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Tuesday, January 18, Eyewitness News at 11

11:50 PM, Jan 18, 2011   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY..
  AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.


A NEWLY FORMED GROUP IN WARNER ROBINS SAYS THE CITY HAS BECOME "THE LAUGHING STOCK OF MIDDLE GEORGIA."
THE CITIZENS FOR BETTER GOVERNMENT SAID THEY PLAN TO CHANGE THAT REPUTATION... BY SENDING A MESSAGE TO CITY HALL.
LORRA LYNCH-JONES EXPLAINS WHY THEY SAY TODAY'S "RALLY FOR REFORM" WAS THE FIRST STEP..
<<nats- crowd clapping
A WARNER ROBINS PASTOR SUMMED UP THE PROBLEM.... .
Jerry Walls, Pastor: (20:32) "Our mayor and council can't seem to get along."
THAT'S WHY MORE THAN 200 PEOPLE CAME TO THE HOUSTON MALL TO LISTEN... AND MANY OF THEM SHOWED THEIR DISAPPOINTMENT WITH THE LEADERSHIP AT CITY HALL.
Gary Menvel, Warner Robins: (18:30) "People talk about it all the time. Maybe we'll get on the right road and make it straight."
Laurie Hardeman, Warner Robins: (3:06) "The bickering starts with them and trickles down into the community."
A LINE-UP OF SPEAKERS CALLED FOR "UNITY" BETWEEN THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL...
Dick Walden, Warner Robins: "Were so tired of all the trash."
FORMER CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS RAN DOWN THE QUALITIES OF GOOD LEADERS... BUSINESSMEN TALKED OF HOW A DIVIDED GOVERNMENT AFFECTS SMALL BUSINESSES... AND THE BASE. 
Ron Smith, Warner Robins: "I think it was done with what we promised, civility."
ALL OF THE SPEAKERS REFRAINED FROM CRITICIZING THE MAYOR OR COUNCIL BY NAME... BUT FORMER COUNCIL MEMBER HENRIETTA MCINTYRE POINTED TO FOUR COUNCIL MEMBERS AS THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM.
Henrietta McIntyre, Warner Robins (10:59) "We have a duly elected mayor. He was elected by the people of Warner Robins. We have four wanna be mayors. (clapping- cover)
COUNCIL MEMBERS AND THE MAYOR WERE NOT IN THE AUDIENCE TO RESPOND...
BUT THE GROUP SAID THEY'LL BE WAITING FOR RESULTS.
Jerry Walls: (22:32) "They are being watched by somebody greater than you and I. They are being watched by an almighty God! (clapping)
STD
>> A WARNER ROBINS CITY COUNCIL MEETING FOLLOWED THE RALLY...
MAYOR CHUCK SHAHEEN AND COUNCIL MEMBERS WE SPOKE WITH SAY THEY WERE INVITED TO THE PEACE FORUM... BUT DID NOT ATTEND.
THEY SAID THEY DID NOT WANT TO COMMENT ABOUT THE RALLY... SINCE THEY WERE NOT THERE...
BUT THEY DID SPEAK IN GENERAL ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COUNCIL AND MAYOR... AND THE CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT.
Wilbanks "As long as we follow our charter, as long as we follow Georgia state charter and we follow a rule of procedure in the meetings, there wouldn't be any chaos at all. And if we didn't recruit people to come down and cause chaos we would have any at all."
Shaheen "We're a voice for the people. So I think it's a great thing that they want to get involved. If you look at it. Only 20 percent of our city votes. We need to have more people vote."
Williams "Hopefully this stuff is behind us, in the past. We were elected by the people. We respect the people.. We're going to do what they want done.
SPOKESMAN FOR THE REFORM GROUP... RON SMITH... SAID THEY PLAN TO SCHEDULE SIMILAR MEETINGS IN THE FUTURE.
THEY COLLECTED COMMENT CARDS FROM THE AUDIENCE... ASKING FOR SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO MOVE THEIR MESSAGE FORWARD.


YESTERDAY... CITY COUNCIL MEMBER JOHN WILLIAMS CRITICIZED BOB WILBANKS FOR RECENTLY RELEASING A RECORDING OF A CLOSED COUNCIL SESSION.
     TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS... SHOULD BOB WILBANKS HAVE RELEASED THE TAPE OF A CLOSED WARNER ROBINS COUNCIL MEETING?
     SO FAR 62 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
     AND 38 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.
     VOTE RIGHT NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.


