May 9, 2021

The week of May 2 - May 8, 2021 was Municipal Clerks Week. Pictured on the cover are the City of Covington's City Clerk and Georgia Municipal Clerks Association 2020 Clerk of the Year Audra Gutierrez (left) and Customer Service Manager and Deputy City Clerk Tiffany Johnston. Thank you ladies for all you do!

Spring is in full bloom in the City!

Representatives from the Newton College and career academy replant the community gardens at Heirloom Park which is next door to the Welcome Center.

and activities around town are in full bloom too!

On Friday, April 30, the Magnolia Drive-In returned to Legion Field with a Double Feature: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and The Great Gatsby And then On Saturday, May 1, Hazzard Homecoming 2021 pulled into Legion Field featuring cars, merchandise and impersonators paying tribute to the iconic TV show "Dukes of Hazzard."

We'd like to thank the Newton County Bicentennial Committee for donating popcorn for our event! The next Magnolia Drive-In is scheduled for Friday, June 4 at Legion Field. More information coming soon!
Magnolia Drive-In and Hazzard Homecoming both held at Legion Field

The Mayor and members of the Administrative staff attended a ribbon cutting for o'reilly's Early Learning Center. We would like to welcome O'Reilly's Early Learning Center to the Community!

Pictured: Another twinning moment for Public Works Director Kevin Sorrow (left) but this time with Water/Sewer Department Manager Robert Barber on the way to lunch for Robert's birthday.

  • Traffic study update
  • Construction agreement meeting
  • CTC curb cuts follow-up
  • Schneider street lighting layout
  • Fleet day at the Airport
  • Project 5G incentives meeting
  • Prepared May 3 Council Meeting agenda, packet and notes
  • Meeting with the electric coalition
  • WE LEAD events on May 6 and May 7
  • Council meeting on May 3
  • Heath Fair with Zumba and yoga classes
  • GOSP grant meeting
  • Telecommunications interviews
  • Next Generation 911 discussions

City Council met on May 3, 2021 and Mayor Steve Horton read a proclamation declaring May as "Foster Care, CASA and Foster Family Recognition Month." Thank you to all of the people who work with Alcovy CASA, Inc. (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and foster care as well as foster families for helping children in our area.

Sgt. Travis Pierce observes the room at the May 3 council meeting; City Council members and Public Works Director Kevin Sorrow look at a map for the traffic study and areas of concern; and CASA members are recognized by Mayor Steve Horton for "Foster Care, CASA and Foster Family" recognition month.

Mayor Steve Horton swears in new Covington Police Department Officer Juanquarlo Murrah.

Trees Covington and the Covington Housing Authority had a tree planting on April 27, 2021 spearheaded by Bess Dobbs (center) and Loy Summers (left) {Trees Covington} and Shamica Tucker {CHA}.

The program was supported by the local Ag extension teachers and Future Farmers of America which was led by Catrina Pollard.

The plantings took place at the Fowler Court Housing Authority property and included fig trees for their orchard and cherry trees in the parking lot. Pictured: Shamica Tucker (CHA)

Special thanks to the facilities and education team with the Covington Housing Authority.

CODE ENFORCEMENT

Code violations captured this week including grass that needs to be cut and a camper in the front yard of a residence.
  • There were 220 NOV's (Notice of Violation) letters sent.
  • Property Visits for Code Compliance: 62
  • New Code Enforcement Reports/Letters: 78
  • Customer Complaints and Follow-ups: 46

City Planner

City Planner Renee Criswell puts up Public Notice signs.
  • 31 Business Conformance Zoning Reviews
  • 48 meetings with various boards and commissions including Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Committee, Redevelopment Authority, Board of Adjustments Appeals, Potential Community Developments, Arbor Day/Tree Board, Regional Commission
  • 46 Projects/Site Visits
City Planner Renee Criswell (right) celebrated all of the planning and development mamas for Mother’s Day with cake, balloons and flowers. Pictured with Renee are Jennifer Hise and Salena Ward from Planning and Zoning.

