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Friday, January 14, Eyewitness News at 6

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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.


A BIO-FUEL PLANT IN SOPERTON HAS LAID OFF WORKERS AND TEMPORARILY CLOSED ITS DOORS... THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE CEO OF RANGE FUELS.
LACK OF FUNDING LED THEM TO THIS POINT, BUT THE COMPANY PLANS TO RE-OPEN IN A FEW MONTHS.
AS BRITTINY BARBER SHOWS YOU....THE CLOSING CAME AS A HARD HIT TO THE COMMUNITY.
<<
DOuglas McDaniel, Soperton: "It's kind of disheartening to hear it's shut down."
DOUGLAS MCDANIEL SHARES THE SAME FEELINGS AS MANY PEOPLE IN SOPERTON.... AFTER HEARING THE RECENTLY BUILT RANGE BIO-FUEL PLANT SHUT DOWN.
Otha Lee Beasley, Soperton: "We'd rather see progress going on with it than for this to be happening to it."
RANGE FUELS C-E-O DAVID ALDOUS (ALL-DOSS) SAYS ECONOMIC CHALLENGES CAUSED THEM TO LET GO A HAND FULL OF EMPLOYEES... AND SHUT DOWN THE PLANT FOR WHAT HE HOPES IS ONLY A FEW MONTHS.
WHILE ITS CLOSED... HE'S SAYS THE COMPANY WILL LOOK FOR NEW INVESTORS TO HELP THEM EXPAND.
HE SAYS THEY NEED TO GROW SO THE SMALL PLANT COMPETE WITH LARGER FACILITIES.
HE SAYS WITH THE HIGH COSTS TO PRODUCE THE ETHANOL PRODUCTS FROM PINE TREES.... THEY NEED A LARGER FACILITY  TO TURN A PROFIT. 
John Lee, Exe, Director Truetlin Co. Development Authority: "Came sort of as a shock to us but they assured us it was a temporary thing. "
JOHN LEE... EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TRUETLIN COUNTY DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY SAYS HE'S TOLD THE PLANT WILL STILL HAVE SOME STAFF ON-HAND.
John Lee: "They told us a skeletal crew will set up 24/7 I'm guessing that's sort of a maintenance operations."
John Lee, "We were hoping they'd be hiring but we'll keep our chin up and fingers crossed."
LIKE LEE..... MANY IN SOPERTON HOPING THE COMPANY CAN REBOUND.
Bruce Ely, Soperton, "That's something to put truetlin county to put people back to work and put us on the map."
BRITTINY BARBER 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS>>
RANGE FUELS RECEIVED A 76 MILLION DOLLAR GRANT FROM THE DEPARMENT OF ENERGY AND AN $80 MILLION DOLLARS LOAN FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
ALDOUS SAYS THE COMPANY HAS ONLY RECEIVED PART OF THE MONEY FROM BOTH OF THOSE.... AND THAT THEY CONTINUE TO PAY BACK THE LOAN EACH MONTH.


