<<opening for eyewitness news at six>>
HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
WARNER ROBINS' CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR CHUCK SHAHEEN ARE SCHEDULED TO MEET TOMORROW MORNING TO TALK ABOUT HOW TO REPLACE CITY ATTORNEY JIM ELLIOTT.
COUNCIL FIRED ELLIOTT BY A 4-2 VOTE DURING A STORMY MONDAY-NIGHT MEETING.
THIS MORNING... ELLIOTT'S OFFICE WAS CLOSED AND CITY HALL STAFF MEMBERS SAID THEY HADN'T SEEN HIM.
ELLIOTT DID NOT RETURN OUR PHONE CALLS FROM 13WMAZ MONDAY AND TUESDAY.
WEDNESDAY'S MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR 10 A.M. IN THE CITY HALL CONFERENCE ROOM.
CHUCK SHAHEEN TOOK THE OATH OF OFFICE... BECOMING WARNER ROBINS MAYOR... ONE YEAR AGO TODAY.
HE REFLECTED ON THOSE FIRST 365 DAYS AS THE CITY'S C-E-O WITH LORRA LYNCH-JONES.
HERE'S SHAHEEN'S THOUGHTS FROM THAT INTERVIEW... ALONG WITH VIDEO AND HIS COMMENTS FROM THE PAST YEAR IN HIS OWN WORDS.
SHAHEEN SAYS HIS BEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IN THE PAST YEAR WAS KEEPING THE NORTH DAVIS DRIVE POST OFFICE OPEN FOR AN EXTRA YEAR....AFTER THE POSTAL SERVICE DECIDED TO CLOSE IT.
HE SAID IN 2011... HE HOPES TO IMPROVE HIS "POLITICKING" SKILLS... AND SEE GROUND BROKEN ON THE LAW ENFORCEMENT CENTER AND SPORTS COMPLEX.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS... WHO DO YOU BLAME THE MOST FOR CONTROVERSY AT WARNER ROBINS CITY HALL?
SO FAR 49 PERCENT OF YOU SAY MAYOR SHAHEEN.
51 PERCENT OF YOU SAY CITY COUNCIL.
YOU HAVE UNTIL MIDNIGHT TO VOTE.
LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.
WE ALSO ASKED OUR FACEBOOK FANS HOW THEY FELT ABOUT THE SITUATION IN WARNER ROBINS.... AND WHO THEY THOUGHT WAS TO BLAME.
ONE PERSON REPLIED... "THE PROBLEM IS THE COUNCIL. THEY GOT USED TO [DONALD WALKER] BEING "OUT OF IT", LEAVING THEM TO CONTROL THINGS. WHEN THE NEW MAYOR CAME ALONG THEY LOST THAT CONTROL. GET RID OF THEM."
SOMEONE ELSE WROTE... "THE MAYOR. THESE BATTLES FOR POWER AND CONTROL ARE SO COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. THE VOTERS ARE TIRED OF IT! WAIT FOR THE NEXT ELECTION AND SEE IF ALL OF THEM--MAYOR AND COUNCIL--AREN'T VOTED OUT!"
AND A THIRD PERSON COMMENTED..."BOTH ARE AT FAULT AS FAR AS I CAN SEE-- BEEN HERE 20 YEARS AND THIS IS A MESS."
JOIN US AT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ AND LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.
USE THE "LIKE" BUTTON TO BECOME A FAN... THEN CLICK ON "SUGGEST TO FRIENDS" TO INVITE YOUR FACEBOOK FRIENDS INTO THE DISCUSSION.
A MILLEDGEVILLE CITY COUNCILMAN IS SPENDING THE NEXT WEEK IN JAIL.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO BADLWIN COUNTY SHERIFF... BILL MASSEE.
AMY AUBERT EXPLAINS WHY THERE'S SOME CONFUSION ABOUT THE WARRANT FOR PHILLIP JOINER... AND WHAT SOME COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE SAYING ABOUT IT. <<
Mayor Richard Bentley: "This, again, is a personal issue that he is certainly dealing with."
MILLEDGEVILLE MAYOR RICHARD BENTLEY... IS REFERRING TO MONDAY AFTERNOON'S ARREST OF 34-YEAR-OLD COUNCILMAN PHILLIP JOINER.
BALDWIN COUNTY SHERIFF BILL MASSEE SAYS... THEY HAD A VIOLATION OF PROBATION WARRANT OUT FOR JOINER.
THAT DOCUMENT STATES THAT ON DECEMBER SIXTEENTH... JOINER TESTED POSITIVE FOR ALCOHOL...
THAT'S AFTER BEING ON PROBATION FOR HIS SECOND D-U-I.
Amy Aubert, Eyewitness News: "Sheriff Massee says they went to serve the warrant last week, but Joiner was out of town. He says Joiner's attorney surrendered him on Monday, but Mayor Bentley says the arrrest will have no effect on next Tuesday's council meeting."
Mayor Bentley: "We will conduct business as usual."