BUILDING INSPECTIONS

Building official had to inspect incident at Newton Plaza on Hwy. 278
  • 12 Final Certificate of Operation inspections
  • 21 Combination inspections for residential and commercial
  • Eight plan reviews

Permitting & Licensing

  • Issued ten new business permits
  • Issued 25 permits
  • 117 customer service interactions including internal and external communications

Stormwater & ENGINEERING

  • The Sembler Development at Covington Town Center had their Pre-Con meeting and will begin construction soon.
  • The developers of Wildwood Phase 2 also had their Pre-Con meeting and will begin soon as well.
The Stormwater Department had the bid opening for the Ashley Drive Pipe Lining project. Tyler Marshall’s crew, with the Street Department, repaired some structures that are part of the project including the man hole pictured below. The top picture, to the left, is the beginning of the project and the bottom picture is the final product.
Tyler Marshall's crew, including Pat Wilson, Louis Robinson and Larry Baines, installed a manhole into a stormwater blind box that was buried in a resident's yard. The manhole is for contractors to install a slip line pipe for the Ashley Drive Pipe Lining project. However, it can also be used in the future if access is needed to run a camera in the pipe.

Street Department

The Street Department replaced a section of storm pipe on conyers street.

Pat Wilson, Louis Robinson and Brady Smith, from Tyler Marshall's Street Department crew fixing the storm pipe on Conyers Street.

Water Department

While the Street Department replaced the storm pipe, the Water department fixed the sewer on Conyers Street.

Stone Cowan, Dustin Nichols and Zach McKibben work on a sewer issue on Conyers Street.

Dustin Nichols and Stone Cowan replace the seat in a fire hydrant.

Zach McKibben blows down a new water service.

Darrin DeLamar, Mark Mealor and Stone Cowan undertake a sewer camera job.

Pictured: Darrin DeLamar and Stone Cowan install a new water meter.

  • Ran 26 sewer calls including unstopping sewer mains/service lines and investigating sewer issues.
  • Fixed two leaks
  • Made two water & sewer taps
  • 23 miscellaneous calls including checking on water tank sites, working on altitude valves, etc.
  • 21 meter orders to replace meters or ERTs
  • Worked on accreditation
  • Worked on five year improvement plan
  • Reviewed plans
  • Inspected new water main on Puckett Street

Land Application

You wouldn't even know you were in Covington if you stepped into the beautiful and picturesque quiet of Land App located off of Flat Shoals Road. Pictured below are just some of the flora thriving in the over 2,000 acres that make up Land Application Systems.

Pictures provided by David Croom, Land App Supervisor

Pictured: Laura Sullivan onboards Jarrett Mims (Gas Department) and Cole Tudor (Electric Department).

Welcome

The City welcomed nine new employees over the past two weeks.

  • Jarrett Mims - Gas Equipment Operator
  • Cole Tudor - Apprentice Lineman
  • Adler Piersaint - Police Recruit
  • Nathan Lucas - Police Recruit
  • Juanqualo Murrah - Police Recruit
  • Simon Libert-Davis - Police Recruit
  • Adriana Sanchez - 911 Communications Tech
  • Lacie Kenney - 911 Communications Tech
  • Edith Onanuga - 911 Communications Tech
The City is in the middle of Open Enrollment and our Socially Distant Health Fair! Over the past few weeks, employees have had the opportunity to attend various wellness activities around the city including Zumba and Yoga classes offered by Alcovy Fitness, blood pressure and glucose screenings, and take virtual quizzes to earn points for prizes.
Top Left: Luther Bouchillon participates in a blood pressure screening administered by firefighters Shane Strickland and Joel Edwards. Top Right: Members of City Staff participate in a yoga class. Bottom: COV team members April Draper, Maddi Powers and Laura Sullivan took part in a Zumba class.

Pictured: Laura Sullivan giving the new safety kits a thumbs up!

The Safety Risk department ordered new first aid kits for various departments across the City to help keep our employees safe!

REMINDER: Don’t forget to call 811 before you dig to prevent accidental damage to underground utilities!

Pictured: Welcome to newest Gas Department team member Jarrett Mims!

  • The Natural Gas Safety Response phone survey for the Gas Department's public awareness program requirements was completed.
  • Natural Gas Director Mike Jewell attended the virtual Gas Authority Annual Meeting and elections.