SOME GEORGIA STATE LEGISLATORS TODAY DISCUSSED WHAT CHANGES IN EDUCATION POLICY MIGHT BE COMING DURING THIS SESSION.
STATE SENATOR FRAN MILLAR... AND REPRESENTATIVE MARGARET KAISER... JOINED A PANEL DISCUSSION ON EDUCATION AT AN ATLANTA FORUM..
BOTH SERVE ON STATE EDUCATION COMMITTEES.
MILLAR.. A REPUBLICAN FROM DUNWOODY....SAYS HE EXPECT LEGISLATORS TO MAKE CHANGES TO THE STATE'S HOPE COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS PROGRAM... LIKE NOT PAYING FOR STUDENTS WHO MUST TAKE REMEDIAL COURSES.
HE SAYS THAT COVERS ABOUT 10 PERCENT OF HOPE RECIPIENTS. 
GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL SAID THIS WEEK THAT HOPE NOW COSTS MORE THAN THE LOTTERY TAKES IN....BUT HE WON'T LET THE STATE DIP INTO RESERVE FUNDS TO PAY THE DIFFERENCE.
Fran Millar, (R) District 40, Georgia Senate, Chairman of Education and Youth Committee: "If you look at how we deal with things in government, federal state or local, we deal when it becomes a crisis and if we're not going to be using reserves then we have to do something, so he's put the hones if you will on general assembly, I think it was good on his part to do that, and we will deal with it."
MARGARET KAISER...A DEMOCRAT WHO REPRESENTS PART OF FULTON COUNTY... SAYS BUDGET SHORTFALLS AND A POOR ECONOMY MAKE RE-DOING THE STATE'S MORE THAN 20-YEAR OLD SCHOOL FUNDING FORMULA ....A TOP PRIORITY. 
Margaret Kaiser (D) District 59, Georgia House of Representatives: "We need to decide and determine not once and for all, but every maybe five to seven years what the cost of educating a child in Georgia is and that shouldn't be an adequate education, that should be what does it cost for every child to have access to an excellent education."
ACCORDING TO THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.. THE STATE SPENDS MORE THAN 87 HUNDRED DOLLARS PER STUDENT.


        EAST DUBLIN POLICE SAY THEY'VE ARRESTED TWO OF THE THREE MEN WHO ROBBED A JEWELRY STORE YESTERDAY.
       THE MEN ENTERED THE JEWELRY IN MILLEDEVILLE SHOP JUST AFTER NOON.
       ONE MAN PRETENDED TO TRY TO SELL A GOLD WATCH TO A CLERK...WHILE ANOTHER GRABBED THE BANK DEPOSIT BAG.
       POLICE SAY THEY GOT AWAY WITH MORE THAN 17 HUNDRED DOLLARS CASH...PLUS SOME JEWELRY.
         BASED ON TIPS.... WITNESS STATEMENTS AND PHOTOS TAKEN AT THE SCENE... POLICE SAY THEY ARRESTED TWO 18-YEAR-OLDS.....TERRANCE AND TORRANCE MANS.
         EAST DUBLIN POLICE COULDN'T SAY IF THE TWO MEN ARE RELATED.
         BOTH ARE IN THE LAURENS COUNTY JAIL....AND POLICE SAY THEY'RE LOOKING FOR A THIRD SUSPECT.


THE COLD WEATHER IS LIKELY TAKING A TOLL FOR THOSE LIVING ON THE STREETS.
THE MACON RESCUE MISSION SAYS THEY'RE TAKING EXTRA STEPS TO GET HOMELESS PEOPLE INTO THEIR SHELTERS.
AS BOFTA YIMAM SHOWS YOU... ITS AN EFFORT THEY HOPE THOSE MOST IN NEED... WILL WARM UP TO.
NATS Antonio Thompson "That bridge down there."


A DECADE LIVING ON THE STREETS... ANTONIO THOMPSON SAYS HE WARMS INTO SURVIVAL MODE... ESPECIALLY DURING COLD MONTHS.


Thompson,
"Coats, couple of long sleeves, couple of shirts."


DESPITE THAT... THE 42-YEAR-OLD ADMITS THE FRIGID TEMPERATURES CAN STILL CREEP UNDER THE LAYERS.


Thompson,
"Yea, it's been a little uncomfortable."


THOMPSON SAYS HE'S SLEPT UNDER A BRIDGE FOR A YEAR.   


NATS Jeff Nicklas "Probably our first cold nap is when I decided we gotta do something different"


JEFF NICKLAS WITH THE MACON RESCUE MISSION SAYS THEY BEGAN SENDING THIS VAN TO PICK UP THE HOMELESS... LAST MONTH.. WHEN TEMPERATURES DIPPED TO AROUND 33 DEGREES OR BELOW.  ON THOSE DAYS... THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SAYS THE VAN STOPS AT PLACES WHERE HOMELESS PEOPLE COULD BE... LIKE NEAR THE 1-16 BRIDGE... AND TAKES THEM TO THEIR SHELTER FOR THE NIGHT.  