JEANETTE WALDEN HAS BEEN ON COUNCIL FOR FOURTEEN YEARS... AND SHE SAYS THIS IS THE FIRST TIME SHE'S SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS.
Jeanette Walden, District 2: "It's just somethin' that we'll all have to work together and work through and hope for the best."
BUT IN TWO SEPARATE MOTIONS... JOINER'S ATTORNEY WRITES THAT THE WARRANT CONTAINS FALSE INFORMATION... AND SHOULD BE REVOKED.
IT SAYS THAT LAB TESTS SHOW JOINER DID NOT TEST POSTIVE FOR DRUGS OR ALCOHOL. .ONLY FOR TWO CHEMICALS THAT MAY INDICATE ALCOHOL USE.
THE MOTION SAYS JOINER USED A HAND SANITIZER THAT DAY...AND THAT COULD HAVE CAUSED A FALSE POSITIVE.
Mayor Bentley: "Obviously until all the facts are known, there is no comment from us as to what the facts are."
SHERIFF MASSEE SAYS... JOINER WILL BE HELD IN THE BALDWIN COUNTY JAIL WITHOUT BOND UNTIL JANUARY TENTH... WHEN THE CASE GOES TO STATE COURT.
AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ...EYEWITNESS NEWS.
JOINER WAS ELECTED IN 2009 TO REPRESENT THE CITY'S DISTRICT FOUR...WHICH INCLUDES GEORGIA COLLEGE AND STATE UNIVERSITY.
OTHER COUNCIL MEMBERS SAY HE PLAYS A BIG ROLE IN REACHING THE CITY'S YOUNGER COMMUNITY....LIKE TAKING PART IN LAST YEAR'S MILLEDGEVILLE IDOL CONTEST.
THERE'S STILL CONTROVERSY SWIRLING AROUND MACON CITY HALL.
IT'S AN ELECTION YEAR... AND WE SPOKE TO MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT ABOUT CITY ISSUES DURING TODAY'S TAPING OF THIS WEEK'S CLOSE-UP PROGRAM.
REICHERT ALSO TALKED ABOUT COMMENTS MADE LAST WEEK BY STATE SENATOR ROBERT BROWN THAT MENTIONED WHITE SHEETS AND SEEMED TO COMPARE GEORGIA REPUBLICANS TO THE KU KLUX KLAN.
REICHERT CALLED THE COMMENTS RACE BAITING AND SAYS THAT DOES NOT HELP THE COMMUNITY MOVE FORWARD.Robert Reichert, Macon Mayor: If we get derailed or side tracked into commentary and basically race baiting white sheets, red sheets, blue sheets and this that or the other, we're doing a disservice to the entire community, the black white, cause the color that we need to be talking about is green.
ROBERT BROWN MADE THOSE COMMENTS DURING A TAPING OF LAST WEEK'S CLOSE-UP PROGRAM..
MAYOR REICHERT, SENATOR BROWN, AND FORMER MAYOR C. JACK ELLIS ARE ALL EXPECTED TO RUN ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE IN THIS YEAR'S MACON MAYORAL RACE.
YOU CAN CATCH CLOSE-UP WITH MAYOR REICHERT AT NOON SATURDAY AND AT SIX A-M SUNDAY HERE ON 13WMAZ.
BIBB COUNTY'S NEW DISTRICT ATTORNEY WAS SWORN IN TODAY AT THE MACON COURTHOUSE.
Nats of Gregg "So Help Me God, Congratulations (4 SEConds)
GREG WINTERS TOOK THE OATH WITH HIS WIFE AND DAUGHTER BY HIS SIDE AND WITH A COURTROOM FULL OF SUPPORTERS.
WINTERS IS A LONGTIME BIBB COUNTY PROSECUTOR.
HE BEAT OUT DAVID COOKE IN A NOVEMBER RUNOFF.
HE SAYS HE WANTS TO MAKE THE MACON CIRCUIT DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE THE BEST IN THE STATE.... AND SAYS HE'S READY TO GET TO WORK.
Greg Winters "Im ready to keep going to begin work, we've already begun work but we have a great place to live. We have a wonderful community and our job is to make it better"
WINTERS REPLACES HOWARD SIMMS...WHO SERVED A DECADE IN THE D-A'S OFFICE.
SIMMS WAS SWORN IN YESTERDAY AS A BIBB COUNTY JUDGE.
BOTH MEN WORK IN THE MACON CIRCUIT..WHICH COVERS BIBB...PEACH AND CRAWFORD COUnTIES.
AN AQUATICS CENTER... A CONFERENCE CENTER.... EVEN A FRISBEE GOLF COURSE.
THOSE ARE SOME OF THE IDEAS FLOATED BY A COMPANY HIRED TO DRAW UP A MASTER PLAN FOR LAKE TOBESOFKEE.
BIBB COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MET WITH THE FIRM WOOD AND PARTNERS TO DISCUSS SOME OF THOSE IDEAS.
