HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US. I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
LEAH JOHNSON HAS THE NIGHT OFF.
TODAY IS GREAT HANG UP DAY ON EYEWITNESS NEWS..A DAY DEVOTED TO KEEPING YOU SAFER WHILE YOU'RE BEHIND THE WHEEL..
ITS BEEN ABOUT SIX MONTHS... SINCE POUNDING ON THE KEYBOARD WHILE DRIVING... COULD HIT YOU IN YOUR WALLET.
LAST YEAR... FORMER GOVERNOR SONNY PERDUE SIGNED THE LAW... THAT BANS ANYONE FROM TEXTING WHILE DRIVING.
IT TOOK EFFECT JULY FIRST.
BUT THE CHANCES YOU COULD GET FINED... MAY BE SLIM.
BOFTA YIMAM EXPLAINS WHY SOME AGENCIES HAVEN'T CITED ANYONE... AND SPOKE WITH ONE OF THE BILL'S SPONSORS... ABOUT HOW HE FEELS IT MEASURES UP.
NATS Capt. Spires "The busiest intersection"
16 YEARS WORKING BALDWIN COUNTY'S STREETS...
CAPTAIN CHRIS SPIRES KNOWS HOW TO SPOT LAW-BREAKERS... WELL... MOST OF THEM.
"it's hard to enforce that law"
HE CALLS PINNING-DOWN THOSE WHO TEXT BEHIND THE WHEEL... DIFFICULT.
Capt. Chris Spires,
"We've written no citations, we have given some warnings."
UNLESS THERE'S AN ACCIDENT... SPIRES SAYS THEY'LL LIKELY GIVE A WARNING... PART OF AN EFFORT TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC. BUT HE SAYS EVEN THE NUMBER OF WARNINGS... IS SLIM--
"haven't seen anybody blatantly texting while they're driving."
BUT IF THEY DO SEE IT... OR AN INCREASE IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS LINKED TO TEXTING... THEN HE SAYS THEY'LL START CITING DRIVERS. THE CAPTAIN SAYS HE NOTICED MORE VIOLATORS BEFORE THE BAN... AND SAYS THE LAW... SEEMED TO DETER PHONE-FIDDLING DRIVERS.
Bofta Yimam, Eyewitness News
"Bibb and Houston County Sheriff's Office along with Macon police say they've issued two citations each. Other Central Georgia law enforcement agencies, including Jones, Crawford, Laurens County Sheriff's Office's and Warner Robins police say they've issued none... since they haven't seen anyone texting behind the wheel.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN PEAKE CO-SPONSORED THE NO TEXTING WHILE DRIVING LAW. HE SAYS THE NUMBER OF CITATIONS GIVEN OUT MAY NOT REPRESENT THE LAW'S IMPACT.
"Folks I know say 'it has made me think twice about texting while driving' and we'll never know how many lives that'll save but it's clear that it has helped change behavior."
PEAKE SAYS IT MAY TAKE TIME TO SEE THE BENEFITS... BUT ADMITS THAT SOME WILL LIKELY CONTINUE TO SPELL OUT THEIR CONVERSATIONS.
"people who want to text are going to do it no matter what."
LIKE ANY OTHER CITATION... CAPTAIN SPIRES SAYS THEY MUST HAVE PROBABLE CAUSE BEFORE CITING SOMEONE.
"you would have to know for one, that they weren't just scrolling through their phone and two, know they just weren't looking for a phone number."
Standup: Bofta Yimam
"Spires says deputies need to be sure you're texting to give you a ticket and in order to go through your phone, he says they need a search warrant... which could cost time and money for the misdemeanor citation."
PEAKE SAYS THEY'RE NOT LOOKING TO PUSH FOR GETTING RID OF CELL PHONE USE FOR DRIVERS ALL TOGETHER. THE LEGISLATOR SAYS THEY PLAN TO KEEP ON SENDING THE FIRST MESSAGE... OF NO T-W-D... OR NO TEXTING WHILE DRIVING... FIRST.
