Grants sought to help Miracle League, sheriff, senior services

COVINGTON -- Several county departments are applying for grants to fund improvements and purchases.

Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful recently received permission from the county commission to apply for three grants, two on behalf of Miracle League of Newton County. All three grants are through Keep America Beautiful. One is a KAB partnership with Lowe's for $20,000, which would fund playground equipment at the Miracle League field, currently under construction at City Pond Park. Another, through a partnership with UPS, would fund planting of trees at the site.

KCNB will also apply for a $5,000 UPS/KAB grant to restore the trail in Oxford where trees have fallen and broken concrete and a split rail fence.

Sheriff Ezell Brown also gained approval to apply for a grant to purchase an intoxilyzer to measure blood alcohol levels through the breath. The machine in current use by the Sheriff's Office will soon be obsolete, he said. The Sheriff's Office needs two machines as the detention center handles all such tests for all local municipalities and the Georgia State Patrol, Brown said. In addition, having a second machine will provide a backup if one should break down. Brown said the Sheriff's Office is seeking a grant to fund one of the machines, at a cost of up to $9,000, and will purchase the other.

Finally, Senior Services will apply for a grant to fund the Meals on Wheels program and for a program that assists local families with rent and utility payments through the Newton County Department of Family and Children Services. Senior Services applies for the Community Service Block Grant annually through the Georgia Department of Human Services.

County Manager John Middleton cautioned the grant could be subject to sequestration as part of budget cuts, but that doesn't stop the county from applying at this time.