   MACON POLICE CAPTAIN ERIC WOODFORD SAYS HIS NEW YEARS RESOLUTION IS TO RE-ENERGIZE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH ASSOCIATIONS... 
   AND TONIGHT HE KICKED OFF THAT EFFORT BY HOLDING A NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION  MEETING FOR PEOPLE IN PRECINCT THREE...
    WOODFORD IS THE NEW PRECINCT COMMANDER. HE SAYS THE NEIGHBORHOOD LOCATED AROUND THE VINEVILLE AREA... HAS SEEN A RISE IN RESIDENTIAL BURGLARIES.
HE ENCOURAGED EVERYONE AT THE MEETING TO BECOME A 'NOSY NEIGHBOR' AND REPORT ALL SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY... 
    PEOPLE WHO WENT TO THE MEETING BROUGHT CONCERNS ABOUT BLIGHT AND CRIME IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS...     
    WOODFORD CHALLANGED EVERY ONE AT THE MEETING TO COME BACK TO THE THE NEXT ONE IN FEBRUARY... AND BRING A NEIGHBOR WITH THEM... 
    PRECINT THREE RESIDENT GERRI KITCHENS SAYS SHE PLANS TO DO JUST THAT...
Gerri Kitchens: "I feel like theres things could be done to improve our neighborhood...and I'm willing to participate to do my part to make it happen."
Captain Eric Woodford: "Being a new precinct commander...you need to use all tools that you have available to you...we need the neighborhood watch... we need our citizens that hear.. that see... to say."
THE NEXT PRECINCT THREE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION MEETING WILL BE HELD ON FEBRUARY 22ND AT SIX THIRTY P.M.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT US AT 13WMAZ.COM AND CLICK ON THIS STORY..


     GEORGIA'S NEW ATTORNEY GENERAL SAYS HE'S SIGNED ON TO A LAWSUIT AGAINST PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL.
     REPUBLICAN SAM OLENS SAID THIS AFTERNOON THAT HE'S JOINING THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AND SUPPORTING THE CASE THAT CLAIMS THE 2010 FEDERAL LAW ISN'T CONSTITUTIONAL.
     26 STATES HAVE JOINED THAT LAWSUIT SO FAR.
     FORMER STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL THURBERT BAKER... A DEMOCRAT... WOULDN'T JOIN THE LAWSUIT FILED LAST YEAR IN FLORIDA.
    FORMER GOVERNOR SONNY PERDUE HIRED OUTSIDE COUNCIL WORKING WITHOUT PAY TO SUE ON THE STATE'S BEHALF.
    OLENS SAYS HIS OFFICE WILL TAKE OVER THE CASE... BUT PRIVATE ATTORNEYS WILL STILL HELP THEM.


GEORGIA GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL OUTLINED HIS 18-POINT-2 BILLION DOLLAR SPENDING PLAN DURING HEARINGS AT THE STATE CAPITOL TODAY.
THE REPUBLICAN SAID THERE ARE REASONS FOR OPTIMISM... SUCH AS MORE GEORGIANS WORKING AND HIGHER CONSUMER CONFIDENCE.
AND SOME ECONOMISTS SAY SECTORS OF THE STATE'S ECONOMY ARE EXPECTED TO REBOUND THIS YEAR.
ABOUT 250 BUSINESS AND CIVIC LEADERS ATTENDED A CONFERENCE TODAY ON THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR.
ECONOMISTS FROM SELIG CENTER FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH AT THE UNVERSITY OF GEORGIA SAY RECOVERY WILL CONTINUE TO BE SLOW... BUT THEY EXPECT A GROWTH IN THE JOBS MARKET AND SEVERAL SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES.Robert Sumichrast, Dean of the Terry College pf Business: "This year the states fastest growing industries will be business services and especially employment and logistics that includes transportation and warehousing."
  ECONOMIST ALSO PROJECT HOME SALES IN GEORGIA TO REBOUND.
BUT THEY SAY PRICES MAY STILL DROP THROUGH THE FIRST HALF OF THE YEAR.


      A MONROE COUNTY MAN DIED TODAY - THE THIRD VICTIM OF A WEEKEND SHOOTING.
      BIBB COUNTY CORONER LEON JONES SAYS RONALD PRUITT DIED FROM A GUNSHOT WOUND TO THE HEAD AT THE MEDICAL CENTER OF CENTRAL GEORGIA JUST AFTER 3 THIS AFTERNOON.
    HIS WIFE... 43-YEAR-OLD ALAYNA PRUITT... AND HER MOTHER SHERRY PRICE WERE FOUND SHOT TO DEATH IN THEIR MONROE COUNTY HOME LAST WEEKEND.
      RONALD PRUITT WAS FOUND CRITICALLY INJURED.
      MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF JOHN BITTICK SAYS THE DEATHS APPEARED TO BE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
       
