HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX..
IT'S BEEN MORE THAN FOUR YEARS SINCE MACON POLICE AND MACON-BIBB FIREFIGHTERS GOT A CHANCE TO TAKE A PROMOTIONS TEST..
NOW..THE CITY OF MACON IS STARTING THE PROCESS..
CITY HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR BEN HUBBARD SAYS MORE THAN 140 POLICE AND FIREFIGHTERS SIGNED UP FOR THE TESTING..
THE CITY HOPES TO FILL POLICE SERGEANT.. POLICE LIEUTENANT AND FIRE SERGEANT VACANCIES.
BOFTA YIMAM SPOKE WITH ONE SERGEANT... WHO LOOKS FORWARD TO THE OPPORTUNITY TO MOVE UP... AND FOUND OUT FROM THE MAYOR ABOUT WHY IT'S TAKEN THIS LONG.
20-YEAR MACON POLICE SERGEANT GARY MINTER SAYS HIS PASSION FOR INVESTIGATIONS... HASN'T CHANGED MUCH SINCE HIS FIRST DAY ON THE JOB.
Sgt. Gary Minter
"helping people that can't help themselves."
THE 48-YEAR OLD SAYS HE WANTS TO CONTINUE DOING JUST THAT... BUT WITH A NEW TITLE UNDER HIS BELT.
"I look forward to becoming a lieutenant."
MINTER SAYS HE'S WAITED THREE YEARS TO TAKE THE PROMOTIONS TEST. THE SIX-YEAR SERGEANT SAYS HE AND OTHERS... LOOK FORWARD TO A POSSIBLE BOOST IN PAY... MORALE... AND SOME RELIEF--
"It would take a lot of work off some of the other officers who are sometimes doing two jobs."
POLICE CHIEF MIKE BURNS SAYS THEY NEED TO FILL NINE SERGEANT AND FIVE LIEUTENANT VACANCIES.... 14 JOBS IN ALL.
WITHIN ABOUT THE PAST TWO WEEKS... MINTER... ALONG WITH DOZENS OF OTHER POLICE AND FIREFIGHTERS SIGNED UP TO TAKE THE TESTS. MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT SAYS THEY'LL GET 60 DAYS TO STUDY... AND LIKELY TAKE THE TEST IN EARLY MARCH. HE CALLS THE PROCESS FOR SELECTING THE AGENCY TO RUN THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS... LENGTHY. HE SAYS THE LATEST LIST EXPIRED IN 2009.
Mayor Robert Reichert,
" I think there was a lot of interest in this, by members of council and they wanted to be sure that the testing outfit that we selected was a quality outfit, one that could be trusted to do it right and had a competitive price."
HE SAYS U-G-A'S CARL VINSON INSTITUTE WON THE BID TO HANDLE THIS LATEST BATCH OF PROMOTIONS... AT A COST OF 95-THOUSAND DOLLARS. THAT COVERS PREPARATIONS AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE TEST. THE MAYOR SAYS THE CITY SHOULD RE-START THE PROMOTIONS PROCESS... WHEN EACH LIST RUNSOUT... OR BECOMES OUTDATED.
MINTER SAYS HE PLANS TO STUDY FOR THE LIEUTENANT EXAM... THE SAME WAY HE SOLVES CASES...
"Ready for it"
DILIGENTLY... WITH HIS MIND FOCUSED ON THE END GOAL.
BOFTA YIMAM 13WMAZ EYEWITNES NEWS
A FEDERAL JUDGE LIFTED A LONG-TIME DECREE ORDER IN 2009... THAT OVERESAW THE HIRING AND PROMOTIONS OF MACON POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENTS TO END RACIAL DISCRIMINATION.
MAYOR REICHERT SAYS THE NEXT ROUND OF TESTING... AFTER THE CURRENT ONE... WOULD INCLUDE POLICE AND FIRE CAPTAINS..
