31 August 2019

An Editorial by the Editor: Barbara Dingler Must Resign

Constitutional Officer of Newton Co., GA, USA & its Tax Commissioner, Barbara Dingler, has served a very long time here in the home county.

Frustrations, complaints, and general ill feelings have been directed towards this office for many years.

Just last month, as I was waiting for what would eventually become over an hour because there were only 3 windows out of the 14 "open for business, "  I texted our esteemed 5th District Commissioner Ronnie Cowan this:

"...the tag office is a TOTAL encapsulation of all that is wrong w/ Newton Co government..."

This constitutional office is responsible for all things taxes in our political subdivision, including the Tax Assessor's office & many other things.

Then, with recent news of the IRS coming down hard on George & Josh Hart & OCHO, we're reminded of the fact that this lady has yet again failed at her job. $500K worth of unpaid property taxes by this crowd. It's been documented & in the public discourse for several years.

But yet nothing ever gets done...

Well, friends, I - for one - am damn sick & tired of it, and I hope you are too.

I know too many folks who break their backs every year to get their grossly-misspent & way-too-high property taxes paid & then...then, they witness crap like this.


And that's the $.02.


Marshall "MB" McCart


P.S. And remember, here in Newton, you still have to pay that extra surcharge if you dare be so bold as to use a credit or debit card to have the pleasure of giving your yearly tribute/protection money to the crown. 

30 August 2019

2019 UGA Football Preview

* Cross-posted at Go You Silver Britches

Friends, it's finally here. UGA football is back.

The Braves have been great to watch, and we continue to expect big things from this wonderful, motley crew. But MLB is not CFB, is it?

So...the Rammer Jammers have broken our hearts twice in as many years (and 3 times in 7). 

To that, I say: To Hell with  Alabama!

Damn, I hate that crowd. And Saban?...What an Asshole!

Enough about that, dammit, this isn't an Alabama post. No, this is a Georgia post, but I think we all know that 'Bama will  be a key part of the story, in that, we'll have to beat the fuckers this year if we shall achieve what we want/should/need to achieve.

This is my 7th year doing a UGA Football Preview. The first time was in 2013 for "About Covington to Madison" magazine. In that Summer of 2013, I predicted a UGA National Championship. Yeah -  ha ha. For the record, that was kind of a consensus pick at the time (Keep Calm & Qauyvon On!). Little did we know that we'd soon be running into a buzz saw against Clemson, then notch two of the greatest victories in program history (USCe & LSU), before witnessing the dumpster fire that would become our once-vaunted season due to an unbelievable string of injuries & some 1965-style, old-fashioned bad luck.



An Injury.



That's the big concern, naturally. Now granted, we'll probably only need about 175-200 yards per game in the air to reach our mark, but it's all the intangibles that Jake brings to the table that would be the key to realizing our long-overdue reward. SBIV could probably hit those numbers, but could he be The Guy?    

Yessir, we gotta stay healthy. 

The Rundown 

The best O-line in UGA history? Looks that way.

Best D-line? Very likely.

The rest? Yeah, looks like we're good (receiving corps will be fine, I think), and... we're motivated.

Just got to stay healthy. 

That's all I got, folks.

As always, thanks for reading.

- MB McCart 

28 August 2019

Ellis Millsaps: Good Cop, Bad Cop, Chapter 3


George Bagley

We didn’t talk about the circumstances of his arrest, Ronny McKay and I sitting on the front porch of my house drinking shots of tequila chased with Ice House.  We didn’t talk about whether I’d be his lawyer, except for him assuring me that I was and me saying I’d think about it. I told him I’d done all the work on a Saturday night I was going to.

We talked about other things.  We talked about my daddy, who’d owned a small bookstore in Hiawassee.  We talked about Ronny’s father, who had run a used car lot and had his finger in a dozen other marginal businesses.  We reminisced about what good men they were, the apple brandy they made, and how much trouble we’d caused them.

It’s too bad Beau didn’t live to see you make a hot-shot lawyer,” Ronny said, meaning my father, Beau Bagley, dead since 1975.  “I think the last time I saw Beau, he was telling me how the Sheriff had found some marijuana plants growing back in the clearing behind y’all’s house.  The Sheriff said some kids told him they’d seen me and you back in the woods there, but he figured it was probably the Dillard boys; Travis and Larry weren’t fit to shoot noway.  He just thought Beau might want to tell us there’d been some talk. And that was all Beau ever said to me about it. As far as I know, he never told Daddy.”