    IN A WEEK AND A HALF... A SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE WILL DECIDE WHETHER TO KEEP MORE THAN HALF A MILLION DOLLARS OF DISPUTED LOTTERY WINNINGS FROZEN UNTIL A CIVIL LAWSUIT IS SETTLED.
       ANTONIO CUA-TOC FILED THE SUIT... CLAIMING THAT HE PURCHASED THE WINNING JINGLE JUMBO BUCKS TICKET AT O-M FOOD MART ON FEAGIN MILL ROAD IN WARNER ROBINS.
      CUA-TOC ALSO CLAIMS THAT HE ALLOWED ERICK CERVANTES TO CLAIM THE PRIZE AFTER CERVANTES ALLEGEDLY TOLD CUATOC THAT HE COULDN'T COLLECT THE MONEY BECAUSE HE LACKED PROPER I-D AND DOCUMENTATION.
        BUT CERVANTES ATTORNEY.. KELLY BURKE SAYS CUA-TOC MADE A BOGUS CLAIM.
  CUA-TOC's ATTORNEY.. HERBERT WELLS OF PERRY.. COULDN'T BE REACHED FOR COMMENT.
  SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE GEORGE NUNN FROZE THE MONEY.. PENDING A HEARING THAT'S SET FOR TEN A-M ON JANUARY 28TH.


     THE DODGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE HAS RELEASED A STATEMENT APOLOGIZING FOR A CLERICAL ERROR THAT ALLOWED A WOMAN CONVICTED OF KILLING A DODGE COUNTY INFANT TO GET OUT OF PRISON EARLY.
    THE STATEMENT SAYS IN PART... "WHILE THE ERROR IS NOT EXCUSABLE.... IT IS UNDERSTANDABLE HOW IT OCCURRED.  WE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ERROR ON THE PART OF OUR STAFF.  I AM SORRY THAT BOTH THE FAMILIES HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY THIS ERROR....
 THE OCONEE DISTRICT ATTORNEY IS TAKING THE NECESSARY LEGAL STEPS TO INSURE THAT THE SUPERIOR COURT'S SENTENCE IS CARRIED OUT."   
     IN DECEMBER 2009... AMY ROGERS JONES WAS CONVICTED OF KILLING FOUR-MONTH-OLD JACI ROGERS.
     A JUDGE SAID JONES SHOULD SERVE AT LEAST TWO YEARS IN PRISON... BUT PAPERWORK WITH A TYPO IN THE DATE LED TO HER BEING RELEASED TWO AND A HALF WEEKS AGO.... A YEAR TOO SOON.


     A MACON-BASED ARMY RESERVE UNIT WILL BEGIN A DEPLOYMENT IN IRAQ THIS WEEKEND.
      SPOKESMAN GERARDO ROSADO SAYS 120 SOLDIERS WITH THE 352ND COMBAT SUSTAINMENT SUPPORT BATTALION WILL BE BASED IN BAGHDAD'S AMERICAN-RUN GREEN ZONE.
     HE SAYS THEY'LL HELP WITH THE TRANSITION FROM AMERICAN TO IRAQI CONTROL.
     ROSADO SAYS THE UNIT MAINLY HANDLES LOGISTICS AND SHIPPING... AND ISN'T EXPECTED TO SEE COMBAT.
     HE SAYS THE UNIT WILL SPEND A YEAR IN IRAQ.
     A CEREMONY AT MACON STATE COLLEGE WILL MARK THE START OF THE DEPLOYMENT.
     IT WILL BEGIN AT 10 A-M ON SUNDAY.


THE MACON POLICE DEPARTMENT GOT TOGETHER TODAY TO ENHANCE ITS STRATEGY FOR KEEPING NEIGHBORHOODS SAFE.
POLICE CHIEF MIKE BURNS KICKED OFF THE DEPARTMENT'S ANNUAL RETREAT TODAY TO TALK ABOUT WAYS TO IMPROVE SAFETY IN THE CITY.
SUPERVISORS ALSO EXPRESSED IDEAS FOR BETTER EQUIPPING POLICE OFFICERS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR TRAINING.
CHIEF BURNS SAYS THE RETREAT HAS HAD A POSITIVE EFFECT ON KEEPING CRIME DOWN IN THE CITY.
HE'S LOOKING FORWARD TO IMPLEMENTING NEW IDEAS AS THE DEPARTMENT MOVES FORWARD.
"After this retreat, me and my staff get together and we'll come up with new initiatives for this year. We have a five year plan that we implemented two years ago and we're gonna follow the guidelines we put forth."
BURNS SAYS HIS DEPARTMENT HAS DONE WELL THIS PAST YEAR WITH SOLVING CRIMES.
OUT OF THE LAST 40 HOMICIDES IN THE CITY OF MACON.....HE SAYS INVESTIGATORS HAVE SOLVED 36.


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    THANKS FOR JOINING US.... FIRST MORNIN COMES YOUR WAY AT 5 A-M.
   THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
 ON LETTERMAN TONIGHT: BETTY WHITE AND THE KARDASHIAN SISTERS.
 HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.


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