Monday, January 3, Eyewitness News at 6

8:15 PM, Jan 3, 2011   |    comments
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 HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
 AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.

THE NEW YEAR BRINGS WITH IT A SHOT IN THE ECONOMIC ARM FOR FOLKS WHO LIVE IN AND AROUND UPSON COUNTY.. 
      A NEW PET CARE PRODUCT COMPANY IN THOMASTON BRINGS WITH IT 250 JOBS OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.
ANIMAL HEALTH AND SERVICES INC. IS WORKING TO RENOVATE THE OLD YAMAHA PLANT WITH A $5.7 MILLION BOND 
BRITTINY BARBER EXPLAINS HOW THE THOMASTON- UPSON COUNTY DEVELOPMENT BOARD WORKED TO MAKE THAT BOND POSSIBLE. 
<<Rob Theroux- Operation Director: "This building here was ideal because it's very heavy duty air conditioning..."
ANIMAL HEALTH AND SCIENCE INC. NOW CALLS THIS FORMER PIANO PLANT HOME.
J.R. Charles, Exc. Director, Thomaston-Upson County Industrial Development Authority: "They saw this plant was for sale. they came and look at it the price was right so they purchased the plant.
THE COMPANY WILL MAKE PRODUCTS LIKE FLEA AND TICK SPRAY AND SHAMPOO FOR PETS....
NATS OF Operations Director- "There wasn't anything exactly as we needed it."
SO THEY WORKED WITH THE THOMASTON-UPSON COUNTY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT BOARD TO FINANCE RENOVATIONS.
J.R. Charles,  "We approved them to go up to 7 million dollars in bond financing which they eventually settled on 5.7 million to do bond financing.
Brittiny Barber, Eyewitness News: "Renovations are already underway here at the old Yamaha plant in Thomaston. Plant Managers say they expect to open sometime this spring and hire 100 people within the 1st year of operation.
THOSE ADDED JOBS WILL BE ON MOSTLY ON MANUFACTURING LINES FOR THE AEROSOL... POWDER.... AND LIQUID CHEMICAL PRODUCTS.    
J.R. Charles: "For a lot of people this is an answer to prayers because they're hurting for jobs right now and we're glad they can have an opportunity to work for a company like this."
A COMPANY WHOSE IMPACT COULD REACH BEYOND ITS OPERATIONS IN THOMASTON.
J.R. Charles: "It's good for the region because the west central part of Georgia is economicalLY depressed so any jobs you put in this area help out the whole region."
BRITTINY BARBER 13WAMZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> ANIMAL HEALTH SCIENCE IS NOT ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS YET.
CHARLES SAYS THEY SHOULD OPEN UP THE HIRING PROCESS WHEN THE PLANT IS READY TO OPERATE...SOMETIME THIS SPRING.

MORE GOOD ECONOMIC NEWS FOR CENTRAL GEORGIANS..
NEGOTIATIONS TO LOCATE A NEW DISTILLERY IN HADDOCK ARE NEARLY A DONE DEAL.
DEVELOPMENT OFFICIALS IN JONES COUNTY SAY THEY'VE ALL BUT SIGNED ON THE DOTTED LINE WITH THE GEORGIA DISTILLING COMPANY... WHICH IS CONSIDERING MOVING INTO AN EMPTY BUILDING IN HADDOCK.
VANESSA RUFFES EXPLAINS WHY SOME SAY THE NEW BUSINESS IS ABOUT MORE THAN JOBS.
<<
Jordan "For my business it's been really slow. It's scary. It's just been really scary...."

PATRICIA JORDAN OWNS A SMALL TEA ROOM AND ANTIQUE SHOP IN QUIET DOWNTOWN HADDOCK.
BUT FOR THE SMALL BUSINESS OWNER... LATELY... IT'S JUST BEEN TOO QUIET.

Jordan "It's kind of died out over the years. We're hoping to revitalize it."

