23 March 2018

The Die is Cast

Your Source for the REAL Story 

Greetings & Salutations, beautiful readers, and it's looking to be a glorious day in Georgia's Piedmont w/ highs flirting with the mid-60s today & then pushing into the 70s on Saturday. Rain then moves in & it's looking like we'll be dealing w/ at least one more cold snap. Hey, that's March, right? 

I was talking w/ someone yesterday & we both just kind of chuckled at the level of comprehension, or lack thereof, of current events with some of our fellow citizens regarding the NCRC situation. Both he & I had had prior communications with different folks the last two days & there was a common theme: 

"What's going on with the Rec Commission? What happened with Josh?" 


I guess they've been under rocks for the last four months. Who the hell knows? I actually told one person this: "go back to November on the TPC website & then just read until now..." 

Egad & Selah 

Oh well, those of us who know what's up, know what's up, and that's all that matters. Josh McKelvey is a true champion of Freedom & Liberty & is a good, good man. There are people in this county who are playing a game that they're just arrogant & ignorant enough to think they can win. It's been seen here a few times the last few years. But playing checkers when others are playing Chess is not a recipe for victory. And by ringing a bell that can never be unrung, they've initiated a chain of events that will reach resolution, and remedy will be justly had. And I know directly for a fact that at least one of these players has at least talked themselves into believing that this is all about a pursuit of justice, but Natural Law clearly states that  no matter the intentions or perceptions, that a violation of the order is a violation. But that's freedom, yes? The ability to, as PJ describes it, do as you damn well please, but also the duty to take the consequences. 

To that point, you will see what some may describe as metaphorical Molotov cocktails being thrown by this publication over the next few weeks. 


Stay tuned, friends. We'll be seeing you real soon. 

- MBM - 

22 March 2018

Wednesday Check-in: Odds & Ends


G'morning, Georgia Piedmont, and we sure hope it's all good out there. And how did everyone like that wonderful, typical first day of Spring? Oh well, by tomorrow it's supposed to be nice again & it's looking like a pretty weekend. We'll take it. 

So much to talk about, but so little time. Your semi-esteemed editor is pretty busy these days, but we just have to rise above, don't we? Let's dig in on some bullet points: 


  • The more I think about it, the more angry I get over the entire NCRC debacle, but I'm so glad that our good friend Josh McKelvey finally had his "Charlie James" moment & said to hell with it. I sure hope Chairman Banes, the Henderson machine, Atty Lindsey et al. are happy & pleased with themselves.
    • As a side bar, the conventional wisdom of some is that the only proper way to deal with a dumpster fire is to pour a crap-load of gasoline on it. To the point, the word on the street is that Anthony Henderson will presumably be on the NCRC w/in a couple of weeks. Pass the popcorn & the cold beers...
  • A quick update on the 10th Congressional District GOP Primary. Maybe keep an eye out for young buck & political newcomer Bradley Griffin. This young fella seems to have an impressive work ethic & resume. TPC is hearing a lot of grumblings about Jody Hice. Now with all that said, Hice is certainly almost a lock for this thing, but maybe, just maybe, there could arise some excitement in this race. We'll keep an eye on it.
  • And while we're talking political stuff above & beyond the Covington & Newton Co. level, how 'bout this Governor's race, huh? Wow! The political junkie in me is starting to get very aroused. So much drama, so many storylines. And how about that poll that came out showing Hunter Hill positioned in 2nd place? Driving around you see a lot of his signs. Ditto for SOS Brian Kemp. I even saw a Tippins sign yesterday. Still haven't seen one of the presumed front runner Casey Cagle, though. And speaking of CC, per the AJC, he's up to his old tricks in the Gold Dome. As many have known for years - political revenge seems more important a lot of times to the Lt. GOV than helping Georgians. And that's a shame if true. Look for a dedicated & expansive TPC piece breaking down & handicapping the Governor's race in the very near future.
    • And that's with out getting into the Democratic side of things with the battles of the two Stacys. That one is exciting as well & will be discussed in the write-up. 

Well, gang, I gotta get ready to work one of my 7 jobs, so let me get rolling. As always, thanks for reading & we'll see you real soon.