SOME CENTRAL GEORGIANS SAY THEY RARELY OR DON'T TEXT AT ALL... BUT GLAD THE LAW IS IN PLACE TO CURB OTHERS FROM DISTRACTED DRIVING.
"I encourage a lot of people to not text while drive because you putting people's lives in danger."
"The law is is like a reminder."
"I don't need anybody telling me not to text and drive down the road at the same time, I already know not to do that."
BOFTA YIMAM 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS
MANY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES GAVE A ONE-MONTH GRACE PERIOD AFTER THE LAW PASSED IN JULY... TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC.
VIOLATORS COULD FACE A ONE-HUNDRED-50-DOLLAR FINE.
ANOTHER LAW THEN-GOVERNOR PERDUE SIGNED LAST SUMMER... BANNED DRIVERS UNDER 18... FROM USING CELL PHONES BEHIND THE WHEEL.
WE WANT YOU TO PLEDGE NOT TO USE YOUR CELL PHONE WHILE YOU'RE DRIVING.
JUST LOOK FOR THE GREAT HANG UP BANNER AT THE TOP OF OUR HOMEPAGE... AND CLICK THERE TO SIGN THE PLEDGE.
ONCE YOU'VE JOINED... SEND US AN EMAIL TO EYEWITNESS-NEWS AT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND TELL US WHY YOU SIGNED... AND WE MIGHT FEATURE YOU ON OUR GREAT HANG UP DAY HERE ON EYEWITNESS NEWS.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS... SHOULD THE STATE BAN ALL CELL PHONE USE BY DRIVERS?
SO FAR 52 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.
AND 48 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
VOTE RIGHT NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.
A COMPUTER GLITCH IS PULLING BACK STATE TAX REFUNDS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN DEPOSITED IN PEOPLE'S ACCOUNTS.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE.
SEVERAL CENTRAL GEORGIANS CONTACTED 13WMAZ THIS WEEK TO SAY THEY RECEIVED REFUNDS BY DIRECT DEPOSIT BUT THE REFUNDS THEN DISAPPEARED.
THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SAYS THEY FOUND A PROGRAMMING ERROR THAT AFFECTED PEOPLE'S REFUNDS...SO THEY ISSUED A STOP PAYMENT ORDER.
THEY SAY THE ERROR HAS BEEN FIXED AND THE MONEY WILL BE ISSUED.
BUT SPOKESMAN REG LANSBERRY SAYS THE GLITCH PROBABLY AFFECTED THOUSANDS OF GEORGIANS.
A MACON MAN ACCUSED OF SHOOTING HIS WIFE TO DEATH TWO YEARS AGO...THEN SHOOTING HIMSELF IN THE HEAD...DIED TODAY WHILE AWAITING TRIAL.
THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT SAYS 71-YEAR-OLD JAMES MULLIS DIED THIS AFTERNOON AT THE MEDICAL CENTER OF CENTRAL GEORGIA AFTER A LONG-TERM ILLNESS.
POLICE SAID HE KILLED HIS WIFE....BETTY MULLIS IN JANUARY 2009...THEN TURNED THE GUN ON HIMSELF.
HE SPENT THE LAST TWO YEARS IN JAIL...CHARGED WITH FELONY MURDER. THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAID A COURT DATE WAS SCHEDULED FOR NEXT MONTH.
GEORGIA'S GENERAL ASSEMBLY COULD TAKE UP A BILL THAT WOULD LET CITIES DECIDE WHETHER TO SELL ALCOHOL ON SUNDAY.
THE BILL FILED IN THE STATE SENATE WOULD ALLOW VOTERS IN EACH COMMUNITY DECIDE WHETHER TO ALLOW SUNDAY SALES.
GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL SAID IF IT ENDS UP ON HIS DESK... HE'LL SIGN IT.