CALLS TO THE FIRE DEPARTMENT REGARDING THEIR VACANCIES WERE NOT RETURNED..
THE STATE BOARD THAT RUNS GEORGIA'S SPORTS HALL OF FAME PUT THEIR STAMP ON A PLAN TO KEEP THE HALL IN MACON.
TODAY...THE SPORTS HALL OF FAME AUTHORITY APPROVED A BID BY A CENTRAL GEORGIA GROUP...HALLS OF FAME INCORPORATED.
WHEN COMMUNITIES STATEWIDE GOT THE CHANCE TO HOST THE MUSEUM...THE MACON GROUP FILED THE ONLY BID.
HALLS OF FAME INC ALSO MADE A BID TO KEEP THE GEORGIA MUSIC HALL OF FAME HERE IN MACON. THAT PROPOSAL IS STILL PENDING BEFORE A DIFFERENT STATE BOARD....ALONG WITH PLANS FROM SEVERAL OTHER COMMUNITIES.
THE GEORGIA MUSIC HALL OF FAME AUTHORITY IS EXPECTED TO PICK ONE OF THEM...SOMETIME THIS SPRING.
IT'S BEEN ALMOST A MONTH SINCE MONROE COUNTY STUDENTS ATTENDED SCHOOL.
AFTER THREE WEEKS OF CHRISTMAS VACATION.... THE RECENT WINTER STORM ADDED THREE EXTRA DAYS TO THEIR TIME OFF.
BRITTINY BARBER FOUND OUT SOME STUDENTS AND PARENTS SAY THEY'RE READY TO GET BACK IN THE ROUTINE OF THINGS.
Dean Conkel, Forsyth: "These past three days we've had to be very creative."
THE CONKEL FAMILY SPENT THE LAST FEW DAYS MAKING THE BEST OF AN ICY SITUATION...
Matt Conkel, Forsyth: "I've been sledding and hitting my brother with snow balls and hiking."
BUT AFTER NEARLY A MONTH OUT OF SCHOOL..... MATT SAYS HE'S READY TO GET BACK TO THE BOOKS.
Matt Conkel, Forsyth: "I've been wanting to go back to school ever since the first week. I get to see my friends and my teachers."
EVEN THE YOUNGEST STUDENTS....EXCITED TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL TO SEE SOME FAMILIAR FACES...
Josiah Arreola, Forsyth: "Ms Moore and Ms. Hughes.
Brittiny Barber, Eyewitness News: "Are you ready to go back and see them?"
Josiah Arreola: "Uh huh!"
FOR SOME PARENTS WEEKDAY RESPONSIBILITIES CHANGED FROM PHONE CALLS AND FAXES..... TO WATCHING THE KIDS ICE-SKATE ON THE DRIVEWAY.
Kristen Arreola, Forsysth: "Keep them occupied keep their brains going so when they do go back to school they're still straight on track."
SUPERINTENDENT ANTHONY PACK SAYS ICY ROADS ARE TO BLAME FOR THREE SNOW DAYS......
BUT THE EXTENDED VACATION MAY HAVE SOME ADDED CONSEQUENCES.
Superintendent Anthony Pack: "We have not made a final decision about making up the days cause we're already lost 10 days due to budget cuts for students faculty so this would be another 3 days added when students lost academic time."
AS PARENTS WAIT TO FIND OUT THE DISTRICT'S PLANS.... SOME SAY THEY'LL JUST CONTINUE TO ENJOY THIS TIME WITH THE FAMILY.
Kristen Arreola, "I thought i was ready theN i realized to just embrace the situation and spend time together."
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
>> SUPERINTENDENT PACK SAYS HE PREFERS TO DO MAKE UP DAYS WHEN STUDENTS ARE ALREADY SCHEDULED TO BE OFF... FOR INSTANCE TEACHER WORKDAYS OR SPRING BREAK....
THAT'S OPPOSED TO THE OTHER OPTION OF HOLDING A MAKE UP DAY ON A SATURDAY.