THE COMPANY ALSO TALKED ABOUT INCREASING PARKING AND CAMPING SPACE AT THE LAKE IN WEST BIBB COUNTY.
THE FIRM SAYS IT USED PREVIOUS STUDIES DONE ON THE LAKE TO PRODUCE THE PLAN.
SOME COMMISSIONERS SAY THEY'RE PLEASED WITH THE PRESENTATION....AND EXCITED ABOUT ADDITIONS THAT COULD MAKE THE PARK SELF-SUPPORTING.
Joe Allen, Bibb County Commission:
"So that lake will actually start paying really for itself, and you won't have to worry about having the people that live around the lake, they're the ones that are keeping the lake up becuase of the taxes they have to pay."
Sam Hart, Bibb County Commission Chairman:
"It will bring revenue back to the county and bring people in. I think it's a quality of life issue and it's an economic development issue. I think it helps us in 2 or 3 ways I think the people that are contemplating moving here, the companies that are contemplating moving here they'll certainly look at these kind of facilities and say boy that's a place I'd like to live."
COMMISSION CHAIRMAN SAM HART SAYS THE COUNTY WILL LIKELY HOLD A PUBLIC MEETING IN THE NEXT MONTH FOR THE COMMUNITY TO SEE THE IDEAS.
HE HOPES BIBB CAN USE GRANTS AND PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS TO FUND SOME OF THE IDEAS.
NATURE LOVERS IN PERRY COULD SOON HAVE MORE TO APPRECIATE.
LAST NIGHT COUNCIL APPROVED PLANS TO GO FORWARD WITH PHASE TWO OF THE BIG INDIAN CREEK WALKING TRAIL AND ADD ANOTHER HALF MILE TO THE PATH.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL... AS VANESSA RUFFES EXPLAINS... THE ADDITION IS PART OF A LARGER PLAN... WHICH HAS SOME OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS EXCITED.
NATS, walking trail
DAPHNE LEWIS IS CLEARLY AN OUTDOORS GAL... AND SHE SAYS SHE AND HER DOGS BRETT AND ROSY... HAD A LOT OF SCENERY TO APPRECIATE IN SEATTLE... WHERE SHE LIVED... UP UNTIL OCTOBER.
Lewis "I used the trails a lot for training my dogs. I go two miles, ten miles. And trails just became something that seemed essential in a city."
NOW THAT SHE'S IN PERRY... SHE SAYS THE QUALITY OF THE VIEWS HASN'T CHANGED... BUT THE DISTANCE SHE CAN TRAVEL ALONG TRAILS HAS.
LEWIS, BRETT, AND ROSY ENJOY RUNNING BIG INDIAN CREEK TRAIL NEAR DOWNTOWN... BUT CAN ONLY GO LESS THAN A MILE.
Lewis "Of course there's plenty of sidewalks, and traffic is very little in the neighborhoods, but if you want to run dogs, it's fun to run them on a dedicated trail."
BIG INDIAN CREEK TRAIL IS SLOWLY BECOMING THAT THOUGH... WITH THE CITY PLANNING TO ADD AN EXTRA HALF MILE.
Standup "The city says each addition is part of a larger plan, to connect all the parks with trails... to the downtown and fairgrounds."
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT MIKE BEECHAM SAYS... THEIR TIMELINE FOR COMPLETING THE ENTIRE PROJECT IS FLUID. HE SAYS THE CITY APPLIES EVERY YEAR FOR GRANTS... AND WILL ADD ON TO THE TRAIL AS THEY RECEIVE MONEY.
LEWIS SAYS... THE PROJECT IS WORTHWHILE... WITH PLENTY OF NATURAL BEAUTY IN THE AREA TO SHOWCASE.
Lewis "Whether it's trees, whether it's a river. In our case, gosh, the pecan orchards are blooming, they're so beautiful."
SHE SAYS... WHEN IT COMES TO TRAILS... THE LONGER THE BETTER... NATS... SHE SAYS THE CITY IS DEFINITELY ON THE RIGHT PATH.
VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> CITY MANAGER LEE GILMOUR SAYS THE NEXT STEP IS TO PUT THE HALF-MILE PROJECT TO BID. BEECHAM SAYS THE CITY ESTIMATES THE ADDITION COULD COST ABOUT 98 THOUSAND DOLLARS.
OUR PHOTO GALLERIES ON 13WMAZ DOT COM ARE FILLING UP WITH ALL SORTS OF PHOTOS FROM YOU...
THE CAPTION ON THIS PHOTO SAYS... "MY FUTURE'S SO BRIGHT... I HAVE TO WEAR SHADES!"
AND HERE'S CALLIE SHEA HAVING FUN PLAYING IN THE LEAVES.
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS...LOOK FOR *PHOTO GALLERIES* IN THE MENU BAR ACROSS THE TOP OF OUR HOMEPAGE... WE'LL SHOWCASE THEM ONLINE... AND YOU MIGHT SEE THEM HERE ON THE SHOW.
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.