Pictured: Cathodic protection rectifier in use

  • We are continuing cathodic protection (CP) system repairs and inspections. Cathodic protection (CP) system prevents corrosion of our steel gas mains and prevents leaks.
  • There is an increase in requests for new service installations for new houses and projects.
Chasiti Robinson was selected as the Employee of the Quarter for January – March, 2021 for Covington-Newton County 911. Congratulations Chasiti!
The 911 Center received a visit from a special guest on 04/30/21. Jovie and her handler, Adam Cooper, stopped by to visit with the dispatchers that were on-duty.
Adam Cooper, Jovie and Hillary Wilder

Pictured: Sarah Herbert with Jovie

911 StaTISTICS FOR APRIL 25 - May 2, 2021

*Total CAD Calls Received: 1,852

*Total Agency Calls Generated: 2,076

*Law Calls Generated: 1,647 (79.34%)

  • Covington Police Department: 445 (21.44%
  • Covington Marshal's Office: 0 (0.00%)
  • Newton County Animal Control: 8 (0.39%)
  • Newton County Sheriff's Office: 1097 (52.84%)
  • Oxford Police Department: 23 (1.11%)
  • Porterdale Police Department: 74 (3.56%)

*Fire Calls Generated: 166 (8.00%)

  • Covington Fire: 44 (2.12%)
  • Newton County Fire: 122 (5.88%(

*NEWTON EMS Calls Generated: 263 (12.67%)

Pictured: Dispatcher Tyler Head pictured with Jovie and her handler Adam Cooper

911 Statistics for May 3 - May 9, 2021

*Total CAD Calls Received: 1809

*Total Agency Calls enerated: 2,047

*Law Calls Generated: 1,615 (78.90%)

  • Covington Police Department: 469 (22.91%)
  • Covington Marshal's Office: 0 (0.00%)
  • Newton County Animal Control: 10 (0.49%)
  • Newton County Sheriff's Office: 1,029 (50.27%)
  • Oxford Police Department: 38 (1.86%)
  • Porterdale Police Department: 69 (3.37%)

*Fire CALLS GENERATED: 171 (8.35%)

  • Covington Fire: 45 (2.20%)
  • Newton Fire: 126 (6.16%)

*Newton EMS CALLS GENERATED: 261 (12.75%)

Team Leader Dara Penland and Jovie

aCCREDITATION

April Draper, Accreditation Program Coordinator, participated as a Level 1 Peer Assessor in a virtual site visit for Pasadena, California’s accreditation process. This included interviewing subject matter experts in the categories of Public Education, Technical Rescue, Human Resources, Admin Functions and External Relationships as well as contributing the overall report of the team’s findings.

oPERATIONS

Engineer Promotional Process

Six individuals participated in a written exam as well as a practical exam. Interviews are to follow. Pictured are the scores from the written exam.

A shift

Congratulations to Steve Middlebrooks on his graduation from Paramedic School!

  • Apparatus operator training
  • A Shift responded to 10 calls for the week: one response for B-2; six responses for E-21; and four responses fro T-21.
  • Total training hours: 50 hours

C Shift

Congratulations to Chandler head on becoming a nationally certified Emergency MediCal Technician (EMT)! Great Job!

C Shift was called to 12 different structure fires from April 25 - May 9, 2021. T-22 responded to three structure fires and two fire alarms. Station 21 responded to one structure fire as well 10 EMS calls. Battalion 2 responded to eight structure fires.

C shift was also called to multiple motor vehicle accidents including one for T-22, six accidents and one vehicle fire for Station 21; and eight accidents for Battalion 2.

Pictured: Sgt. Matt Davis refreshes a fire hydrant. The Covington Fire Department has been painting and flushing fire hydrants in the community.

  • Three hours of training average
  • Blue Card training
  • Drone training
  • Weekly apparatus cleaning and maintenance completed at each station
  • Cleaned and sanitized each station
Firefighter Eric Wood cuts grass at the fire station

C Shift had a busy couple of weeks but still had a moment to make the day of two-year-old Knox By letting him sit in the fire engine and hang out with the firefighters!

(L-R) Firefighters Matt Bruno, Brian Moore and Noel Anson pictured with Knox and his older brother Jasper.
May 4, 2021

The Police Who Care and the Fuzz Run would like to thank Dr. Cathy Larrimore and Covington Women's Health Specialists for being a 2021 Diamond Sponsor of the Fuzz RUn!

Top Left: Assistant Police Chief Bradford assists a woman getting in her vehicle prior to the check presentation at the Patient Pavilion. Top Middle: Fuzz Run Committee members Heather Sullivan and Sharon Shepherd. Top Right: Dr. Cathy Larrimore and Fuzz Run Committee Chair/Organizer Allen Martin visit prior to the check presentation. Bottom: Dr. Cathy Larrimore, members of the Fuzz Run Committee and members of the admin staff of the CPD and the City of Covington pose for a picture of the Diamond Sponsor check presentation.