MONROE COUNTY STUDENTS WILL BE BACK IN SCHOOL ON THURSDAY.
THE WORLD'S BUSIEST AIRPORT IS STARTING TO SEE MORE FLIGHTS COMING IN AND OUT AFTER THIS WEEK'S SNOW AND ICE.
A DELTA SPOKESMAN SAYS THE COMPANY IS DOWN TO JUST 280 CANCELED FLIGHTS AT HARTSFIELD JACKSON ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TODAY.
HE SAYS MOST OF THOSE ARE A RESULT OF SNOW AND ICE IN THE NORTHEAST.
AN AIR-TRAN SPOKESMAN SAYS THAT COMPANY HAS ABOUT 80 CANCELLATIONS... MOSTLY IN THE NORTHEAST.
HE SAYS AIR-TRAN IS OPERATING EXTRA FLIGHTS IN WISCONSIN AND FLORIDA TO GET PASSENGERS WHERE THEY NEED TO GO.
A WARNER ROBINS TEENAGER WAS ARRESTED AFTER POLICE SAY HE BROKE INTO SEVERAL CARS AT A MACON APARTMENT COMPLEX.
MACON POLICE SPOKESWOMAN JAMI GAUDET SAYS IT HAPPENED AROUND 3-30 THIS MORNING AT THE WILSHIRE WOODS APARTMENTS ON ROCKY CREEK ROAD.
SHE SAYS OFFICERS RESPONDED TO A CALL ABOUT A BREAK-IN IN PROGRESS AND FOUND A 16-YEAR-OLD BOY INSIDE A CAR IN THE PARKING LOT.
GAUDET SAYS TWO OTHER MEN RAN AWAY BEFORE POLICE COULD CATCH THEM.
SHE SAYS THE TEENAGER WAS TAKEN TO A LOCAL YOUTH DETENTION CENTER.
IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON THE CASE... YOU CAN CALL THE MACON REGIONAL CRIMESTOPPERS AT 1-877-68-CRIME.
PEOPLE CELEBRATED AWARD WINNING WORK FROM DISABLED ARTISTS IN MILLEDGEVILLE TOD THIS MORNING... MORE THAN TWENTY PEOPLE CAME OUT FOR THE GALLERY OPENING AT THE MARLOR ARTS CENTER.
FIFTY TOP PIECES CREATED BY DISABLED ARTISTS FROM ACROSS GEORGIA ARE ON DISPLAY. SIX OF THOSE ARTISTS ARE FROM MILLEDGEVILLE.
SARA FLEETWOOD IS AN ART TEACHER WITH CREATIVE EXPRESSIONS...A GROUP THAT WORKS WITH THE ARTISTS IN THE CITY.
SHE SAYS THE PAINTERS ARE PROUD TO SEE THE TOUR COME TO THEIR HOMETOWN FOR THE FIRST TIME. AY.
Sara Fleetwood, Art Instructor: "They're already so naturally creative, and they've got this wonderful artistic spirit, that once you give them the ability and the tools they need, they're able to really just shine."
THE TOUR HELPS DISABLED ARTISTS SHOW AND SELL THEIR WORKS IN THEIR OWN COMMUNITY.
THE DISPLAY WILL BE IN MILLEDGEVILLE THROUGH FEBRUARY THIRD.
THE MARLOR ARTS CENTER IS ON NORTH WAYNE STREET.
JUST DAYS AFTER TAKING OFFICE... GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL WEIGHED IN ON STATE FINANCES AND HOW HE HOPES TO BALANCE THE STATE BUDGET.
RANDALL SAVAGE AND VANESSA RUFFES HAVE MORE ON DEAL'S PLAN FOR THE COMING YEAR.
"Let me be clear... my budget will end teacher furloughs and keep students in school for the full year...."
NATHAN DEAL SAYS ONE OF HIS TOP PRIORITIES AS GOVERNOR IS PRESERVING GEORGIA'S EDUCATION SYSTEM.
