26 May 2023

Ellis Millsaps: Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio?

 The rule changes are in place and they're all good. The time clock changes are universally approved. It's hard to understand why this wasn't done long ago. The only parts of the game eliminated are dead time when no play was occurring. I suppose this wasn't a big deal when most viewers were at the ballpark and had paid for an experience they might not have wanted shortened.

 Last year, I think it was, I humorously suggested that every time a player stepped out of the batter's box to adjust his batting gloves he had to give $100 to the local homeless shelter.  The time clock has pretty much taken care of that ( sorry homeless). A batter under the new rules gets one time out per at bat where he could adjust his batting gloves but otherwise that is gone by the wayside.

Now of course 99% of viewers are watching the games on TV and want to see the action moving. Game times have been substantially shortened without shortening actual play. As good or better is the limitation of pick-off attempts at first base, the most boring part of the old game.

I was against elimination of the shift because it changed the rules. I’ve changed my mind. Banning the shift has improved the game by adding offense in the form of ground ball hits. It has returned the game to the way it had been played from 1850 to 2000. Too small a sample yet but it seems to me batting averages will rise with less reason to emphasize launch angle, to hit it over the head of that gaggle of infielders, and also that should reduce strikeouts. The batter is much more likely to make contact if he is swinging levelly, i. e., on the same plane as the pitch.

Larger bases along with limiting pick-offs is already resulting in more steals, more action.

 I disagreed with the ghost runner rule but it is here to stay. My problem was that it would affect the records baseball geeks like me revere.. My example was DiMaggio's hitting streak. My faulty research told me the Yankee Clipper needed extra innings to keep his streak going. Again I was wrong. In fact DiMaggio kept his streak going through more than one rain shortened game.

During the 56 game streak he was walked a lot but struck out only five times.  That to me is more amazing than the hitting streak. The records that will be affected by the end of extra Innings are season and one game totals. As remarkable and likely as untouchable as DiMaggio's streak is Ricky Henderson's theft of 130 bases in 1982. Without looking it up I'm confident he stole some of those bases in extra Innings.

MLB agrees with me that the ghost runner rule is not real baseball because it isn't allowed in the playoffs. Next time I will discuss the Braves. - Ellis Millsaps (Ellis can be reached at:


09 May 2023

Report on Newton County Hospital Authority: Still in Existence; Receiving Annual Payments From Piedmont Newton

*cross-posted at MB's Word on the Street

*edited & updated 5/10/23

As mentioned in this space a couple of months back, an alert reader made me aware of the fact that the Newton County Hospital Authority (NCHA) was still in existence. Further, this reader asked if I would do a little digging on it. Well, that's kind of what I do, so I proceeded to investigate. After a fair amount of research & time, and after having interviewed the authority's Chair - Billy Fortson - I have this report to tender for your consideration. 

And a quick aside. A few of you may remember, going all the way back to 2015, when the deal was first struck w/ Piedmont Healthcare to take over Newton Medical Center. At that time, those of us who'd been closely following (often in a frustrating manner) all the particulars w/ the peculiar structure of the Authority had initial cause for celebration, as this would finally do away w/ the extra millage the Newton Co taxpayer had been paying for the ambulance service & indigent care while (erroneously) thinking it'd also give an extra revenue stream to the county. 

Well, there is a revenue stream now. Has been for eight years. It's just not going to the county general fund. No, rather, it goes straight to the Newton County Hospital Authority. More on that later.

First off, per the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Newton County Hospital Authority is not in compliance & has failed to file its mandated Annual Authority Registration & Financial (AARF) Reports since 2018. 

That was basically the first thing I asked Billy Fortson, authority Chair, when I first spoke w/ him on the phone about this approx a month ago.

He had no idea what I was talking about. 

He got back to me the next day on that & admitted that it had basically slipped through the cracks. That back in the day, somebody w/ Newton Medical Center always took care of that. 

Even though the arrangement became official in 2015, it appears that things operated as they always had up until 2018 when everything was completely separated between the two entities - the authority & the hospital itself. 

As of today, May 9, 2023, they still are not in compliance

I scheduled an in-person interview w/ Mr Fortson on April 13th of this year. We met for almost an hour & went over all of the financials & I even got to go through the checkbook the past several years. 

I'd like to take a moment to thank Billy Fortson for being forthcoming & willing to meet w/ me. 