20 March 2018

Covington Councilman Josh McKelvey Tenders His Resignation from the Newton Co. Rec Commission

Strongly worded letter speaks to the dysfunction of the Newton Co. Government 

TL;DR - Mic Drop

Just a couple of hours ago this publication received McKelvey's resignation letter, and in our estimation, it is absolutely SPOT ON! Well done, Councilman. Now with both McKelvey & Rhodes off the board, one hopes that perhaps this shameful witch hunt is over. But now the consensus view is that we'll likely see a dumpster fire with the Rec Commission moving forward. And that's a shame. That's too bad for our kids, but apparently ego and the thirst for more power are more important to some of our elected officials.

Here is McKelvey's letter in its entirety: 

March 20, 2018

Dear Chairman Banes,
When I was first asked about serving as the City of Covington’s appointment to the Newton County Recreation Commission, I was eager and honored to accept. I had just been elected to my first term as one of Covington’s three East Ward Representatives, and wanted to be a driver of positive change in our community. My two children were not ready to be involved in any recreation programs yet, but I knew one day they would be. From my discussions with other Council Members, County Commissioners, and friends, I also was aware the Recreation Commission had some perceived “issues.” I was excited to take part in helping to improve that perception and to make the programs offered by the NCRC better for the children of our County.
The last few months have been eye-opening to say the least. Prior to the initiation of the “quasi-judicial” proceeding to have me removed from my appointed position on the Newton County Recreation Commission, I believed all the talk about “unity” and “working together for a better Newton County.” I felt, and still feel, that an individual should not be judged by party membership, race, religion, family lineage, or wealth, but by character and actions. I wanted the politically influenced rash decision making and the quid-pro-quo that defined “politics as usual” in Newton County to end. This is why I rejected the “Good Ol’ Boy” candidate put up by my own party and openly encouraged others to support you, the first Democrat I’ve ever voted for in my life, to be the next Chairman of the Newton County Board of Commissioners. I truly believed things would be different. Unfortunately, recent events have cast some doubt on those beliefs.
Since that night in November, I have watched Commissioners and community activists, people that I greatly respected and supported in the past, either stay silent or go along with this game that’s being played. The most disturbing of this was the fact that a year ago, I had a Commissioner encouraging me to “fall on the sword” to improve the perception and performance of the Recreation Commission. Today, that same Commissioner is nowhere to be found. In a seemingly choreographed effort, it has also been insinuated publicly that my decision to vote to remove the previous Director of the Newton County Recreation Commission was made based on race, which couldn’t be more opposite of the truth. In this game, however, I understand some people are hell bent on gaining complete control of this county, and for them, the truth doesn’t matter if it isn’t beneficial to their objective.
Here’s the truth. On the evening of the vote to remove the previous Director, I was not aware of the protections that were guaranteed by his classification as a “Civil Servant.” It was not until the next day that I began to understand, after I received a phone call from Mr. Danny Stone. Even then, I still had questions and it wasn’t until our meeting with the County Attorney and County HR Director on November 30 I understood Due Process may have been violated. There was never any malicious intent to terminate the former Director from his role with the Recreation Commission. It was a difficult decision that all five of the voting board members in attendance on the night of November 27 reached after hearing the information collected by the Newton County Recreation Commission’s investigative committee. When we took the vote that night, we acted in good faith, and believed we were making the best decision for Newton County. Regardless of the outcome of the vote I participated in, Newton County took that decision away from the Newton County Recreation Commission and immediately placed the former Director, a county employee, on paid administrative leave for a period of approximately 90 days after the Recreation Commission voted to terminate. At the end of the that period, the Newton County Board of Commissioners stated publicly in the Newton Citizen that the former director, a county employee, had been terminated, and the County agreed with the actions of the Newton County Recreation Commission. With this information, I question the “why” behind the attempts to have me resign or have me removed from my appointed position.
Mr. Chairman, I once again challenge the notion that you have the authority to remove me from my appointed position on the Newton County Recreation Commission. Even if you did have the authority, to do so would require proof that I acted maliciously, which I did not. I also question the timing of the attempt to remove me. It appears uncharacteristic of you, as though you acted in haste. If this decision was made with the objectives of complicating pending legal matters, placing Covington and Newton County at odds, and creating racial division then your mission has been accomplished.
After notifying you of my objections and concerns for how this entire situation has been handled, I hereby resign from my position on the Newton County Recreation Commission as the City of Covington’s appointee. I have simply grown tired of having to fight with the County to continue my role as a volunteer, while at the same time preparing to defend against a lawsuit, and meet my other commitments at work and home. I am grateful to the City of Covington for allowing me the honor of serving them on the Recreation Commission, and for their support throughout the last few months. I also appreciate the gratitude that has been privately expressed by so many in the community, including County and City Employees that work under the supervision of the Recreation Commission. It is my hope that through all of this strife, the Newton County Recreation Commission will be able to improve its services to the residents of Newton County, and once the dust settles, we can find a way to trust one another again. Our ability to work together regardless of race and political affiliations depends on it, as does the hope of a future for our sons and daughters where racial and partisan politics will have little influence in the decisions they make.