GEORGIA IS ONE OF THREE STATES THAT BAN THE SUNDAY SALE OF ALCOHOL AT STORES.
WE ASKED OUR FACEBOOK FANS WHETHER THEY THOUGHT SUNDAY SALES SHOULD BE ALLOWED.
ONE PERSON WROTE... "DRINKING ALCOHOL IS A CHOICE. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BUY OR CONSUME ALCOHOL ON SUNDAYS THEN DON'T, BUT DON'T RUIN IT FOR THOSE WHO DO WANT TO."
SOMEONE ELSE COMMENTED... "I KNOW ALOT OF MY FRIENDS WOULD DISAGREE, BUT NO, I DO NOT THINK THERE SHOULD BE ALCOHOL SALES ON SUNDAY.. IF YOU WANT IT THAT BADLY GET IT ON SATURDAY AND WAIT TO DRINK IT."
A THIRD PERSON WROTE.."NO...SUNDAY NEEDS TO BE KEPT AS THE LORD'S DAY. ENOUGH HAS CHANGED TO SUIT THE NONBELIEVERS."
AND SOMEONE ELSE HAD THIS TO SAY: "YES, ITS RIDICULOUS THAT RELIGION IS THE REASON FOR NO SALES ON SUNDAY. THESE ARE TWO COMPLETELY SEPARATE TOPICS."
JOIN US ON FACEBOOK AND LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.
JUST VISIT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ... CLICK THE "LIKE" BUTTON TO BECOME A FAN... AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION.
YOU MIGHT EVEN BE OUR "FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY."
GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL SAYS HE'LL SUPPORT FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH IF HE RUNS FOR PRESIDENT NEXT YEAR.
DEAL SAYS HE MET BRIEFLY WITH GINGRICH LAST WEEK...
THE TWO REPRESENTED GEORGIA IN THE U-S HOUSE AT THE SAME TIME.
"He of course is a long time friend and supporter of my efforts to become the Governor of this state and I think it's no secret that he is making exploratory actions to determine whether or not he is going to pursue the presidency of the United States and we talked briefly about that."
GINGRICH SAYS HE'S STILL DECIDING WHETHER TO RUN FOR THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION.
HE SAYS HE WILL DECIDE BY THE END OF FEBRUARY WHETHER TO LAUNCH AN EXPLORATORY CAMPAIGN AND WILL ANNOUNCE HIS DECISION IN EARLY MARCH.
THE G-B-I HAS IDENTIFIED A MAN WHO WAS SHOT AND KILLED BY A HOUSTON COUNTY DEPUTY YESTERDAY.
A NEWS RELEASE SAYS 19-YEAR-OLD ROBERT KENDRICK CHAMBERS IS THE BURGLARY SUSPECT KILLED AFTER A SCUFFLE WITH DEPUTY STEVE GLIDDEN. TODAY'S AUTOPSY SAYS HE DIED FROM A SINGLE GUNSHOT WOUND TO THE HEAD.
THEY'RE STILL AWAITING TOXICOLOGY TESTS ON CHAMBERS... WHICH COULD TAKE WEEKS OR MONTHS.
THE GBI SAYS GLIDDEN... A FIVE-YEAR VETERAN OF THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT... SHOT CHAMBERS AFTER THE SUSPECT PULLED A GUN.
A GROUP AT WARNER ROBINS MIDDLE IS TRYING TO MAKE THEIR SCHOOL A BETTER PLACE TO LEARN BY SAYING NO TO BULLYING AND NAME CALLING.
THE GROUP SOURCES OF STRENGTH KICKED OFF THEIR "NO NAME CALLING" WEEK ON MONDAY...
AMY AUBERT TELLS US THE GROUP WANTS TO CHANGE THEIR SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY IN A POSITIVE WAY.<<
Raquel Christian "Oh your ugly, you think you are so pretty and your ugly nobody likes you"
RAQUEL CHRISTIAN SAYS WORDS CAN HURT.