Here's, basically, the rub. In bullet point format: 

- the affiliation agreement between NCHA & Piedmont Newton closed in September of 2015 & was for 40 years

- the most recent meeting of the NCHA Board of Directors was 9/29/22 

- their most recent bank balance as of about a month & a half ago was approx $547,000  

- for the first three years of the affiliation/agreement, the authority was paid $100,000 per year from Piedmont 

- starting in 2018 that annual payment was reduced to $50,000

- looking through the checkbook, there isn't really much going on. They get the money from Piedmont once a year. Every year they pay for D & O (Directors & Officers) Insurance in an amount that has fluctuated from $2,500 to $4,315. Also, they have to do an audit most years. In 2021, apparently two audits were done for a total amount of $10,000

- the biggest outlay the authority's had in the past few years was in 2020 when they paid $25,000 as a "contributing expense" for the top floor of the old Faulkner Building next to the hospital to provide office space for a local charity - The Repairers of the Breach

And that's really about it. Not much going on. I looked over the checkbook & a fair number of the bank statements. 

The obvious question is why? Why is the authority still in operation? Apparently it has something to do w/ legalities. I've looked into it but honestly I'm not 100% sure but I believe it has something to do w/ a local government not being able to affiliate w/ a for-profit business so therefore the authority has to remain intact to act a quasi-governmental middleman of sorts (updatedPiedmont Healthcare is a not-for-profit operation technically *see addendum below)

But to me, the bigger question is this. Why the hell isn't Piedmont Newton paying more than $50,000 year! 

And another one. Is it not possible for the county government to be getting funds paid to it from the authority? 

Again, my knowledge here is lacking. I'm not sure how all of this works. Perhaps there are some out there that can clarify & shed some light. If so, please do. 

So, in closing, the Newton County Hospital Authority is very much still in existence & has approx a half million in the bank. 

Until next time, 

- MBM 

you can email Marshall at: marshallmccart (at) gmail (dot) com

P.S. I asked Fortson point blank if he or any of the officers or directors got paid anything for serving on the board & he said no. Nothing. Totally a volunteer board. From what I saw going over the financials, that seems to be accurate.


In yesterday’s piece on the Newton County Hospital Authority, I erroneously referred to Piedmont Newton as for-profit when they are in fact legally considered to be a not-for-profit.

But when I say “not-for-profit,” you should imagine me putting up finger quotes as I say it. Looking through Piedmont Newton Hospital, Inc’s IRS Form 990 there are definitely profits being made by several persons that I’ll be writing about in the future.

As for Piedmont Newton itself, it made approx. $16 million in 2020 (the latest year I have information on) & had a fund balance at the time in excess of $31 million.

Wonder how much of that was that Covid $$$?

Meanwhile, the Newton Co Hospital Authority gets $50K every year & Newton Co gets zero.



P.S. Piedmont Newton’s Mission Statement reads as the following:


18 April 2023

Ellis Millsaps: The Russians are Coming and Kansas City Shitweed, Part II ( The Long-awaited)

 Read Pt I here

Sometimes while out of work or not we engaged in other money making activities. My friend 

Ken Jordan, the day after I sat in the bleachers cheering wildly as Gene Garber struck out Pete 

Rose ending his historic hitting streak, got to work that evening silk screening t-shirts depicting a drooping rose with the caption ”44 and no more” which he sold out of his trunk in the parking lot of Atlanta Stadium after the next game.

We had other ventures from which we didn't make money but otherwise profited. I'm thinking of the parties we gave at our grand house. Not only did we invite our friends but we put up notices on utility poles in the neighborhood as if we were Pylon advertising our next show. 

The deal was you paid $5 at the bar, got your hand stamped and could drink all of anything you wanted for the rest of the evening from our well stocked bar. We would collect a bunch of cash and go back to the liquor store. I recall one occasion when my oldest friend, Rick Goss, my next door neighbor in Fannin County ( he lived a mile away) and I went to the store, restocked the bar and purchased a bottle of Martell Cordon Bleu which we stowed away for later.

 You might think it's somewhat risky to invite total strangers into your house where you're handling hundreds of dollars in cash, but we didn't worry about it and besides we usually had police protection. An Atlanta city policeman whose first name I once knew but no longer recall,  worked security at Dante's on weekends and appeared regularly in uniform.

We didn't exactly pay him but he had a free ticket at the bar, a bevy of young beauties to court and spark and access to whatever else might be transpiring. I mean if you have lines laid on the table are you going to tell the cop he can't have his? I don't think so. 

Most of the 69ers, as we called our softball team, worked for a healthy income of tips, and other than sales tax and auto tag fees paid no taxes. An exception was my good friend of 50 years, Bill Demond, who worked as an exceptional cook before he became a fishmonger. In 1977 he and another guy founded the two man operation “Inland Seafood “of which he is now CEO with 10 wholesale locations and 600 employees, but prior to that he was out of work a while and accepted a job for which he was paid $500 to drive a U-Haul to Kansas and bring it back full of the marijuana which grows wild there. His financier here wanted this wild weed to mix with his quality imported stuff which he sold in bulk.