Yeah, I heard about that, of course.  Although by the time I saw Daddy, his major complaint was that he’d given the Sheriff a gallon of his apple brandy.  ‘And it ain’t even election year, son.’ He musta said that a dozen times. ‘It ain’t even election year.’”

We laughed and poured another shot of tequila.

Jim into any petty vandalism like we used to pull?”  Ronny asked.

I hope not, at least I’m hoping he doesn’t get caught.”

Probably doesn’t have any rewards out for him like we did for painting the Blairsville water tower.”
Well, the rewards weren’t for us.  They were for the low-life hooligans that painted, ‘We don’t want your fucking war’ on their water tank.”

They still don’t know who did that.  Maybe I ought to turn you in and get the reward.  I’m gonna be needing some money for legal fees.”

I don’t think you wanna play that game, Ronny.  If it comes down to telling what we know about the other one, I got a lot more ammunition than you.”

You can’t divulge any of that, son. You’re my lawyer.”

The hell I am.  Hand me another beer.”

Ronny reached into the cooler beside him.  We were, as some of my clients say when asked if they were intoxicated, “feeling pretty good.”

Seen much of Shelly?” I asked.  Conversation between us would always turn to Shelly Ballew.  Shelly Ballew whom I’d sworn I would love forever. Shelly with whom I’d lain out on the front yard at her daddy’s mansion on the hill, sighting shooting stars on crisp October nights,  Shelly with whom I’d planned out our whole life together: me going to Harvard Law School, becoming a congressman, then Senator, maybe President, Shelly beside me all the way.

Shelly was the daughter of the richest man in Hiawassee and I was working class, pretty much like everybody else in Towns County except for a few merchants, doctors, and the indigenous poor who lived back in the hills off welfare mostly.  I was the S.T.A.R. Student, leadoff man on the baseball team, president of the Student Council. I was president of everything, earned every honor the school could bestow. I fantasized I would achieve so many honors and awards that there wouldn’t be enough room in the yearbook to list the accomplishments of the student pictured beside me, Karen Moore.  (“Six years perfect attendance.”) I was sure I would be a great and famous man.  

I had all that and finally, my senior year, I had Shelly Ballew and my world was complete.
Shelly’s father, Bobby “Bobcat” Ballew, was possibly the ugliest man in Towns County.  He’d made a small fortune starting from nothing in the lumber business, and to show for it he had two fingers sawn off at the middle joint, a huge brick house sprawled over a hilltop overlooking the town--he’d cut down every tree which might obstruct view of his house for those of us below--a Lincoln Continental, a Cadillac and, rumor had it, a good-looking redneck sweetie working at his lumber mill.  His wife was a plain, rail-thin woman who kept the books for the mill and still did all her housework even though she could have paid a fleet of servants. Their daughter, their only child, Luanne Michelle, stood out like the niece on “The Munsters:” tall, blonde, and drop-dead good looking.

Shelly had perfect orthodonture, expensive doctors in Atlanta to treat any pimple that might arise, and chic, short, 1969 skirts to show off her fabulous legs, tanned in any season from trips to the Carribean.  When Shelly bent over and looked back between her legs into the stands, shaking her pom-poms as the cheerleaders slowly rose and turned to look over a shoulder into the Towns County faithful, nobody cared that the Indians were getting shellacked.  Shelly Ballew was worth the price of admission.

Hot damn, wouldn’t you like to get some of that,” Ronny would say as we sat back in the stands taking surreptitious nips of apple brandy.  “I’m gonna get some,” I’d say, and he’d laugh and call me King G-Bag the Deluded. But I did get me some of Shelly Ballew, claimed her through my class ring on her finger, although by the time I’d got some in the sense that Ronny meant, the dream life I’d constructed for Shelly and me was a thing of the past.  Some frat boy had broken the seal and she was giving me a drink for old time’s sake.