8:58 NATS  "We put em' here"


NICKLAS SAYS THE VAN WHEELS IN ONE ROUND TRIP... TYPICALLY IN THE LATE AFTERNOON.


Nicklas,
"Somewhere, somewhere out there, there's somebody sitting in 19 degree weather and it's just not right." 


NICKLAS SAYS AROUND EIGHT PEOPLE TYPICALLY GET ON BOARD... BUT SAYS HE UNDERSTANDS SOME HOMELESS PEOPLE MAY NOT SIT WELL WITH THE IDEA... DUE TO A MINDSET OF SURVIVAL.


Nicklas,
"A lot of times that survival includes not being found, and so they can find abandoned buildings and different means, they can basically hide."


THOMPSON IS NO EXCEPTION TO THAT... HE SAYS HE PLANS TO CONTINUE HIS TREK TOWARD FINDING A REAL HOME......OFF THE STREET WHILE STAYING UNDER IT.


"I know I'll get off the street, I don't got no problem with that, but I'm waiting for one of my new family members to come in town, and I'll probably live with one of them." 


BOFTA YIMAM 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS 
JEFF NICKLAS WITH THE MACON RESCUE MISSION SAYS THEY HOPE TO ADD TO THEIR SHELTER SOON.
HE HOPES TO BUILD A DAY CENTER AREA... THAT COULD ALSO BE USED FOR EMERGENCY SHELTER.

A MILITARY AIRCRAFT USED TO TEST NEW TECHNOLOGY...TEMPORARILY TOUCHED DOWN AT ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE THIS WEEK...
SOME V.I.P VISITORS GOT A CHANCE TO CHECK OUT THE LASTEST AND GREATEST IN FLIGHT TECHNOLOGY...
ELEANOR LISSITZYN VISITED THE BASE TODAY TO TAKE A LOOK...
THIS JOINT STARs AIRCRAFT HAS BEEN A TEST BED FOR CUTTING EDGE MILITARY TECHNOLOGY SINCE 1991.
ANYTHING THAT ENDS UP IN THE JOINT STARs FLEET IS FIRST TESTED ON THIS AIRCRAFT
THEY CALL IT 'THE EYE IN THE SKY' BECAUSE ITS PRIMARY PURPOSE IS SURVEILLANCE
ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING NEW TECHNOLOGIES THEY'RE TESTING IS THIS CAMERA. EXPERTS SAY IT'S SO POWERFUL YOU COULD BE HALF WAY TO ATLANTA AND BE ABLE TO SPOT THINGS ON THE AIRFIELD AT ROBINS..
THE FUEL EFFICENT ENGINES can INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF TIME SURVEILLANCE CREWS CAN STAY IN THE AIR BY UP TO TWO HOURS
WHICH JOINT STAR PROGRAM DEVELOPER STEPHEN PAULY SAYS CAN BE CRUCIAL.
"In the surveillance business you have to be there in order to surveil...it's important that you're persistent in your operations that you're up in the sky when you need to be, especially at night when your enemy is moving on the ground."
SEVENTEEN OF THESE WORK STATIONS are ON BOARD... To LET ALL THE CREW MEMBERS WORK ON SEPARaTE TASKs SiMULTANEOUSLY... AND EVEN WEB CHAT WITH PEOPLE ON THE  GROUND...
ALL OF THE TECHNOLOGY HERE IS STILL IN THE TEST PHASE... BUT EXPERTS SAY FOLKS ON THE BASE COULD GET THEIR HANDS ON it IN ONE TO THREE YEARS
STD
BASE OFFICIALS SAY THEY HAVE SEVENTEEN J-STARS AIRCRAFTS IN THEIR FLEETS... AND THERE'S A POSSILBITY OF PURCHASING SOME OF THE NEW TECHNOLOGY IN THE FUTURE.
PAULY SAID THE AIRCRAFT THAT VISITED TODAY...IS WORTH AROUND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS 


