31 May 2023

TPC REAL Politick: #COV Edition, 5/31/23

 *updated as of 7:20pm, 5/31/23

owdy, folks. Hope all is well out there. 

So, May was a little light for us here at TPC. Our apologies. In the words of Ray Goff - We're gonna  work hard to get bettah! 

It's an odd year, so it's time for Covington municipal elections. Yaaayyy! 

So, #COV Real Politck.

East Ward, Post 2. We have a declared candidate - the one & only Travis Moore. I like Travis. He's a good fella & would be an ideal pick for this seat & has shown his bonafides by his performance & votes on the Planning Commission. He wants to work on controlling growth & getting our tax base back in balance & definitely limiting multi-family. The clear choice, naturally. 

Word on the street is that there's a certain younger lady who is apparently an investor w/ the Archer Aviation group (the folks that just clear-cut the beautiful land in between City Pond & Oxford; another story for another time) & is possibly looking at Post 2 or possibly Dirty Don Floyd's seat (hearing conflicting reports at to whether or not he's going to run again). Based on what I can tell, it seems this lady has moved around a lot & hasn't been in town for very long. Questions there, for sure. Will see if I can learn more moving forward. 

What about Mayor? Well, we know current west ward rep Kenneth Towns Morgan (corrected & updated) is running. Tim Walden has announced from the east ward. I know Tim & I like him a lot. He's a godly man & he sings & picks a pretty good guitar as well.

I'm 99.99% sure he cannot win a city wide election. 

The grapevine is saying that ole Chris Smith might throw his hat in the ring if everybody's first choice decides not to (Tommy, please run!). We shall see, though if it's Chris vs. Kenneth...well, let's cross that bridge if & when we get to it. 

**Wildcard: hearing that Eric Treets might run again, too. That'd really change up the dynamics if so**

Going back to the east ward, there's possibly a hairdresser that's thinking about running for one of the open seats. I'll try to get the 411 on that. 

Okay for now, gang. TTYS! 

- MBM 

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: