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Wednesday, January 26, Eyewitness News at 6

11:41 PM, Jan 26, 2011   |    comments
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     HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.  I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
   LEAH JOHNSON HAS THE NIGHT OFF.


    CRIME IN UNINCORPORATED BIBB COUNTY....ROSE FIVE PERCENT LAST YEAR.
    THAT'S ACCORDING TO NUMBERS JUST RELEASED BY THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT.
     THE BIGGEST JUMPS ...
     COMMERCIAL ROBBERIES....UP 37 PERCENT
     AUTO THEFTS...UP 17 PERCENT....
     AND OTHER THEFTS...UP 16 PERCENT.
THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT SAYS ARSON...AGGRAVATED ASSAULTS...AND COMMERCIAL BURGLARIES...ALLL TRENDED DOWN LAST YEAR.
BUT THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT SAYS THE BIGGEST FACTOR WAS THE INCREASE IN THEFTS...ESPECIALLY COPPER THEFTS.
THE NUMBERS COVER CRIME....OUTSIIDE THE MACON CITY LIMITS.
MACON POLICE SAY THEIR NUMBERS FOR 2010....ARE NOT FINAL YET.
WE'LL HAVE MORE ON THIS STORY ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.


THE GEORGIA MUSIC HALL OF FAME AUTHORITY VOTED AGAINST A RECOMMENDATION TO KEEP THE HALL IN MACON.
MIKE DYER... CHAIRMAN OF HALL OF FAME INC.... SAYS THE BOARD VOTED SIX TO THREE AGAINST THEIR OWN RECOMMENDATION. 
THE THREE BOARD MEMBERS FROM MACON...VOTED TO KEEP THE MUSEUM HERE IN TOWN.
THE BOARD RANKED EACH OF THE FOUR CITIES...MACON....WOODSTOCK....ATHENS AND DUNWOODY.... BASED ON THEIR PROPOSALS LAST WEEK.
DYER SAYS MACON HAD THE MOST POINTS..
NOW THE BOARD WILL SPEAK TO THE GOVERNOR AND ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR ADVICE ON WHAT TO DO NEXT.
THEIR OPTIONS COULD INCLUDE...SEEKING NEW BIDS.
OFFICIALS WITH THE MUSIC HALL OF FAME...DID NOT RETURN OUR PHONE CALLS THIS AFTERNOON.


LEADERSHIP AT ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE SAYS THEY'RE WORKING WITH A FEDERAL AGENCY TO CORRECT DOZENS OF SAFETY VIOLATIONS THE AIR LOGISTICS CENTER EXPECTS TO BE CITED FOR.
THE BASE SAYS THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION HAS SENT THEM OFFICIAL NOTICE OF NEARLY 30 VIOLATIONS... AND THEY EXPECT TO  GET NOTICE OF 20 MORE BY EARLY FEBRUARY.
VANESSA RUFFES EXPLAINS WHAT THE MAIN SAFETY PROBLEMS ARE... AND HOW BASE LEADERS SAY THEY ARE CORRECTING THEM.
<<
McMahon "These are events we've already begun to try and resolve..."


WARNER ROBINS AIR LOGISTICS CENTER COMMANDER ROBERT MCMAHON SAYS THEY'VE STARTED FIXING DOZENS OF SAFETY VIOLATIONS IN THEIR MAINTENANCE WING... WHICH OSHA DISCOVERED BETWEEN JULY THROUGH THE BEGINNING OF THIS YEAR.


HE SAYS THE CENTER HAS GOTTEN OFFICIAL NOTICE OF TWENTY SEVEN ALREADY... WITH CITATIONS RANGING FROM INSUFFICIENT INJURY PREVENTION AND REPORTING ... TO OVEREXPOSURE TO CANCER-CAUSING AGENTS INCLUDING LEAD... CADMIUM... AND CHROMIUM. OSHA DOCUMENTS CALL MOST OF HTEM....SERIOUS VIOLATIONS.


Standup "The approximately 50 citations the center expects to receive come in addition to the 13 it already received in May."


MCMAHON SAYS THOSE PRIOR VIOLATIONS... ALSO CENTERED ON CHEMICAL EXPOSURE... AND HAVE BEEN FIXED OR ARE BEING FIXED. HE  -- HOWEVER -- SAYS OSHA.. HAS NOT GIVEN THE FINAL DECISION ON THAT.


"I believe that we are very close to the point where they acknowledge that they've accepted what it is that we have done or are telling them we are going to do."


HE SAYS NO ONE GROUP WAS AT FAULT FOR THE VIOLATIONS... 
BUT RATHER... THE BASE'S STANDARDS -- SPECIFICALLY FOR CHEMICAL TESTING -- WERE NOT IN LINE WITH OSHA'S... A DISCONNECT HE FEELS IS CORRECTED.


"The way that we sample, where we sample, how often we sample are part of this."


WHILE HE'D LIKE TO PHASE OUT THE HARMFUL CHEMICALS USED IN MAINTAINENCE -- IT'S A LONG-TERM PROCESS.
 HE SAYS... FOR NOW HE'S PROPOSING SHORT-TERM SOLUTIONS LIKE REDUCING AREAS WHERE THE CHEMICALS CAN BE USED... AND MAKING TEST RESULTS MORE AVAILABLE TO EMPLOYEES.


BUT HE SAYS EVEN THOSE SOLUTIONS COULD TAKE MONTHS TO IMPLEMENT... 


"(Off cam: Do you feel the working environments are safe until then?) I think -- Yes. The short answer is yes. And quite frankly if it's not then what we'll do is shut down operations in that area and move it someplace else."


VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> ACCORDING TO OSHA DOCUMENTS... FOR THE CHEMICAL-EXPOSURE VIOLATIONS... THE BASE HAS UNTIL APRIL TO CORRECT SOME... OCTOBER TO CORRECT OTHERS.
GENERAL INJURY PREVENTION AND REPORTING VIOLATIONS MUST BE CORRECTED BY FEBRUARY.
MCMAHON SAYS THEY'VE ASKED FOR EXTENSIONS ON SOME... TO ENSURE PROBLEMS ARE THOROUGHLY CORRECTED.


     A BIBB COUNTY DEPUTY ACCUSED OF LYING UNDER OATH WON'T FACE CRIMINAL CHARGES AFTER ALL.
  RANDALL SAVAGE TELLS US SPECIAL PROSECUTOR CRAIG FRASER SAYS THERE'S ISN'T ENOUGH  EVIDENCE TO PURSUE PERJURY CHARGES AGAINST DEPUTY ALLIE SECKINGER.
<<THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE CALLED FOR A G-B-I PROBE AFTER THE BIBB COUNTY DISTRICT'S OFFICE ACCUSED DEPUTY ALLIE SECKINGER OF MAKING A FALSE STATEMENT UNDER OATH.
  SECKINGER ALLEGEDLY THREATENED TO HAVE D-FACS TAKE A POTENTIAL WITNESS'S CHILD IF THE WOMAN DIDN'T TALK ABOUT AN ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY AT AN ARBY'S RESTAURANT.
   BIBB COUNTY COURT RECORDS SHOW THAT SECKINGER TESTIFIED THAT SHE DIDN'T MENTION D-FACS UNTIL AFTER THE WITNESS ALREADY TALKED.
  BUT A TAPE OF THE INTERVIEW PROVED THAT WAS WRONG.
  CRAIG FRASER.. DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR THE DUBLIN JUDICIAL CIRCUIT.. SAYS HE AND TWO ASISTANTS REVIEWED EVIDENCE IN THE CASE AND ALL THREE AGREE THERE WASN'T ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO PROSECUTE.


  IN A NEWS RELEASE.. FRASER SAYS THE FOCUS OF THE CRIME OF PERJURY DEPENDS ON THE DEFENDANT'S STATE OF MIND AT THE TIME THE STATEMENT WAS MADE....NOT ON THE TRUTH OR FALSITY OF THE STATEMENT.. HERE THERE IS REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE WITNESS INTENTIONALLY  MADE ANY FALSE STATEMENT.
  FRASE SAYS THAT'S ESPECIALLY TRUE SINCE SECKINGER KNEW HER INTERVIEW WITH THE WITNESS WAS BEING RECORDED.


  THIS FACT ALONE, THAT SECKINGER KNEW OF THE EXISTENCE  OF THE RECORDING.. WOULD BE ENOUGH TO GIVE PAUSE TO ANYONE INTENTIONALLY TESTIFYING FASLELY


  CONCERNING A MATTER ABOUT WHICH THEY KNEW THERE WAS AVAILABLE RECORDING THAT CONTAINED THE TRUTH, AND THAT SUCH RECORDING WOULD SOONER OR LATER COME TO LIGHT.
  SHERIFF JERRY MODENA SAYS HE HASN'T RECEIVED OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION OF FRASER'S FINDINGS.
  Jerry Modena, Bibb County Sheriff:


RANDALL SAVAGE.. 13 WMAZ.. EYEWITNESS NEWS.
 >>
  BECAUSE OF THE PERJURY CHARGE.. THE BIBB DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE DISMISSED SEVERAL CASES LAST YEAR THAT SECKINGER WAS INVOLVED IN.
  GREG WINTERS BECAME DISTRICT ATTORNEY THIS MONTH.. WINTERS DECLINED COMMENT ON THE SECKINGER CASE UNTIL HE SEES FRASER'S REPORT.


    THE CITY OF MACON PUBLISHED ITS AUDIT FOR  FISCAL YEAR 2010 AND THE BIG NEWS IS THAT IT'S GOOD NEWS...
    FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SEVEN YEARS THE CITY RECEIVED A CLEAN OPINION...
     THAT'S ACCORDING TO MACON CITY COUNCIL APPROPRIATION'S CHAIRMAN MIKE CRANFORD.
     HE SAYS THATS THE BEST TYPE OF OPINION AN AUDITOR CAN ISSUE.. 
     IT MEANS THE AUDIT SUBMITTED TO THE STATE ACCURATELY REFLECTS THE CITY'S FINANCIAL SITUATION..
    ACCORDING TO THE DOCUMENT... JOB CUTS AND CHANGES TO THE CITY'S HEALTHCARE PLAN... HELPED REDUCE THE CITY'S EXPENSES BY MORE THAN FOUR MILLION DOLLARS...
       THOSE COST CUTTING MEASURES... ALONG WITH A RISE IN PROPERTY TAX REVENUE ADDED NEARLY FOUR MILLION DOLLARS TO THE FUND USED TO PAY THE CITY'S DAY-TO-DAY OPERATING EXPENSES.
     CRANFORD SAYS THE CLEAN OPINION IS A HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT...
Mike Cranford: "It's a really big deal... in this economy it's a big deal. I can truthfull say in my heart anyway that I think the city is being more responsible with taxpayer dollars."
     A CLEAN OPINION DOES NOT MEAN THERE WEREN'T ANY PROBLEMS... THE AUDITOR FOUND FIFTY TWO AREAS THAT NEED IMPROVEMENT... CRANFORD SAYS THAT'S ESPECIALLY DISTURBING BECAUSE MANY OF THEM ARE REPEAT OFFENSES FROM LAST YEAR.
THIS YEARS AUDIT DID CONTAIN ELEVEN FEWER FINDINGS THAN LAST YEAR'S..
MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT DECLINED TO DISCUSS THE AUDIT...UNTIL IT'S PRESENTED TO THE FULL COUNCIL NEXT MONTH.


       LAST NIGHT... PRESIDENT OBAMA SPOKE TO THE NATION AND LAID OUT HIS PLAN IN THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS.
     POLITICAL ANALYST CLIF WILKINSON IS JOINING US NOW WITH HIS TAKE ON THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH.


ONE YEAR AFTER BIBB COUNTY'S LIBRARY SYSTEM RECEIVED GRANT MONEY TO MAKE UPGRADES... ITS DIRECTOR SAYS THEY'VE REACHED THE PROJECT'S FINAL STAGES.
LAST YEAR... THE KNIGHT FOUNDATION AND OTHER GROUPS GAVE WASHINGTON MEMORIAL PUBLIC LIBRARY IN DOWNTOWN MACON... NEARLY ONE MILLION DOLLARS TO IMPROVE COMPUTER ACCESS AND MORE.
LAUREN DISPIRITO SHOWS YOU WHY UPGRADES TOOK LONGER THAN EXPECTED... AND WHY SOME HOPE CHANGES MAKE THE LIBRARY A COMMUNITY HUB.
Pauline Rogers, Macon: "There's nothing like a book, to get my research, to get ideas, to get inspiration."


PAULINE ROGERS SAYS SHE'S A WRITER... SO YOU'LL OFTEN FIND HER BROWSING THE SHELVES AT MACON'S WASHINGTON MEMORIAL LIBRARY.


Pauline Rogers: I have a computer at home, my printer is not working so I use them to print


SHE SAYS WEAR AND TEAR ON THE HISTORIC BUILDING HAD STARTED TO SHOW.


It's good to keep it in shape because its a great area and there's lots of colleges in this spot


LAST WEEK... SOME SECTIONS CLOSED AS CREWS STARTED RENOVATIONS THAT PLANNERS INITIALLY SAID WOULD BE FINISHED LAST JUNE. 


Nats there will be three private study rooms


DIRECTOR THOMAS JONES SAYS BIDDING FOR CONTRACTORS AND ELECTRICAL UPGRADES TOOK LONGER THAN EXPECTED.


Thomas Jones, Director of Libraries for Middle GA Regional Library System: "designing the project, doing the bidding, getting the building ready


graphic
THE LIBRARY WILL HAVE WIRELESS INTERNET... AND TABLES FOR WIRED ACCESS.
A NEW TEEN AREA
FOUR TIMES MORE COMPUTERS THAN BEFORE
AND A TEACHING STATION... FOR FREE CLASSES ON HOW TO USE COMPUTERS AND SOFTWARE.


we have quite a few people in mid ga area who don't have access and use us for their internet access


JONES SAYS HE HOPES THE CHANGES REDUCE WAIT TIMES FOR COMPUTERS... AND MAKE THE LIBRARY AN COMMUNITY HUB FOR EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY.


we want to make them get the most out of their internet use and get the most information possible


ROGERS SAYS THE CHANGES COULD SHOW MORE PEOPLE WHAT THE LIBRARY HAS TO OFFER. 


Pauline Rogers: "Hopefully more students, hopefully more teachers will promote it for their students"


LAUREN DISPIRITO
13 WMAZ 
WITNESS NEWS
      THOMAS JONES SAYS THE RENOVATIONS SHOULD BE FINISHED IN THREE MONTHS.
HE SAYS THEY'LL KEEP MOST SECTIONS OPEN... BUT IN THE MEANTIME... HE ENCOURAGES FOLKS TO VISIT ONE OF BIBB COUNTY'S FOUR OTHER LIBRARY BRANCHES. 
VISIT OUR WEBSITE... 13 WMAZ DOT COM... FOR INFORMATION ON THOSE LOCATIONS.








































































































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