IF YOU'RE FEELING COOPED UP AND WANT TO HEAD OUT TO EAT THIS WEEKEND... YOU MIGHT WANT TO SEE HOW SOME LOCAL RESTAURANTS DID WHEN HEALTH INSPECTORS STOPPED BY.
LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THIS WEEK'S RESTAURANT RATINGS.
WE'RE BACK IN HOUSTON COUNTY STARTING OFF WITH OUR LOWEST SCORES FIRST....
ARBY'S AT 103 RUSSELL PARKWAY IN WARNER ROBINS SCORED AN 88 OR "B" AFTER THE SAME SCORE LAST TIME.
THE INSPECTOR FOUND THAT THE COUNTER TOP TOOLER WAS TOO WARM... AND A HOOD WAS BEING USED WITHOUT PROPER FILTERS.
LA CABANA ON HIGHWAY 247 IN BONAIRE ALSO SCORED AN 88 OR "B" AFTER A 91 ON ITS PREVIOUS INSPECTION.
THE INSPECTOR SAID HOT DOGS WERE NOT DATE-MARKED... A TUB OF SUGAR WASN'T LABLED AND THE REAR DOOR'S SELF-CLOSER WAS DISCONNECTED.
AND DAIRY QUEEN AT 1224 WATSON BOULEVARD IN WARNER ROBINS SCORED AN 85 OR A "B" AFTER A 95 OR "A" LAST TIME.
THE INSPECTOR SAID THERE WASN'T A THERMOMETER INSIDE THE REFRIGERATOR AND THE GRILL WASN'T UNDER A HOOD.
ALL OF THE VIOLATIONS WERE CORRECTED BEFORE A FOLLOW-UP VISIT.
NOW LET'S SEE THE TOP SCORES OF THE WEEK... AND OUR GOLDEN SPATULA NOMINEES.
JOHNNY G'S AT 8-15 RUSSELL PARKWAY IN WARNER ROBINS SCORED A 100 AFTER A 94 OR "A" ON ITS LAST INSPECTION.
SAIGON NOODLE HOUSE ON HIGHWAY 247 IN BONAIRE MADE A 99 ON ITS MOST RECENT INSPECTION... AND A 96 ON THE ONE BEFORE...BOTH A'S.
AND SUBWAY AT 809 HIGHWAY 96 IN WARNER ROBINS MADE A 100 AFTER A 96 ON ITS PREVIOUS INSPECTION.
TONIGHT WE'LL AVERAGE OUR NOMINEES PAST FIVE SCORES TO GIVE YOU THIS WEEK'S GOLDEN SPATULA WINNER.
FOR ALL YOUR BIBB AND HOUSTON COUNTY RESTAURANT RATINGS...GO TO OUR WEBSITE 13WMAZ DOT COM.
CLICK ON THE NEWS TAB.. THEN LOOK FOR FEATURES... THEN CLICK ON THE RESTAURANT RATINGS LINK.


     THE COLD WEATHER HAS DECIDED TO STICK AROUND THIS WEEK... AND SINCE IT'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE... WE ASKED OUR FACEBOOK FANS WHAT THEY THOUGHT OF IT.
     ONE PERSON WROTE... "I JUST KNOW THAT GROUNDHOG BETTER NOT SEE HIS SHADOW NEXT MONTH!"
     SOMEONE ELSE COMMENTED... "SEEMS LIKE THE COLD WEATHER IS NEVER ENDING.
IT ONLY WARMS UP TO RAIN AND THEN COLD AGAIN!!!..HURRY UP SPRING TIME!"
     A THIRD PERSON REPLIED... "I LOVE BREATHING THE CRISP FRESH AIR. BUT MY OLD BONES HAVE BEEN COMPLAINING!"
     ANOTHER FAN WROTE... "AS YOU GET OLDER YOU CAN'T TAKE THE COLD AS WELL AS WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG. 
BUT THIS LAST COLD SPELL WAS DOWN RIGHT FRIGID. READY FOR A LITTLE WARM UP, BEN JONES!"
   JOIN US ON FACEBOOK AND GET INTO THE CONVERSATION.
     JUST VISIT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ.... AND CLICK ON THE "LIKE" BUTTON TO BECOME A FAN.

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