Bill made his run and came back home with his money and a grocery bag full of what we soon came to call Kansas City Shitweed. It earned its name because no matter how much you smoked  it it only reminded you a little of getting stoned. It turned out, we were to learn after a while, that the story was entirely different if you cooked it. So one Friday Bill decided he would make some marijuana brownies that we would eat before heading out to see Glen Phillips at the Roxy. What Bill made was more like marijuana pie, two thin layers of brownie surrounding an inch deep concoction of wild marijuana and butter. It was awful but we ate it.

We were headed off toward Buckhead when the road  began to curve over and over like a corkscrew. It is a testament to my young hand to eye coordination that I was able to keep the car on this winding path.

We made it to the Roxy where we were fastened to our seats, unable to move.  That was not  only because Phillips was so sensationally entertaining, (Lowell George of Little Feat with whom Glen sometimes played called him ” the most amazing guitarist I've ever seen.”  Peter Buck of REM said that he doesn't play guitar solos because he’s seen Glen Phillips.) we couldn't have moved anyway. 

You can email Ellis at millsapsellis00@gmail.com

Ellis "Da" Millsaps is a recovering Attorney but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield. Usually funny and at times irreverent and subversive, he leans left in his political philosophy but can always be counted on for a pretty darn good write-up. The Chronicles are proud to have him involved...


13 April 2023

The Music Minute, Weekend of 4/15: Live Music @ The Five, Amici & Others; Shane Clark in Madison Friday Night

 Howdy, Music Lovers, and welcome back to...

Music Minute

As usual, we've got another big weekend lined up. Let's take a look at a few of the shows coming up in & around the home county: 

Who's Playing Where & When
Weekend of April 15th -

A playing at B at C

After Hours









And that's just a handful of the upcoming shows this weekend. Remember: live music every Friday night at Amici Covington; multiple venues in Conyers, Monroe & Social Circle are doing live music as well, so get out there & enjoy some great tunes! 

Until next time, 



11 April 2023

[Past Piedmont Chronicles] - A TPC PSA by MB McCart: A Primer on Driving on the Square, About Town Generally & a Couple of Modest Proposals

 *originally published in 2019

Previously this publication has discussed some of the challenges facing the centerpiece of our beloved home city, the beautiful Covington Square.

In that piece, I mentioned that traffic & parking are among the two biggest issues facing our downtown business district. And to that point, here, as a service to the general public, is the...

TPC Guide to Driving on the Covington Square & Elsewhere Throughout the Home City

by: MB McCart 

For a large portion of the Square, there exists between the inner & outer lanes, a solid while line, with small breaks in the middle of the east, west, south & north sides, that denotes...something.

"Well, actually," I can hear some of you saying, "that solid white line means that you can't change lanes." Perhaps. Much research by this writer, and a couple days worth of research by the CPD & also an Atty-at-Law I reached out to, seems to confirm that you're not supposed to cross a solid white line; however, time & time again I cannot seem to find that expressly mentioned in Title 40 of the OCGA. It somewhat seems to be common knowledge that you're not supposed to cross a solid white line, but is it really an affixed rule that constitutes a moving violation? Or is it more just kind of like a general guideline? I seriously ask because in several states, that's exactly what a solid white line represents - passing not recommended, but not necessarily restricted, either.

Scott Miller, an attorney, says it is a violation in Georgia, but again - while the Code discusses white lines in Title 40, and more particularly in Chapter 6, I still can't find it where it expressly, specifically says you can't.

Regardless, and to regrettably carry on for far too long on this particular point, most folks believe you're not supposed to cross it, but many folks don't, or they simply don't care, and that really pisses off the folks who "stay in their lane" when these folks whip around them - C-town 500-style - on the curves (Turn Left!). 

And this is where I become conflicted, my friends. It irritates me as well! In fact, many times over the years (decades, actually) when I see someone in my rear-view about to whip into that inner lane, I'll actually move to the left, in essence blocking them, and I usually feel really damn good about myself for having done so, though, technically, I may have committed a moving violation myself, but somebody's got to do it. I apologize to no one.

But the traffic analyst in me, and based on countless hours of research from various vantage points in & around the Square the last few years, sees that the more people who actually do that & go ahead & take the next curve & get out of the way actually work to remedy the usual bottleneck spots which ultimately improves overall flow. And, as I've posited many times in this space, it's all about that flow, though!

