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Scaled down travel center project coming back before commissioners Aug. 17
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COVINGTON — Developers of a travel center at Interstate 20 and Ga. Highway 11 have agreed in principle with zoning conditions that will put limits on future development at the site.

According to a draft of recommended conditions from Newton County Development Services, the project that initially included a truck stop and travel center has been scaled back to include a 24,900-square-feet convenience store, auto fueling, and two or three restaurants.

Developer Jones Petroleum/JPC Design Construction is seeking a Conditional Use Permit that would allow underground fuel tanks as part of the development. The CUP is needed because the project is located in a watershed area.

Developers had initially proposed building a large travel center and truck stop on the site; however, the Board of Commissioners rejected a related rezoning request in February. The CUP request for the scaled down project is expected to come back before commissioners Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Jeremy Crosby, project manager at Jones Petroleum, said Wednesday the company has agreed to the special conditions recommended by Newton County Development Services. Under those conditions, fueling would be limited to 16 motor vehicle pumps (a total of 32 fueling positions); no extended parking will be allowed except for employees during working hours; no overnight customer parking will be allowed; no fueling positions for tractor-trailer trucks will be allowed; and there will be no public access to showers or laundry facilities on the premises.

“It doesn’t meet any of the definitions for a truck stop under our ordinance,” said Development Services Director Judy Johnson.

Crosby said developers already have preliminary agreements with Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King restaurants at the site and are in discussions for a third and possibly a fourth restaurant.

Residents of the area have said they are concerned that if the developer receives a CUP to build the gas station/convenience store/restaurants project, the next step will be to add fueling and overnight parking for tractor-trailer trucks.

Crosby said that is not part of the company’s plans.

“We were turned down for a truck stop, so that’s a moot point,” he said. “… so we revised our business model on how we want to approach that site.”

Senate candidate Kelvin King taking 'uncancel' message to every Georgia county
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CONYERS — U.S. Senate candidate Kelvin King brought his Win for America campaign tour to the east metro Wednesday, stumping for votes at meet-and-greet events in Conyers, Covington, Jackson and Jonesboro. King added McDonough to the stops on his tour Thursday morning.

King, 47, a conservative Republican, is seeking to take back the Senate seat from Raphael Warnock in next year’s election. Warnock is up for a full six-year term in 2022 after winning a January special election runoff.

“Our campaign is ready to take back this state, and we are willing to put in the work necessary to do it one county at a time,” said King in a released statement. He and his wife, conservative political pundit Janelle King, are visiting each of Georgia’s 159 counties with the “Uncancel America Tour” and King’s message of putting an end to the “cancel culture.”

“Janelle and I are excited to meet the people of Georgia in the very county they call home,” said King. “This isn’t your typical campaign tour because I’m not your typical candidate. We aren’t focused on only hitting major cities where we can put the most people in the smallest room and give our campaign an ego boost. We look forward to authentically campaigning in the places where life happens, whether it’s a feed store, diner, small business or town square.

An Air Force Academy graduate, veteran and Trump supporter, King is the owner of a metro Atlanta construction company. He’s taken aim at the Biden administration, saying that the President’s policies are “wrecking our economy, creating a crisis at the border and systematically dismantling every bid of the ‘America First’ agenda implemented over the last four years. Career politicians, woke corporations, and the cancel culture are all empowered while our families and small businesses are left to pay the price. As the GOP, we have to decide right now if we are knocked down or knocked out.”

On Wednesday, King visited with supporters at the Whistle Post Tavern in Conyers, Bread and Butter Bakery in Covington, The Brickery in Jackson and Crane Hardware in Jonesboro. He stopped in at GRITZ Family Restaurant in McDonough on Thursday.

Nominations open for Newton County Bicentennial Awards
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COVINGTON — Newton County is celebrating its 200th anniversary all year long, and the Newton County Bicentennial Committee is marking the occasion by recognizing local residents and businesses.

The Bicentennial Committee will present Bicentennial Awards to Newton County residents or businesses in one of 22 categories as nominated by their peers, neighbors, friends and fellow Newton County residents.

Nominations are open for the awards, which will be presented to the winners during the Newton County Bicentennial Birthday Celebration scheduled for December.

The Bicentennial Awards are designed to commemorate and recognize the work and legacy of local residents and Newton County businesses who reflect a high level of integrity, character, ethics, longevity in service and community commitment.

Honorees can be nominated by going to https://sites.google.com/co.newton.ga.us/newtoncobicentennialawardsthrough Sept. 10. Once the honorees are nominated, public voting will run from Sept. 20 through Oct. 15.

1. To nominate a person or business for a Bicentennial Award, the following criteria must be satisfied:

2. An application form, found at https://sites.google.com/co.newton.ga.us/newtoncobicentennialawards must be completed;

3. The nominee must be a Newton County resident or business;

4. Each nominee must have three letters of recommendation;

5. A brief description of why the applicant should receive an award must be included;

6. Any minor shall have parental consent.

All documents unable to be submitted through the online voting portal can be submitted to the Bicentennial Committee at newton200@co.newton.ga.us.

The Bicentennial Award winners will be notified in writing and the winners will be announced after all votes are tallied in December.

For additional information, please contact newton200@co.newton.ga.us or visit https://www.co.newton.ga.us/504/Newton-County-200.

Rick Jeffares announces campaign for state Senate
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JACKSON — Rick Jeffares on Wednesday announced his candidacy the District 25 seat in the Georgia Senate. Jeffares is seeking the seat that will be vacated by Senator Burt Jones, who is running for lieutenant governor.

Jeffares, who previously represented Senate District 17 from January 2011 to December 2017, said he believes his qualifications, willingness to serve others, and prudent, conservative legislation align with community expectations.

“These are exciting but troubling times we face as a state. Senator Jones seeking the office of lieutenant governor is good for Georgia, and I support him in his endeavor,” Jeffares said, “and our district will miss him.”

Jeffares cited his previous experience in the state Senate and said he has the qualifications to “hit the ground running.”

“My track record speaks for itself, and I look forward to listening to the district voters as I campaign,” he said.

Senate District 17 includes Henry, Newton, Walton and Rockdale counties. Jeffares resigned from his Senate seat in December 2017 to run for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.

Jeffares began his career at the Henry County Water Authority and led the city of Covington Water and Sewer Department. He then started J&T Environmental Services, an operation and maintenance service company that operates and manages water and wastewater systems across the state of Georgia. He also serves as president of the Georgia Rural Water Association.