THAT SHOT OF LIFE COULD BE COMING SOON... IN THE FORM OF A NEW COMPANY... GEORGIA DISTILLING... THAT WANTS TO SET UP AT THE FORMER CHEROKEE PRODUCTS BUILDING.

Redmond "That will be a good fit for them, for the type of business they're in..."

DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY DIRECTOR DOUG REDMOND SAYS THE 20 OR MORE JOBS THE DISTILLERY COULD BRING... WILL FILL A VOID IN A COMMUNITY... HE SAYS HAS BEEN IN DECLINE... SINCE CHEROKEE PRODUCTS CLOSED 15 YEARS AGO.

Redmond "They've got a great business plan, and one of the big things I like about it is -- not only are they going to be producing a product, there's also going to be a tourism aspect."

REDMOND SAYS THEY PLAN TO SIGN A LETTER OF INTENT TUESDAY WITH THE COMPANY... WHICH HOPES TO BE OPERATING IN FEBRUARY... MAKING ITS SPIRITS AND OFFERING TOURS.

NATS

JORDAN SAYS SHE'S IN GOOD SPIRITS FROM THE PLAN ALREADY... AND CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS QUIET TOWN TO WAKE BACK UP.
VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> REDMOND SAYS THE COUNTY WILL APPLY FOR HALF A MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS... WHICH WILL PROVIDE ABOUT 90-PERCENT OF THE MONEY NEEDED TO BUY THE PROPERTY FROM THE BANKRUPTCY TRUSTEE.
HE SAYS THE REST WILL COME FROM LOCAL FUNDS.
COMPANY OWNERS SHAWN HALL AND BILL MAULDIN SAY THEY ORIGINALLY PLANNED TO LEASE A BUILDING IN JACKSON BUT LATER DECIDED THE BUILDING WOULD BE TOO SMALL. 
THEY ALSO SAY THE BUILDING'S OWNERS DIDN'T OBTAIN THE PERMITS THEY NEEDED IN TIME.

     TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS... DO YOU THINK CENTRAL GEORGIA'S JOB MARKET WILL IMPROVE IN 2011?
     SO FAR 61 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO... IT WON'T.
     AND 39 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES... IT WILL IMPROVE.
     VOTE RIGHT NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

     A MACON CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE SUPPORTS THE MAYOR'S PLAN TO PUT MORE MONEY INTO THE FIRE AND POLICE PENSION PLAN.
     IN AUGUST... THE CITY'S ACTUARY TOLD THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEMBERS THAT THE PLAN WAS UNDERFUNDED.
     THE CITY NOW PUTS ABOUT SIX PERCENT OF ITS PAYROLL INTO THE PENSION PLAN.
      LAST WEEK....MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT ASKED COUNCIL'S PERMISSION TO RAISE THE CITY'S CONTRIBUTION TO 16 POINT 4 PERCENT...THE AMOUNT RECOMMENDED BY THEIR EXPERT.   
     THAT WILL COST ANOTHER ONE POINT TWO MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.
     THE COUNCIL APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE SUPPORTED THAT IN A MEETING THAT JUST ENDED AT CITY HALL.
       NOW THE MEASURE GOES TO FULL COUNCIL.

TWO NEW CENTRAL GEORGIA JUDGES TOOK OFFICE TODAY.
IN MACON...IT WAS THE FIRST DAY ON THE JOB SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE HOWARD SIMMS. 
HE WAS SWORN IN THIS MORNING AND SAYS THEY ALREADY HAVE A FULL SCHEDULE FOR THE FIRST WEEK.
Howard Simms: "We got a calendar on Wednesday, and that'll be followed next Monday by a trial calendar. So, we're really gonna hit the ground running."
IN THE NOVEMBER RUNOFF - SIMMS - THE FORMER BIBB COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY... BEAT HIS OPPONENT... JIM BARNES... BY MORE THAN 46 HUNDRED VOTES. THE DISTRICT COVERS BIBB...PEACH AND CRAWFORD COUNTIES.