Councilman Joshua McKelvey
City of Covington – East Ward Post 3





Another Moment From Us

[State of GA]
[Newton Co.] 

(Covington, GA * 3/19/18) - 

Greetings, fabulous readers, and welcome back to The Piedmont Chronicles - Your Source for the REAL Story. 

As you've possibly seen here the last couple of weeks, TPC has gone through a few changes. The biggest of which is that we are now featuring local advertisers in addition to the embedded ads we've always done through Blogger/Google.

That was a pretty big decision for yours truly, and it was one that wasn't entered into lightly. I was apprehensive for a few reasons. First off, I didn't want to give an impression that I was "selling out" or anything of the like, and I think that most folks understand that I am definitely not. If I had to depend on TPC as a primary source of revenue, I'd sho nuff be in the poor house. No, basically I'm just looking to break even. If I can pay for some of these Open Records Requests I've been filing & also maybe cover some gas & expenses - that's all this quasi-esteemed editor is looking for. 

Another thing I was worried about was the site getting too cluttered. But I think the way I've been doing things - staggering advertising campaigns & not trying to do too much - is working out pretty good. At least, I sure hope so.

So far, the feedback from both Advertisers & Readers has been nothing short of phenomenal. So, there's that.  Also, thank YOU for that. And, if you would, please be sure to click on the text & pics of these featured, local advertisers, maybe spend a bit of money w/ them & let them know you read about it on The Chronicles. I sure would appreciate it (and always feel free to click on the monetized ads at the beginning & end of each post as well :-). Each time you do, I maybe get approx. a quarter. Or is it a dime, or a nickel? Nobody really seems to know...)

And since I'm basically soliciting - or,turning tricks, marketing-style, as it were -  these days, reach out if you may be interested in what several folks are agreeing is the most effective & inexpensive form of advertising in Covington & Newton Co. Slide us an email, or give us a ring: 678.712.8652

Also, the biggest change that's coming is occurring as we speak. Whereas TPC used to post about once per week, and here lately, more like maybe 3 or 4 times a week, moving forward we will basically be posting every day, and possibly multiple posts per day.

In addition:

  • A relaunch of the sister publication of TPC - Go You Silver Britches!, which will be cross-posted here in the space & will give you the 411 on all things UGA athletics. 
  • The launching of a TPC Sports Division to cover the sports activities of the Georgia Piedmont. 
  • Adding at least a new contributor or two to go along w/ old friend Ellis "Da" Millsaps. 
  • Some additional insights about Yours Truly, Da, and a few other folks. Think something along the lines of: The Real Story of the Real People of TPC
  • And a few more things... 
Exciting times, friends. Again, thank you so much. None of this is possible without you. Thank you.

Your Friend,

MB McCart 
"Your Pleasure is Our Pleasure & We Aim to Please"

19 March 2018

Local Business Spotlight: Travis Moore, Broker Associate with Hometown Realty Consultants, Inc.

Travis Moore has developed a well-earned reputation as one of the Georgia Piedmont's premier real estate agents. Specializing in residential, land & commercial, the secret of his success, to quote John D Rockefeller Jr., "is to do the common things uncommonly well," with an emphasis on hard work, superior customer service, honesty & fair dealing. 