But for that first year, my Senior year in high school and my first quarter of college, I was King of the World and Shelly was my queen.  Parked behind an abandoned house in a poplar thicket, she’d let me do everything short of the deed--she was a Baptist girl in rural, 1960's Georgia--and I’d take her back to the house on the hill with a slimy spot on the front of my jeans.

I was as happy as a human could be.  Shelly and I were Best All Around in the yearbook, and I sincerely believed--I kid you not--that I was Best All Around in the world.  I was smarter than anyone I knew, and while I was willing to concede that there were eggheads with higher I.Q’s, they couldn’t match my looks, my charm, my imagination.  I believed that I was chosen by God.
Try not to gag; I’m getting to the end of this.

If I had any doubts, Shelly Ballew wearing my ring, walking down the hall with her hand in my back pocket, “Shelly Bagley,” “Shelly B. Bagley,” “Michelle Bagley” covering pages of composition notebooks, Shelly sliding smack up against me on the bench seat of my daddy’s Dodge, nibbling my ear and whispering, “I’ll love you till the day I die, George Bagley”--I still get lightheaded thinking about it.  If I had any doubts, Shelly Ballew erased them. She confirmed my worth for the world to see. She filled in the only part missing: love, the perfect complement, anima to my animus.

You can see I lived in a very small world, the only world I knew, and you know I was “cruising for a bruising,” as we used to say back in Towns County, but it wasn’t, as you may suppose, the realization that I wasn’t World’s Best All Around that knocked me off the throne; it was Shelly Ballew, Shelly who decided that going steady in college wasn’t as much fun as her sorority sisters were having, Shelly who with one phone call left me lying in a puddle of tears on the cold vinyl floor of my dorm room.  I stopped going to class, started sleeping to mid-afternoon, staying up all night nursing the keg at whatever party I could find. It was eight years before I finally got a degree, but if Shelly had remained true I still believe I would have sped through Vanderbilt magna cum laude and headed for Harvard.

The problem was, as everyone who’s lived long enough to find out knows, that love doesn’t last forever.  You may break up, you may divorce, you may stay faithfully married until you both pass away in the nursing home, but that love that brought you together in the first place dies a naturally preordained death.  It may be replaced by something else that we also call love, something which does the name proud, but it is not that first thing. You know what I mean.  

You know what I mean unless you are seventeen and in love for the first time.  Your mama may tell you it’s not love, that you’re too young to know what love is, but you know.  You know you’re in love because you are, and you are dead right. If you are seventeen or thirteen or thirty and you are in love for the first time, you know that love so strong will never die.  About that you are so wrong, but I envy you and wish I could freeze you in time, child, like the figures on the Grecian urn. I’d trade my knowledge for your ignorance in a heartbeat and Bob Seger would too.  I’m wishing I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then./ Against the wind.

Love would have ended for Shelly and me somehow, sometime, but as it was it ended with me coming down hard, face pressed against the cool tile floor, crying like a baby, and then I knew, though I didn’t expressly form the thought for some time, that I was not Best All Around; I was fatally flawed.  I suffered from a deficiency of the heart. It was for others who were tougher, who didn’t need another to complete them, to reel off achievement on the way to power and glory.  
So love died and I became a philosopher and I repeated the love-and-death cycle again and again, but even now, maybe more so now, any woman in my REM sleep may turn into Shelly Ballew: Shelly leaving me, Shelly coming back to say it was all a big mistake, my heart aglow with the knowledge that love never dies, Shelly thrusting her hips into mine saying, “Oh it’s you George, it was always, only you.”

I’d asked Ronny McKay if he’d seen much of Shelly and he told me, “All there is to see, G-Bag, ever fucking inch.”

I thought he was just being funny.  “You been helping Doctor Dink do his examinations?”  Shelly had gone back to Hiawassee after college and married David Downs whom we’d called “Dinky” in high school, but dinky though he may have been with his thick glasses and Ichabod Crane frame, had become a gynecologist who kept Shelly in the style to which she was accustomed.  I hated the bastard.

The last time I’d seen Shelly six years ago at a high school reunion she’d been a beautiful but flabby woman with a bloated face and watery eyes from prescription drugs.

