On Wednesday, proud graduates of R.L. Cousins High School and community leaders and residents gathered in North Covington for the opening of the newly remolded Wolverine Gym at the Cousins Community Center.
The school disbanded in 1970. When Newton County schools were integrated the next year, black and white students attended what is now Newton High. The old Cousins gym, once the site of many community affairs, graduations and championship basketball games, deteriorated into major disarray. But thanks to the persistent efforts of County Commissioner J.C. Henderson, former state senator Denny Dobbs, the county commission and the county recreation commission, the remodeling of the gym has become a reality, providing a top-notch recreational outlet for the community, especially its children.
Under the guidance of Recreation Director Tommy Hailey and his staff, the gym was refurbished and has already started to be used by the children.
We are always impressed by the first class recreation facilities that we have in Newton County. The Wolverine Gym is just another jewel in that crown of class.
Forest Sawyer, a community activist and a graduate of Cousins, summed up the evening’s comments at the reopening ceremony by saying he was proud to live in a community that takes such pride in its heritage.
We couldn’t help notice the smile on Sheriff Ezell Brown’s face throughout the ceremonies. We can only imagine that he was thinking that with reopening of the Wolverine Gym; thousands of our children will have a safe, supervised place to hang out.
We are positive that this thought is shared by the whole community. Every penny spent on the restoration of this gym was worthwhile.
The letter of the law
Just because you’re allowed to do something doesn’t mean you should.
Our Newton County government has failed to refund one of our top industries, Bridgestone Golf, $83,000 that Bridgestone overpaid in taxes in 2006 and 2007.
Bridgestone asked for its money back more than a year ago, Nov. 7, 2009. The county said the error was made by Bridgestone employees and, upon legal advice, agreed to let the request for the refund lapse, according to our report on Wednesday. A county attorney said that Bridgestone had a year to file an appeal to the Newton County Superior Court.
Bridgestone asked to have the over-payment applied to its 2009 taxes. The city of Covington in October agreed to reimburse the business for its overpaid taxes, and paid them in November.
Covington Mayor Kim Carter said that it was the right thing to do, and we agree.
We’re puzzled by how the county seems to think otherwise, that they should keep money that ended up in their coffers through a clerical error. What would Chairman Kathy Morgan think if she found out after a trip to the grocery store that she had been overcharged, went back to the store to seek a refund, only to be told that it was too late, that she had already paid for the item?
That’s no way to run a business, and make no mistake, county government is a business. What sort of signals does such a petty move send to industries considering locating here? And what will Bridgestone say about its experience in dealing with Newton County when asked by other industries?