Moore's license hangs with Hometown Realty Consultants, a local independent brokerage firm that is "small in size, but BIG on customer service." In fact, their 3 keys to success are: customer service, customer service & more customer service. And it helps that this firm is like a tightly knit family. "We're a team," Moore told this writer. "We all have each other's backs...if one of us needs a helping hand, another of us will be there for them. Many hands make light work." That sense of family, Travis tells us, has been instilled into the essence of Hometown Realty by its founders & owners, Kenneth & Darlene Smallwood. 

When interviewing Travis for this piece, a definite theme emerged. Like the previous quote about the secret of success, there is no substitute for handling the basic things in an efficient matter. Perhaps one of the biggest things is a simple one - "just answering the phone, and if you can't do that, then call somebody back" Often times, not returning calls is something that us real estate folks can sometimes get accused of. And it really is vital. As a 22-year real estate veteran I can truly say - staying on top of communications is key, but can be tough to do. It's sort of a multitasking juggling act, and Moore's ability to pull off that feat comes as no surprise to many who know him.

Not unlike your semi-esteemed editor, Mr. Moore is a man of many hats who has a knack for taking care of business even with multiple irons in the fire. In addition to his realty business, he handles some two dozen rental properties. He's also an Ice Man, as he's involved with several of the self-service ice machines you see around town, including the newest one at Hwy 11 & Hwy 142. A long-time EMT, Travis still does at least 3 or 4 shifts a month on the ambulance with Piedmont Healthcare. Also, Travis helps out his lovely wife Lindsey with her boutique fitness center, Moxie Fitness. 

Again, it's Moore's ability to handle multiple things and that impressive work ethic & his continuous quest to provide the best customer service possible that really sets him apart. And it's been paying of for this fella. 2017 was a banner year for him in real estate sales, his best one yet. Also, it was recently announced that Travis will eventually be taking over Hometown Realty as the Qualifying Broker. 

When interviewing Travis for this piece, I asked one final question:

"Why do you love real estate & real estate sales?" 

His answer was a great one: 

"First off, I just love helping people. I really do. And for most folks, the purchase of their home is the single biggest investment they'll ever make...it is the American Dream. To be able to help make that a reality...well, I love it! And I love the DEAL, too! Making it work, putting it all together, getting it over the finish line. It's great." 

And folks, I'm here to tell you - that's what you want out of a real estate agent. And one final thought: I've known Travis Moore for several years. He's as good a fella as you'll ever find. For those who know his family, and especially his Dad, you know that he comes by that hard work ethic & strong moral code honestly. He is, as we say here in the South, good people! 

Call Travis today for a free CMA and consult on your home, investment property or raw land.

Alright guys. Thanks so much for reading, we really appreciate it. Until we meet again. 


18 March 2018

The Sunday Edition: 3/18/18 - Glimpse into Mansfield's Past; Blog Laud, Keeping Kayleigh & Real Politick


| Covington, GA | Newton Co. |
Butts, Hancock, Jasper, Morgan, Putnam, Rockdale & Walton counties

Politics. Current Events. Local History. Sports. Music. Arts & Culture. Odds & Ends. Miscellany + What-not.

- Marshall "M.B." McCart - 
Editor-in-Chief, Community Troubleshooter & Public Advocate

"Your Pleasure is our Pleasure & we aim to Please"

A Glimpse into Mansfield's Past 
Contributed by multi-generational Newtonian, Mansfield Native & 4th Cousin, Larry Jackson 

There existed several years ago a horse track that was a part of Marben Farms, apparently owned by a Mr. O'Boyle, that Larry wrote about the other day. You can still see the outline of the track in this aerial map. 

A lot of folks may not know that there was a race horse training facility near Mansfield sometime around 1950 (plus/minus 5-10 years). As I recall they trained horses for some big named outfits in Kentucky (I'm not sure that I have my facts straight). I [do know] that there was a race horse training facility near what is now Charlie Elliot [off Hwy 11 just south of Mansfield]. In the attached google Earth pic you can still see the oval track around the Charlie Elliot firing range.
Larry went on to recount that he knew one of the jockeys who raced there back in the day.

Pretty cool stuff! And if I'm not mistaken, this general area was on most maps of Georgia in the late 19th & early 20th century as Leakton, and also Leakesville, that TPC has written about in the past. 