Dinky ain’t in the picture no more.  I figured you’d know that. After Bobcat died and she came into his money she dropped Dinky-D and moved to the house on the hill.  The last six months or so she’s been staying down at the lake,” he said, meaning, I knew, his place on Lake Chatuge.

She looks good, G-Bag. You oughta see her.  She got off Dinky’s pain pills and started getting some exercise.  She’s teaching an aerobics class now, first job she’s ever had in her life.”

So MoRon finally got him some,” I said, calling up the old high school nickname.  Although it’s been twenty-five years since I last lay with Shelly, the last seventeen of which I’ve been married, I felt a rush of jealous resentment toward my friend Ronny McKay.

I changed the subject and we went to bed soon thereafter.

$20 for a reserved, signed copy
(book will not be published until Jan. 2020)

27 August 2019

Perrin Lovett: The Wolf Who Cried Assault Rifle

A fable to make Aesop cringe:

A wolf was elected to Congress and therefore took advantage when and where he could. There was something about a Page, but the people did nothing. There was some legislative projection, but the people did nothing. Sexually explicit texting with more Pages followed. The people, the FBI included, still did nothing. Frustrated, the wolf yelled, “what the hell I gotta do to get caught up in here?!” He then resigned and came out as a homosexual.

Many years later, after a successful stint as a lobster salesman to the LGBTQIAXWTFBBQ+V, P&C community, the wolf decided to come after your guns. Ever treasonous, the GOP was happy to help him. The end.

Mark Foley was not just on your phone screen seven seconds ago so you probably don’t know who he is. Okay, if you’re an underage male Congressional Page, then he might be on your phone. Otherwise, read Anthony Man’s pretty good article from Saturday’s Sun-Sentinel for details. 

In fairness, I met Foley at a Florida political function back around 2001-02. It was, I think, a luncheon hosted by the GOP or the Federalist Society, maybe both. The late Rep. Clay Shaw was there too. Other than the usual politi-creepiness - which would eventually drive me out of the Fed-Soc and all political gatherings - I detected nothing out of the ordinary about Foley (or Clay). If memory serves, they both bordered on being kind of nice, normal. I would not have then suspected Foley was a gun grabber. According to the Sentinel piece, he is.

Today, Foley says, "If we can ban texting [while driving] we should be able to ban assault rifles.” Someone, at one of these online news places, in the not-so-distant past, kind of warned about the slippery slope of driving bans. Anyway, Foley also supports “red flag” laws and more background checks. He thinks this all supports the second amendment. Lindsey Graham, Peter King, and possibly even The Trump would agree.

Foley asked a trio of questions: “What has happened to our society? What has happened to our values? What has happened to our country?” He then immediately called upon the “spirit of our democracy.” I would humbly suggest that Foley answered all three of his queries with the “D” word. I suspect he, his GOP, and the DNC might (publically) object to my suggestion. I also suspect that they figure what damage has been done can be corrected (will be corrected) with just a tiny little bit more pro-second amendment gun control. 

And so it is that I have the feeling that more gun control is coming. But, not to worry, freedom lovers - there are always workarounds. For instance, Faceberg banned pretty much all commercial mention of firearms. Murf’s Guns of Oklahoma found a hilarious way around that. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3TIxWZd6Zc

As a follow-up to this article, I may soon offer advice on two related topics - workarounds of other sorts. The first will be on caching firearms for the mid to long-term - storing them where the stormtroopers cannot readily find them. I think the time for that is approaching. Rapidly. Then, amping it up to the next level, we may look at some of the (very easy) ways to obtain arms directly from the enemy. Much easier than one would suppose. Both of these future subjects will likely be presented in a fictional format. 

That’s a wrap, friends! Until next time...

26 August 2019

Bess Tuggle's Memoirs of Surviving Children: Communication is Key

Communication is key to any relationship, be it spouses, co-workers, employers, friends, family…Good communication makes a relationship survive and thrive.

            I know that “Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus.”  That’s a communication challenge on any given day.  No one told me that children are from a galaxy far, far away. Thing 4 drove this lesson home. You’d think with 3 others I would have known better, but…

            Thing 4, at 4 years old, started pre-k. He was a good boy most of the time at home and at school, but a few months into the school year he became a problem. He became angry and belligerent, at home and at school. We, me and teachers alike, were completely confused at his change in attitude.