Raquel Christian "There are some of my friends that have been hurt and I'm always telling them don't worry about it, they obviously can't find anything better to do but pick on you"
8TH GRADE PEER LEADER... CHRISTIAN SAYS THEIR GROUP "SOURCES OF STRENGTH" TRIES TO HELP FELLOW STUDENTS GET HELP WHEN THEY'RE BEING BULLIED.
Nats of Stapling
THEY MADE A BULLETIN BOARD TO SHOW PLEDGES SIGNED BY STUDENTS WHO SAY THEY WILL REFRAIN FROM NAME CALLING AND BULLYING.
Peer Leader "You don't have to make fun of anybody for everybody to know that you are cool. You have to be nice to everyone and treat people like you want to be treated.
THEY WANT STUDENTS TO KNOW THAT THEY CAN TURN TO A FRIEND FOR HELP.
Stephane Boatwright, 8th Grade "There are other students they can talk to and not just the adults and it just trains us for in the future"
Ashley Godfrey, 8th Grade "Some kids don't like to talk to adults they rather talk to their peers the ones they feel more comfortable with"
Nats of Kameyan Smith
(KAY-ME-IN) KAMEYAN SIMMS...who's working with the board of education under a suicide-prevention grant.... SAYS THE WEEK IS GEARED AT REDUCING the SUICIDE rate NATIONALLY AND PUTTING A STOP TO BULLYING.
Kameyan Smith "We work with them on working together, we also work with reducing the code of silence that revolve around suicide and teaching the students multiple skills, coping skills as well as sources of strength"
Nats of Students
CHRISTIAN SAYS SHE HOPES STUDENTS TAKE NO NAME CALLING WEEK SERIOUSLY.
Raquel Christian "Some students will act like they don't care about people picking on them, but inside they really do hurt and that happening is what is causing students not to come to schools, not to interact with everybody and it just puts them down.
SOURCES OF STRENGTH IS A NATIONAL GRANT FUNDED PROGRAM THROUGH THE GARRETT LEE SMITH GRANT THAT WORKS WITH THE COMMUNITY TO HELP PREVENT SUICIDE.
KAMEYAN SIMMS SAYS THEY ARE IMPLEMENTIG THIS PROGRAM AT TWO SCHOOLS IN HOUSTON COUNTY... WARNER ROBINS MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOLS BUT THEY ARE IN THE WORKS TO BRANCH OUT TO OTHER SCHOOLS IN THE AREA.
A CENTRAL GEORGIA TEENAGER EARNS HIS STRIPES AS A BOY SCOUT
AND ITS A STORY THAT WE BRING YOU STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART.
TEVIN GREEN WITH THE BELLVUE BOY SCOUT TROOP GOT HIS EAGLE SCOUT BADGE FOR HIS BUS STOP PROJECT ON MUMFORD ROAD. GREEN CAME UP WITH THE SHELTER IDEA AFTER SEEING A WOMAN WAITING FOR THE BUS IN THE RAIN.
GREEN HELPED GATHER THE MATERIALS FROM BUSINESSES AROUND MACON.... FROM THE CONCRETE TO THE TOOLS AND BENCH AND SHELTER MATERIALS.
HE SAYS HE HOPES THE PROJECT WILL INSPIRE OTHERS.
Maybe people will look at my project and decide to build a shelter so that they can make their community alittle bit better.
TEVIN IS THE FIFTH EAGLE SCOUT AT HIS BELLEVUE TROOP SINCE 1995.
OUR PHOTO GALLERIES ON 13WMAZ DOT COM ARE FILLING UP WITH ALL SORTS OF PHOTOS FROM YOU... LET'S SHARE SOME PET PAL PHOTOS.
HERE'S NOAH... HE LIKES TO COZY UP WITH THE PILLOWS WHEN NO ONE IS AROUND THE CUDDLE.
AND THE CAPTION ON THIS PHOTO SAYS "HARVEY FITS RIGHT IN!"
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