Blog Laud: A Page with a Powerful Message 

A wonderful lady that I admire immensely & who happens to be a great writer as well, Christina Henry, has finally started up her own blog - Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop. 

This blog was inspired by the difficult & sorrowful recent developments that Christina & her daughter have been dealing with that Christina so bravely wrote about & made public a few days ago. Please take a moment to click on the previous link at read this. It's important that you do. 

Powerful stuff there, my friends. 

This is a vital & all-too-important endeavor, and what Ms. Henry is doing, in our estimation, is very brave & very much needed. Mental health is the metaphorical elephant in the living room of American society. It affects pretty much all of us, if not directly (and for most of us, it does), and is something that must be addressed. I have my theories as to why this is such an issue. First & foremost, I do believe that there is a general malaise & a dissonance within the national fiber, and this, along with several other things that we won't go into at this time, is a leading cause. Things are not as they should be, good readers, and there are those of us - the more tuned in; the esoteric bright lights, if you will; the true sentient, feeling beings - who totally get that and can feel that. Usually these people are very sensitive, in the true sense of the word, and oftentimes are very intelligent.

Real Politick 

I've been, for years, working on a working theory. I have a file on it (I have a lot of files on a lot of things). It's been said that the state of Ohio is the bellwether of the dynamics & direction of American politics, and the data seems to bear this out; however, in many ways I believe the same to be true of Newton Co.

As an aside, isn't it also interesting that in some ways it seems as if the road to the Governor's Mansion goes through Newton Co. Brian Kemp's Deputy SOS & right hand man is Covington's Tim Fleming. For years, politico & consultant Brad Alexander, a Covington native, has been integrally involved with Casey Cagle. And that's without getting into all the ties between the former (but maybe not quite) Newton Co. power structure & the former county attorney vis-a-vis Nathan Deal and the state power structure. And is it true that the current Georgia GOP Chair is involved with TPA, the JDA & Stanton Springs? It seems that way.


But specifically, here in the home county, there is something going on. Something different. And to that point, I'd like to share something I wrote in the book last week: 

Moreover, there seems to be an almost fundamental transformation of the political landscape of the home county occurring right before our very eyes. A strong contingency of black AND white folks - all throughout our beloved Newton - are equally excited about Steven Rhodes, a Democratic but semiconservative person of color running in the 2nd district, as they are of Spencer Arnhart - a Republican but semi-progressive caucasian running in the 4th. I think it’s wonderful.

Interesting times, no doubt, dear readers. As always, we appreciate you stopping by. Happy Trails. 


14 March 2018

The Facebook Data Center at Stanton Springs & the $42 Billion "Phantom Bonds"

The Piedmont Chronicles 

As has been reported by several publications, Facebook is coming to the Georgia Piedmont. Specifically, a data center that is to be located at Stanton Springs. The Governor announced it last week, and it's been quite the thing.

The attention of this publication was more focused of the bond issuance, made between the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton & Morning Hornet LLC (Facebook), of an amount not to exceed to exceed $42 billion.

$42 Billion. Let that sink in for a second. As a point of comparison, may I offer up three things: 

  • The most expensive  building ever constructed on Earth is the Abraj Al Bait building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. In today's dollars, this building cost approx. $15 billion.
  • The largest bond offering in the history of Earth was Verizon's in 2013 which was a total of $49 billion. Nothing else comes within $30 billion, and there are no municipal or authority bonds anywhere close to that.
  • The bond issuing for the Baxter Baxalta Shire behemoth was $1.137 billion. 

But remember, friends, we're talking "phantom bonds" here. They call them that because no money actually changes hands since the company is the one actually buying the bonds. Got it? 

But, we also see that the first phase will be approx $750 million, and then three more possible phases that would each be around a half-billion dollars. But those are not guaranteed by Morning Hornet, the company that actually entered into the agreement. So, if all four phases are done, we're talking about maybe $2.5 billion. 

And don't forget about the PILOT payments - that's "payments in lieu of taxes" - that Facebook will be paying the JDA. Those are supposed to start up in 2024 and that first year will see a $2 million payment. 

$2 million vs $2.5 billion vs. $42 billion. 

More to come...

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As always, thanks for reading.