            It took some significant sleuthing to finally determine the problem.

            Thing 4’s father decided to go back to flying for a living. Commercial pilot. This was a complete and total change for the boys and their normal routines, and I became a “married, single mother.”

            To keep the boys informed of where there father was I built a special shelf and hung it in the kitchen. There was a lip underneath and I hid a window shade behind it to which I attached a U.S. map and a world map.  There were plenty of post-it arrow-stickers on the side and we labeled them with each FBO (flight base operator) their father was flying into and out of. I even had home marked on the map.
            All was well and good until their father had to go to Miami for training on a Lear-something (I keep up with different planes like I do cars, not at all.)  Thing 4 became a –very- angry little boy.  His teacher and I –both- had problems with his behavior.

            He finally got sent to the school counselor.  WHAT a -RELIEF-! 

            Thing 4 was angry because his father was in Miami for a few weeks of training on a plane.  I showed him and his brothers every night where we where, and where Miami was.  He deduced, being 4 years old and not capable yet of comprehending geography or time, that there was a place called “Ami,” it was “mine” and I sent his father there indefinitely.

            Problem understood, but not solved. That took a couple years of growing up to rectify, but he finally –got- it!

            Thing 4 is now married with a daughter and another one on the way, and this is me, laughing, because he finally left his own little galaxy and is learning how to live in mine. “Adulting SUX!”   

- Bess Tuggle

TPC Real Politick: Covington Qualifying Done - Game On!

 By MB McCart, Editor

Qualifying week has come & gone for our beloved home city & we now know who will be on the ballot come November 5th. Let's break it down, TPC style. 


Qualified candidates: Steve Horton, Ronnie Johnston (Incumbent) & Eric Threets

*Though previously declared, Tim Walden did not qualify for this race.

There were questions as to whether or not Rev. Threets would actually qualify. There'd been word around the campfire as to a possible attempt to strike an accord with the Horton camp. Without Threets in the race, there seemed to be a consensus view by some that the JC machine & Minister's Union crowd would probably get behind Steve Horton for mayor; however, it seems likely they'll now be supporting Threets.

Regardless, the dynamics of this race are very interesting.

In a previous post, I'd given some preliminary odds on this one, and I believe this basic gist still holds true. The big thing is: an actual majority (50% + 1) is needed to win a Covington municipal election so there's about a 98% chance that the mayor's race will be going to a runoff in my opinion. So in that context, it's all about who finishes #1 & #2. If Threets runs a real, legitimate campaign, then I believe just based on demographics alone, he will end up as the top vote-getter, so that that means it will be a race between Johnston & Horton to get the #2 spot. I think given the lay of the land, we will see Johnston likely make the runoff & will end up seeing a 3rd time for the current Mayor. But...you never know.

However, I'd like very much to make this abundantly clear: I have not personally made an endorsement in this race & am planning to cover this one fairly straight & unbiased. I've already had a preliminary interview with Mayor Johnston & hope to have initial interviews done with both Horton & Threets within the next couple of weeks. So keep an eye out for that.

Council East Ward Races

Between here at TPC & on Facebook I believe I've made my position on these races relatively well known. I will be supporting both Josh McKelvey & Steve Plitt, respectively. I plan on interviewing both of these gentleman soon. So keep an eye out for those pieces as well. 

Councilman McKelvey

Exciting times, no doubt. Stay tuned for much more regarding the Covington municipal races moving forward.

In Freedom,

- MB McCart

22 August 2019

Recap of the 8/21/19 Newton Co. BOC Meeting

Agenda Recap from Ms. Jackie Smith, Clerk of the BOC...

The Newton County Board of Commissioners
1124 Clark Street
Covington, Georgia 30014
August 21, 2019

Agenda Summary

Thought for the day….

     “Try not to become a man of success, rather become a man of value”
                                                                                  Albert Einstein
Call to Order: Chairman Marcello Banes

Invocation: Pastor Brandon Stanley, Crossroads Baptist Church

Pledge of Allegiance: Commissioner

Agenda Adoption

Move (a, d & f) from consent agenda to regular agenda.