"I view education as our number one economic development tool and there is no more forward-looking or strategic place to invest."
REPUBLICAN SENATOR CECIL STATON SAYS THAT FOCUS ON EDUCATION RESONATED WITH HIM.
"He is appropriating additional funds in order to meet the funding for k-12. So I think the tone and the measure of the speech is what impresses me."
DEAL ALSO TALKED ABOUT KEEPING HOPE AFLOAT... HE SAYS THE SCHOLARSHIP IS PAYING OUT MORE THAN THE LOTTERY IS PUTTING IN... WHICH COULD USE UP ITS RESERVES AS EARLY AS FISCAL YEAR 20-13.
REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN PEAKE AGREES.
Peake "Just like families can't spend more than what they bring in, HOPE scholarship can't spend more than what it's got."
DEAL'S SPEECH DREW APPLAUSE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE... DEMOCRATIC SENATOR GEORGE HOOKS OF AMERICUS SAYS HE THINKS THE FLEDGLING GOVERNOR IS OFF TO A GOOD START.
Hooks "I was real pleased to hear him reduce the size of the bond package down to a half billion or 500 million. It's been way too way in my opinion for some time."
HOOKS SAYS HE ALSO LIKES THE IDEA OF ALLOCATING 300 MILLION DOLLARS FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEAR TO CREATE AND EXPAND GEORGIA'S WATER SUPPLY.
"The reservoirs are obviously very much needed in North Georgia."
OVERALL LAWMAKERS FOUND THE SPEECH UPBEAT BUT REALISTIC ABOUT THE STATE'S BUDGET... WHICH DEAL SAYS IS COMING UP ABOUT ONE BILLION DOLLARS SHORT THIS YEAR.
VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> DEAL ALSO TALKED ABOUT ENHANCING THE STATE'S TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE.
HE TALKED ABOUT DEEPENING THE SAVANNAH HARBOR WHICH IS NEEDED TO ACCOMMODATE LARGER SHIPS WHEN THE PANAMA CANAL WIDENING IS FINISHED.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS... HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE STATE OF THE STATE?
SO FAR 2 PERCENT OF YOU SAY EXCELLENT.
14 PERCENT SAY GOOD.
47 PERCENT SAY FAIR.
AND 37 PERCENT OF YOU WOULD RATE THE STATE OF THE STATE AS POOR.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.
MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE PLAN TO LACE UP THEIR SNEAKERS THIS WEEKEND FOR A RUN AROUND ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE.
THE 15TH ANNUAL MUSEUM OF AVIATION FOUNDATION MARATHON... HALF MARATHON AND 5K IS SATURDAY.
FOUNDATION PRESIDENT... PAT BARTNESS... SAYS THE PATH LOOPS AROUND THE BASE... PASSING OVER THE RUNWAY AT CERTAIN POINTS.
HE SAYS THERE WILL ALSO BE A SHADOW RACE GOING ON IN KANDAHAR AFGHANISTAN THAT DAY.
BARTNESS SAYS A MAN THAT RAN IN IT LAST YEAR AND IS NOW DEPLOYED... SIGNED ABOUT 300 PEOPLE UP FOR THE SAME RACE THERE.
Pat Bartness, Museum of Aviation Foundation President: (2:35) "It's a great idea. There's not a lot of outside activity for those guys over there. What a wonderful thing to tie in with the marathon here. We love to do soemthing with the troops like that."
AGAIN... THE RACE IS THIS SATURDAY.
YOU HAVE UNTIL 7:30 THAT MORNING TO SIGN-UP... AND THE RACE STARTS AT EIGHT A-M.
CALL 478-923-6600 FOR MORE INFORMATION. THAT NUMBER AGAIN....923-6600
ALL THE MONEY RAISED WILL GO TO THE MUSEUM OF AVIATION FOUNDATION... WHICH BARTNESS SAYS SUPPORTS EDUCATION AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION.