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Truck stops now prohibited in Brick Store Overlay in eastern Newton County
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COVINGTON — A zoning ordinance amendment approved last week will prevent development of truck stops in the Brick Store Overlay district in eastern Newton County.

The Newton Board of Commissioners approved the zoning change at its Sept. 21 meeting, along with more restrictive requirements for development of truck terminal/dispatch/parking facilities in other zoning districts in the county.

Development Services Director Judy Johnson told commissioners that the change to the Brick Store Overlay ordinance brings it in line with the Salem and Almon overlays, where truck stops were already a prohibited use. The zoning change also makes truck stops a conditional use in the general commercial, light industrial and heavy industrial zoning districts. As a conditional use, any truck stop development would have to come before the Board of Commissioners for final approval.

The truck stop issue arose earlier this year when Jones Petroleum sought a zoning change to develop a truck stop at the Interstate 20 and Ga. Highway 11 interchange in the Brick Store Overlay. Area residents strongly opposed the development, and the county denied the rezoning. The county and developer ultimately worked out a plan for a smaller-scale fueling center that will not serve tractor-trailers.

In addition to prohibiting truck stops in the Brick Store Overlay, commissioners approved new, more stringent requirements for truck terminal/dispatch/parking operations. These uses would also require approval of a conditional use permit.

The new regulations call for truck terminal/dispatcher/parking facilities to front on a state highway, be developed on a minimum of 5 acres, be at least 500 feet from any residential use or residential district, be fenced and screened from view from all public rights of way, and conduct all repairs and washing within a completely enclosed building, among others.


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Conyers Police Department’s K9 Briscoe to get donation of body armor
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CONYERS — Conyers Police Department’s K9 Officer Briscoe, handled by Officer William Treadwell, will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from the non-profit organization, Vested Interest in K9s Inc. K9 Briscoe’s vest will be embroidered with the sentiment “Born to Love — Trained to Serve — Loyal Always.” Delivery is expected within eight to 10 weeks.

Vested Interest in K9s Inc., established in 2009, is a 501(c)(3) charity whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. This potentially lifesaving body armor for four-legged K9 officers is U.S. made, custom fitted, and NIJ certified. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s has provided more than 4,381 vests to K9s in all 50 states at a value of $6.9 million, made possible by both private and corporate donations.

The program is open to U.S. dogs that are at least 20 months old and actively employed and certified with law enforcement or related agencies. K9s with expired vests are also eligible to participate. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.

Vested Interest in K9s accepts tax-deductible contributions in any amount, while a single donation of $960 will sponsor one vest. Each vest has a value of $1,744- $2,283, weighs an average of 4-5 pounds, and comes with a five-year warranty.

For more information, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts donations at www.vik9s.org, or you may mail your contribution to P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.


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Conyers voters have early voting options
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CONYERS – Voters in the Nov. 2 Conyers municipal election will have several options for casting a ballot.

According to the Rockdale County Board of Elections, which will conduct the election, voters may choose mail absentee ballots, in-person early voting, Saturday voting or in-person Election Day voting. Only voters in the Conyers and Olde Town Precincts are eligible to vote in this election. The ballot will include mayor, city council District 1 and city council District 2, Post 1 races. The deadline to register to vote is Monday, Oct. 4.

Voters who choose to vote by mail can obtain the request form for an Absentee by Mail Ballot by visiting https://rockdalecountyga.gov/county-departments/board-of-elections-voter-registration/.

The Absentee by Mail Ballot request form can be submitted by email at absentee@rockdalecountyga.gov. It can also be submitted in person at the Board of Elections Office located at 1261 Commercial Drive SW, Suite B, Conyers, GA 30094.

In-person Election Day voting will take place at the voter’s assigned polling place. When voting in person, all voters will be encouraged to wear a mask and to practice social distancing.

Following are key dates and times for early voting:

♦ Tuesday, Oct. 12 – Early Voting Begins and first day ballots will be mailed to Absentee by Mail Voters

Early voting will take place only at 1261 Commercial Drive, Suite B, Conyers, 30094 (New Location)

Early Voting and Ballot Drop Box Period

8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Oct. 12 – Oct. 15, (Tuesday-Friday)

8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Oct. 18 – Oct. 28 (Monday-Friday)

8 a.m. – 7 p.m., extended hours — Oct. 29 (Friday)

♦ The Ballot Drop Box is located inside the Board of Elections Office during the Early Voting Period above and will be locked at 7 p.m. on Oct. 29. After that time, voters may drop off their ballot at the Board of Elections Office counter through 7 p.m. on election day, Nov. 2.

♦ Saturday, Oct. 16 and Oct. 23 – Saturday voting, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

♦ Friday, Oct. 22 — Last day Mail Absentee Ballot can be requested.

♦ Friday, Oct. 29 – Early Voting ends.

♦ Tuesday, Nov. 2 – Election Day – Polls will be open 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

♦ Tuesday Nov. 2 – All Mail Ballots must be returned to Board of Elections office by 7 p.m.

For more information, please contact the Rockdale County Board of Elections Office at 770-278-7333.


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HOSPITAL HERO: Kiersten Dacosta
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The Rockdale Citizen and Newton Citizen are shining a spotlight on the Hospital Heroes at Piedmont Rockdale and Piedmont Newton hospitals who are giving their all to provide a high level of essential health care services during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In this edition, we are honoring Kiersten Dacosta, an ICU nurse at Piedmont Newton Hospital. Here’s what the Piedmont Newton team has to say about Kiersten:

Kiersten Dacosta joined the ICU team at Piedmont Newton Hospital as a new graduate nurse in the midst of a COVID-19 surge in 2020. While it was no easy task, she embraced her nursing career and soaked in every educational moment she could. Kiersten goes the extra mile for her patients to ensure that they are taken care of as though they are her own family. She frequently picks up additional shifts to support her team and her patients. She doesn’t hesitate to speak up for her patients when needed. Her positive attitude brings a light to the unit, and our community is lucky to have her as an ICU nurse.


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17-year-old charged in murder of Conyers man
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COVINGTON — A 17-year-old male is being held on murder and other charges at the Newton County Detention Center following a Sept. 14 shooting that left a Conyers man dead.

According to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, Jayden Elijah Cuvilje, 17, of a Fieldview Lane, Covington address, faces charges of felony murder, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, possession of pistol or revolver by person under 18, aggravated assault, and possession of firearm or knife during commission of crime.

A report by the Sheriff’s Office stated that a deputy responded to an Arlington Drive, Covington, address at about 10:55 p.m on Sept. 14 in response to a report of a “penetrating trauma.”

When the deputy arrived, he reported he detained three subjects. He also observed a victim lying on his back in the driveway with blood coming from his head. According to the deputy’s report, there were no signs of life, so no medical aid was rendered.

The victim has been identified as Deartavius Tarrico Rogers, 25, of Conyers. According to the initial report, the relationship between the victim and the suspect was unknown. The case remains under investigation.


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