IN HOUSTON COUNTY....A STATE COURT JUDGE TOOK HIS OATH OF OFFICE THIS MORNING.
"I do..."
JASON ASHFORD WAS SWORN IN BY SENIOR SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE L-A MCCONNELL.
TODAY WAS ASHFORD'S FIRST OFFICIAL DAY ON THE JOB... BUT WEDNESDAY WILL BE HIS FIRST DAY ON THE BENCH.
THE FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEY SAYS HE PLANS TO USE TECHNOLOGY TO SIMPLIFY THE COURT PROCESS..
JASON ASHFORD "One of the things I want to do is start using the internet a lot more, using the state court website to publish calendars, and just improve communication between all the elected officials and other state court people."
ASHFORD  REPLACES JUDGE BOB RICHARDSON WHO RETIRED AFTER 25 YEARS.

REMAINS OF A METH LAB WERE FOUND IN A HOME IN DRY BRANCH THIS MORNING.
A NEWS RELEASE SAID BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF DRUG INVESTIGATORS AND THE JONES COUNTY DRUG TEAM SHOWED UP AT THE HOME ON JEFFERSONVILLE ROAD WITH A WARRANT FOR 42-YEAR-OLD ANTHONY SCOTT LEWIS' ARREST... FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR.
THE RELEASE SAYS THEY FOUND LEWIS IN A BACK BEDROOM... WHERE THEY SAY A COUPLE OF GRAMS OF METH WERE DRYING IN PLAIN VIEW.
THE INVESTIGATOR'S CALLED THE MACON-BIBB FIRE DEPARTMENT'S HAZMAT TEAM... AND A DECONTAMINATION CREW FROM ATLANTA TO CLEAN UP THE LAB.
LEWIS IS BEING HELD IN THE BIBB COUNTY JAIL WITHOUT BOND....CHARGED WITH TRAFFICKING METH AND FAILURE TO APPEAR IN COURT.

THE HOLIDAYS ARE OVER AND PARENTS ARE BACK AT WORK AND THAT MEANS KIDS ARE GEARING UP TO HEAD BACK TO SCHOOL AROUND CENTRAL GEORGIA.
VIDEO JOURNALIST KIMBERLY BURDEN FOUND OUT HOW SOME OF THEM SPENT THE REST OF THEIR HOLIDAY BREAK.
            JONES AND HOUSTON COUNTY STUDENTS HEAD BACK TO SCHOOL TOMORROW.
  BIBB AND BALDWIN COUNTY STUDENTS RETURN WEDNESDAY.
             AND MONROE COUNTY SCHOOLS RESUME NEXT MONDAY.

   IT LOOKS LIKE THE GEORGIA SPORTS HALL OF FAME WILL BE STAYING IN MACON.... AT LEAST FOR A WHILE.
   BUT THE FATE OF THE GEORGIA MUSIC HALL OF FAME PROBABLY WON'T BE DECIDED UNTIL THE SPRING.
   THE STATE LEGISLATURE WANTS TO STOP SUBSIDIZING THE TWO MACON MUSEUMS WHICH LOSE MONEY EACH YEAR.
   LAST YEAR - THEY INVITED OTHER CITIES IN GEORGIA TO MAKE BIDS TO HOST EACH HALL.
   MACON IS THE ONLY CITY THAT BID FOR THE SPORTS HALL.
   THAT'S ACCORDING TO BEN SAPP...THE INTERIM DIRECTOR.
    HE SAYS THE STATE BOARD THAT RUNS THE MUSEUM MUST STILL DECIDE WHETHER TO APPROVE THAT BID.
   MUSIC HALL OF FAME DIRECTOR LISA LOVE SAYS FIVE CITIES WANT TO HOST THAT MUSEUM.
    THEY ARE MACON... ATHENS... DUNWOODY... DAHLONEGA... AND WOODSTOCK.
    SHE SAYS THE STATE BOARD THAT RUNS THE MUSIC HALL HAS UNTIL APRIL 15 TO DECIDE.
  JUST A FEW MINUTES AGO WE LEARNED THAT  MIKE DYER... HEAD OF THE EFFORT TO KEEP THE TWO HALLS OF FAME IN MACON... WILL NOT BE ABLE TO JOINS US TONIGHT TO TALK ABOUT THE UPDATES.. AS WE REPORTED EARLIER TODAY.