So...where does that leave us? No closer to a solution, unfortunately. Apparently the city & the CPD have reached out to GDOT to get clarification on the white lines on the Square. I'm sure that'll be a quick & efficient response.

One last thing, though. And a big, big point, I believe. We need to bring back Yield signs for northbound traffic on Church for those turning right onto Floyd, and also for southbound traffic on Monticello for those turning right onto Washington. That, combined with - AGAIN!!1! - adjusting the feeder lights at Floyd & Elm + Pace & Usher, would probably solve the damn thing. 

But hey, I'm just crazy, so nobody ever listens to me...

A Few Modest Proposals:

- Perhaps public flogging for drivers turning left onto 278 from Floyd St.? These people are a problem. They should be dealt with ruthlessly & efficiently, you know, for the greater good & all.

-  Can we put in an IQ test for folks getting a driver's license? I know this is gonna sound kind of rough, but a lot of these folks (and you know who I'm talking about here - the down-with-disease, bad-DNA-having types [the Wal-Mart Crowd], various other dullards, mouthbreathers & slackjaws as well as the white & ghetto trash),  just don't need to be driving. In a few years that will become a memory after we transition to automated vehicles, but in the meantime, perhaps we should go ahead & address that?

- And, again, this is going to sound awful - but... I'm the guy that writes publicly what many others are thinking - but you know when you get behind a car with a certain type of license plate, that more times than not, it's gonna be a damn hassle! Just a big ole production with a whole bunch of uninspired, lackadaisical, selfish & inconsiderate driving. 

Drive with some purpose, people! Be efficient & expeditious! Be courteous.

But perhaps that's the rub, or, the real story, if you will. As long as we have the human element involved with driving, it's never going to be perfect. So, perhaps about the time we finally get that fully automated driving thing going, it may unfortunately coincide with Skynet becoming self-aware. So while we may be running for our lives, at least the traffic will be better.

MB McCart 

Quick Check-In From The Editor: Spring Break Over; Talkin' Hospital Authority; What's Comin' Down The Pike

 *Cross-posted at MB's Word on the Street 

Greetings, Fearless Readers, and we sure hope it's dandy as candy out there. 

How about The Masters? What a tournament we witnessed this year. The weather was really something, wasn't it? It went from Summer to Winter to Spring in the span of three days. Was thrilled to see Rahm win it. He's a special guy. Helluva player, too. I think he could be the one to become the face of professional golf to fill the void of Tiger. We'll see. 

Last week was also Spring Break for yours truly so we didn't have any postings. 

But now we're back! 

Coming up this week: 

- 1st report on the Newton County Hospital Authority. And yes, you read that right. And no - you haven't gone back in time five years, either. The Authority L I V E S! Yes, indeed. Most folks thought it was dissolved after they did away w/ the indigent care & ambulance millage & executed the 40-yr lease w/ Piedmont Healthcare. That is NOT the case. Stay tuned. DEVELOPING... 

- Later in the week exclusively at TPC: a Past Piedmont Chronicles; Da's second chapter of The Russians Are Coming & Kansas City Shitweed, and another Music Minute

Okay for now, 

- MB McCart 

31 March 2023

Farewell to One of the Truly Good Ones - Jody Nolan

 By: MB McCart, Ed. 

Friends, this publication & its editor - along w/ so many in around the home county, GA Piedmont & beyond - was very saddened to hear the news of the passing of Jody Nolan after his courageous battle w/ ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Our deepest, heartfelt condolences go out to his family & friends. 

As I was telling my wife the other day, I feel as if I've lost one of the most valuable Mutual Admiration Societies that I was a proud member of. I thought a lot of Jody; always greatly enjoyed talking w/ him & apparently that feeling was reciprocal. 

In terms of those who truly loved the home county & wanted nothing but the absolute best for it there aren't hardly out there at all that can lay claim to the level that Jody did. And not just his service - which was huge: volunteer firefighter, regular firefighter, EMA Deputy & then later Newton EMA Director - but also for his passion for our beloved home & an intense desiring for her betterment. 

Jody & I had multiple deep conversations about this issue, some lasting an hour or two, and we almost always were in agreement on most major topics. 

As always, I'm very serious & protective of the anonymity & confidentiality of folks who I talk to about local stuff. But I can tell you this. Jody was a member of the Tonto Network. He was all about only - what is right; what is fair. Nothing else mattered, damn the consequences.

He was truly a good man. 

Though I haven't spoken w/ him in quite some time, I will sorely miss him. The home county will most assuredly be poorer w/ his passing. 

Also, this loss has greatly accelerated my intent to really get back to getting the REAL Story of all events, happenings & politics local. Jody would want it that way & I will do so in his honor.