WEEK OF APRIL 25 - MAY 2, 2021

PATROL

WEEK OF APRIL 25 - MAY 2, 2021

  • On April 27, CPD Officers responded to an assault at an apartment on Johnson Drive involving Jennifer Cooper and her boyfriend Jeremy Henderson. Cooper stated that Henderson had attacked her, had a gun and was going to kill her. After officers arrived and made several attempts to get someone to answer the door to no avail, dispatch called Cooper numerous times. Finally, dispatch was able to speak with Cooper and she stated she could see officers and that Henderson would not let her come to the door. ESU, Fire Department and EMS responded, and as ESU was preparing to enter the apartment, Henderson came out peacefully. Officers discovered that the initial report and statements made by Cooper were false and that she was never at the apartment when she called 911. Henderson, who had been banned from the housing authority in September of 2017, was arrested for criminal trespass. Later that day, Cooper was arrested and charged with false report of a crime and obstructing/hindering a 911 call.
  • On April 28, CPD officers received three separate reports of a discharged gun in the area of Nelson Heights, Washington Street and Covington South. Officers did not locate anyone nor found any evidence of any shots fired.
  • On April 28, CPD officers received a call about child molestation. The mother of a 13-year-old juvenile female stated that her daughter had been having sexual relations with an 18-year-old male. There were cell phone messages on the juvenile’s phone referencing the relationship and their age difference. CID and DFCS were notified and the juvenile’s phone was taken into evidence.
  • On April 29, CPD officers responded to the Days Inn Hotel on Alcovy Road where a male victim reported that he was assaulted and robbed in his room. He let a female he had been chatting with via Snapchat into his room. While in the bathroom, two unknown males were let into the room by the female. He was then assaulted causing injuries to the back of his head and damages to the room. He later went to Piedmont Newton to be checked out. The female and two males left in a gray Toyota Corolla and the case was turned over to CID.
  • On May 1, CPD officers received a robbery call from AT&T located at 11172 GA Hwy 142. Approximately 15 minutes had expired before receiving the call, because the store representative was very shaken up and locked herself in the bathroom. A large number of cell phones were taken by two subjects who left the store walking in the direction of Lockridge Blvd. The subjects were wearing face masks and hoodies. A vehicle description was unknown. Later, with the assistance of dispatch supervisor Dara Penland, the perpetrators were tracked while traveling in a white Honda SUV. Penland contacted GSP and once the vehicle was identified, they attempted to stop it which resulted in a vehicle pursuit. The Honda was later stopped by GSP using the “Pitt” maneuver on I-75 in Houston County. Both perpetrators were taken into custody. The stolen cell phones and other evidence were taken into custody by CID Lt. Brent Fuesting and the perpetrators, 22-year-old Da’Von Nigel Cumberbatch and 19-year-old Jahsheniqe Celia Letang, were charged with armed robbery.
  • On May 2, CPD officers responded to the Covington airport where an inbound aircraft was having electrical failure causing the landing gear to malfunction. After circling the airport, the pilot was able to land safely. The pilot and his trusted co-pilot (his pet canine) were safe.
  • On May 2, CPD officers received a call on North Street of an infant choking. Officer Holbrook, along with other officers, quickly responded to the scene. When officers arrived, the infant was not responsive and its airway was obstructed. Officer Holbrook got the infant and began giving back thrusts. This quick action helped dislodge the obstruction enough for the infant to begin to respond. The infant was turned over to medics and was flown to Egleston for further evaluation. The infant was stable at the time it was flown. Great job to Officer Holbrook and the other officers who quickly responded in this situation!

cid

CID Sgt. Slade McCullough examined Person Crimes and Property Crimes CID detectives worked from April 26, 2021 to May 2, 2021 and compared them with the previous two years. The following results were found:

PERSON CRIMES:

From April 26, 2019 – May 2, 2019, there were 10 reported person crimes. During the same time period in 2020, there were five reported crimes. There were 10 reported person crimes from April 26, 2021 to May 2, 2021. For the date range of April 26 to May 2:

  • There was a 100% decrease (from 10 to five) in reported person crimes from 2019 to 2020.
  • There was a 100% increase (from five to 10) in reported person crimes from 2020 to 2021.
  • There was a 0% increase (10 to 10) in reported person crimes between 2019 and 2021.

• PROPERTY CRIMES:

From April 26, 2019 – May 2, 2019, there were 31 reported property crimes. During the same time period in 2020, there were 20 reported property crimes. There were 25 reported property crimes from April 26, 2021 to May 2, 2021. For the date range of April 26 to May 2s.