Move#14 to consent agenda

Approved (4/0)

Citizens Comments

Chairman’s Report

County Manager’s Report

Pg. 1-60
Consent Agenda

Fire Services seeks approval to enter into lease-to-purchase contract with Williams Fire Apparatus for an Air & Light Vehicle

Cost: $552,556 / $89,158 annually 7-year lease
Source: FY20 Capital Outlay #542200
Sheriff’s Office: Seeks approval to apply for 2018 RSAT Grant.

Award amount will be determined. 25%match requirement that can be cash or in-kind. Funding Source: FY20 Budget
Sheriff’s Office: Seeks approval to apply for the FY20 JAG Grant through Department of Justice. No Match

Animal Control/Senior Services/Purchasing: Seeks approval to enter into a contract with Sunbelt Builders.

$900,000 for Animal Control construction
$1,275,000 for Senior Services Construction
Source: 2017 SPLOST 
BOC: Support letter for CID SR12/US 278 Safety and Operational Improvements

Public Works: Seeks approval to submit three (3) projects to the Atlanta Regional Commission for funding: Access Road Bypass at Crowell Road, Widening of Brown Bridge Road, and Bridge Replacement on Dial Mill Road @Little Haynes Creek

Cost: 20% Match
Source: 20% 2011 and 2017 SPLOST, 80% Federal Highway Way Administration (FHWA) Funds 
County Clerk: Approval of BOC Public Hearing Minutes dated August 6, 2019

County Clerk: Approval of BOC Meeting Minutes dated August 06, 2019

County Clerk: Approval of BOC Exec. Session Minutes dated August 06, 2019

Solid Waste: Ratify purchase of a 2012 International Water Truck from Yancey Cat in the amount of $46,500.  Funding: 2017 SPLOST

Water Resources:  Seeks ratification of Agreement Authorizing Lead Paint Remediation at Williams Street Water Treatment Plant in Connection with Filming Activity. 

Move a, d & f to regular agenda.
Approved (4/0)

Pg. 61-70
Finance: Budget Amendments/Transfers for FY19 budget for Sheriff’s Office, (IT) Information Systems, Juvenile Services, Fire Services, District Attorney’s Office, Newton County Jail

Approved (4/0)

Pg. 71-77
Finance: Seeks approval of IGA between Newton County, Georgia and Recreation Department to manage 2017 SPLOST funds pertaining to the following projects: Recreation Department Existing Facilities, Springhill Park, District 4 Existing Park Upgrades, Chimney Park, and District 2 Improvements.

Approved (4/0)

10a. Fire Services seeks approval to enter into lease-to-purchase contract with Williams Fire Apparatus for an Air & Light Vehicle
Cost: $552,556 / $89,158 annually 7-year lease
Source: FY20 Capital Outlay #542200
       Approved (4/0)

10b. Animal Control/Senior Services/Purchasing: Seeks approval to enter into a contract with Sunbelt Builders.
$900,000 for Animal Control construction
$1,275,000 for Senior Services Construction
Source: 2017 SPLOST 
Tabled till September 3, 2019 BOC Meeting (4/0)

10c. Public Works: Seeks approval to submit three (3) projects to the Atlanta Regional Commission for funding: Access Road Bypass at Crowell Road, Widening of Brown Bridge Road, and Bridge Replacement on Dial Mill Road @Little Haynes Creek
Cost: 20% Match
Source: 20% 2011 and 2017 SPLOST, 80% Federal Highway Way Administration (FHWA) Funds 
Approved (3/0/1) Commissioner Henderson abstained – needed more time to review.

 Pg. 78-104
Attorney: Seeks Board consideration of relocation reestablishment benefits from the Estate of Jack A. Laseter in the amount of $25,000 in connection with the Flat Shoals Road at Covington Bypass (Project PI#0012646 Parcel 14 Non-Resident Owner (NRO))

Approved (4/0/1) Commissioner Cowan abstained – Performed work on the estate.

Board of Elections: Approval of Revised IGA with City of Covington for Administration of Elections

Approved (4/0)


Approved (4/0)

Discussion of Census Complete Count Committee

Moved to county managers’ report

Citizen Comments

Commissioner Comments

Executive Session

8:41 p.m.
Potential Litigation

  1. Adjourned @ 9:34 pm