VISITORS TO BONAIRE MIGHT EXPECT TO FIND BARBECUE AND BOOTS... BUT THERE'S A MORE EXOTIC PRODUCT TAKING ROOT... BAMBOO.
THE PLANT IS AS COMMON TO CHINA AS PINE TREES ARE TO GEORGIA.
BUT AS LORRA LYNCH-JONES SHOWS YOU... ONE LOCAL MAN BELIEVES BAMBOO OFFERS FAR MORE USES.
<<nats- digging
ROBBY RUSSELL SPENDS MOST OF HIS TIME BENEATH THE QUIET OF A BAMBOO CANOPY...  
nats-
BUT WHEN HE VENTURES OUT... HE'S OFTEN SURROUNDED BY QUESTIONS.
Robby Russell: (19:49) "They just go why? What do you do with it? (cover) "Depending on the mood I'm in, I'll try to explain to them."
RUSSELL TELLS FOLKS ABOUT BAMBOO'S USE FOR LANDSCAPING... AS ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING PLANTS IN THE WORLD. 
nats-
IT'S USED FOR CRAFTS... 
nats- "You can cut the bamboo and split it, you get just simple serving trays."
AND IT'S A GROWING PART OF THE "GREEN INDUSTRY...."
nats- Pull! Pull, pull, pull (dragging bamboo) 
RUSSELL'S FRIEND AND AUTHOR OF A BOOK ON BAMBOO... DAPHNE LEWIS... DEVELOPED AN ECO FRIENDLY METHOD FOR HAULING IT. 
nats- "They're sled dogs. So, they like pulling."
RUSSELL SAYS BAMBOO'S MULTI-PURPOSES SOMETIMES SURPRISE EVEN HIM.
Robby Russell: (10:58) "Bow makers, flute makers, ethanol plants, anything you can think of. I had a guy show up one time, wanted stems for making opium pipes with it. "
TRADITIONALLY... BAMBOO STEMS ACCOMPANY CHINESE DISHES... BUT FOR PANDAS... THE SHOOTS MAKE-UP THE MAIN COURSE. 
RUSSELL SAYS WHEN TWO ARRIVED AT THE ATLANTA ZOO.. THEY ASKED HIM TO HELP CATER TO THEIR "PICKY" PALATE. 
Robby Russell: "You never which kind they want to eat."
HE OFFERS 60 VARIETIES... SAYING THE CROP MAY SEEM EXOTIC... MAKING SOME THINK HE'S ECCENTRIC... BUT THAT'S ALL POINT-OF-VIEW.
Robby Russell:(20:37) "If I was in the Orient, people wouldn't, you know I wouldn't be anything there, but because I'm in a Western society, they find it odd you would be involved in it."
HE SAYS PEOPLE JUST NEED TO OPEN THEIR MINDS... AND LET THE POSSIBILITIES OF THE PLANT... SHINE THROUGH.
nats-
STD>>
RUSSELL SAYS THE SOUTHEAST IS AN IDEAL CLIMATE FOR BAMBOO... BECAUSE THERE'S ADEQUATE AMOUNTS OF RAIN AND GOOD SOIL.
BAMBOO IS MOST WIDELY GROWN EAST ASIA... AND USED FOR A BUILDING MATERIAL AND FOOD SOURCE.

   OUR PHOTO GALLERIES ON 13WMAZ DOT COM ARE FILLING UP WITH PHOTOS FROM YOU...
      THE CAPTION HERE SAYS... "SO CLOSE... YET SO FAR AWAY!"
       AND IT'S NAP TIME FOR BO AND LUKE.
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS...LOOK FOR *PHOTO GALLERIES* IN THE MENU BAR ACROSS THE TOP OF OUR HOMEPAGE.

    THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
   THE EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC IS UP NEXT.
   HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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