  • There was a 55% decrease (from 31 to 20) in reported property crimes between 2019 and 2020.
  • There was a 25% increase (from 20 to 25) in reported property crimes between 2020 and 2021.
  • There was a 24% decrease (from 31 to 25) in reported property crimes between 2019 and 2021.

Support Services

For the week of April 25 - May 2, CPD hired the following individuals to fill available police Officer positions:

  • Adler Piersaint: Non-certified and will be attending Piedmont Academy
  • Nathan Lucas: Non-certified and will be attending Piedmont Academy
  • Simon Libert-Davis: Non-certified and will be attending Piedmont Academy
  • Juanqualo Murrah: Certified and will begin the FTO program.

City Hall got a face lift! Amazing what a little, or maybe a lot of, paint can do!

Top pictures are the before look and bottom pictures are after City Hall was painted.

scouts improving our parks & our community

Over the last couple of weeks, we've had different ages of Scouts pouring out hard work and dedication in our community. Pack 211 from Oxford, which consists of kindergarten through third grade aged children, rehabbed the resting place of a K9 at the Welcome Center. And at Central Park, BSA Troop 222, led by the innovation of Clark Holder, installed a kiosk for informational purposes. Thank you to both groups!

Pack 211 cleaned off the K9 grave, which is located at the Welcome Center, that had been covered with pinestraw and covered it with stone and lined it with river rock.

They repositioned the marker that recognizes the "faithful friend and companion" resting there.

This endeavor was a lesson in reverence for the Lions, Tigers, Bears and Wolves. Thank you Pack 211!

Over at Central Park, Scout Clark Holder came prepared for hard work and the potential for accidents! Clark has constructed the kiosk with the guidance of the City's Special Projects coordinator Randy Conner and the Special Projects team as well as the assistance of his dad Jesse Holder.

Scouts from Troop 222 of Covington dedicated their weekend to erected the kiosk which is located at the base of the playground at Central Park.

Great job Clark and Troop 222!

welcome Center

Congressman Jody Hice, fifth from the left, and his team visited the Covington Welcome Center for a tour of the facility.
  • The Welcome Center numbers increased as the Center reopened April 19, 2021 and there were 3,966 visitors to the Welcome Center in April (see graph).
  • Congressman Jody Hice and his team stopped by for a tour of the new Welcome Center
  • On Saturday, May 1, 2021, the Welcome Center saw a record numbers of visitors...over 500 guests in one day! The influx of visitors was greatly assisted by the 2021 Hazzard Homecoming at Legion Field. It brought Dukes fans from around the country to Covington’s Legion Field and Visitor Center!
  • The Welcome Center hosted the Covington Montessori School, giving students a first look at the facility.
  • Tech scout with "Sweet Magnolias"
  • Facilitated Film Permit for "Sweet Magnolias"
  • Facilitated Film Permit for "Just Beyond"
  • Youth government planning
  • Attended the Planning for Impactful Summer Learning Seminar
The Welcome Center hosted the Covington Montessori School.

Economic Development: Urban Redevelopment Plan Workshop

Pictured: Marc Beechuk, Planning & Development Manager, discusses area in the City of Covington that need redevelopment.

Georgia’s Urban Redevelopment Act helps local government rehabilitate, conserve or redevelop any defined geographical area (urban or rural) that is locally designated as a “slum area.” Such an area may be characterized by deteriorated structures, defective or inadequate street layout, faulty lot layout, unsanitary and unsafe conditions, etc. The Act gives cities and counties the ability to undertake redevelopment efforts financed by tax exempt bonds that do not count towards the local government’s general indebtedness.

The Urban Redevelopment Plan workshops were held to determine the areas in the City of Covington where development should be a priority.

William Smith, Economic Development Manager, competed with the Newton Federal team at the Chamber's annual golf tournament.

COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available and walk-ins are being accepted as well. Please visit the Gwinnett, Newton, Rockdale Counties Health Department website for more information.

Georgia Department of Public Health statistics for Newton County and the State of Georgia as of May 10, 2021 which includes all confirmed positive cases and antigen positive cases.

STATE OF GEORGIA

  • 1,108,252 cases
  • 17,722 confirmed deaths

***

NEWTON COUNTY

  • 11,089 cases
  • 106 cases in the last two weeks
  • 223 confirmed deaths

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  • WASH YOUR HANDS
  • WEAR A MASK IN PUBLIC SPACES
  • CONTINUE TO SOCIALLY DISTANCE

Hoping all mothers enjoyed a peaceful and relaxing Mother's Day on May 9, 2021! Pictured are flowers at Heirloom Park next to the Welcome Center.