Wednesday, January 26, Eyewitness News at 11

11:41 PM, Jan 26, 2011   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US... I'M FRANK MALLOY.


  THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.


       THE ANNUAL REPORT ON CRIME IN BIBB COUNTY IS IN... AND THE NUMBERS ARE UP... 
        ACCORDING TO THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE.... CRIME INCREASED BY MORE THAN FIVE PERCENT IN 2010... THATS ABOUT TWO PERCENT MORE THAN THE INCREASE IN 2009... BUT AS ELEANOR LISSITZYN EXPLAINS BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF JERRY MODENA SAYS THAT JUST MOTIVATES HIS OFFICE TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS AND WORK HARDER.
"I like to see minuses... that puts it in perspective."
BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF JERRY MODENA  SAYS WITH A SHORT STAFFED OFFICE AND A GROWING POPULATION TO POLICE... THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE IS HAVING TO DO MORE WITH LESS THESE DAYS...  BUT HE SAYS THE FIVE POINT THREE PERCENT RISE IN CRIME OVER THE PAST YEAR HAS ONLY SERVED TO MOTIVATE THE DEPUTIES HE DOES HAVE TO WORK HARDER...
"Even that five point three.. that means that something was stolen... something was taken...some crime was committed." M3 :28
THE CRIME STATISTICS FOR 2010 SHOW THAT WHILE FEWER CRIMES WERE COMMITTED AGAINST PEOPLE... MORE CRIMES WERE COMMITTED AGAINST PROPERTY...
"
THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE REPORTED FIVE FEWER RAPES... FOUR FEWER AGGRAVATED ASSAULTS... EIGHTEEN FEWER PERSONAL ROBBERIES AND ONE LESS HOMICIDE IN 2010....
"It says plain that the Bibb County Sheriff's Office is doing what it's supposed to and that's protecting and serving."
BUT IN MANY INSTANCES... PROPERTY CRIMES ROSE SIGNIFICANTLY...
 BIG SCREEN TELEVISIONS... CARS... AND SCRAP METAL WERE ALL BIG TICKET ITEMS FOR THIEVES IN 2010 ACCORDING TO THE REPORT...
THE NUMBERS SHOW THIRTY SIX MORE RESIDENTIAL BURGLARIES OCCURED IN 2010 THAN 2009... AS WELL AS THIRTY THREE MORE AUTO THEFTS... AND SEVEN MORE COMMERCIAL ROBBERIES.... 
THE BIGGEST JUMP WAS IN GENERAL THEFTS... WITH AN INCREASE OF ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THREE CASES... WHICH MODENA ATTRIBUTES LARGELY TO THE TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY REPORTED METAL THEFTS IN 2010...
"If we had not had those metal thefts there you're talking about a 5.3 could have been very close to zero" M1 4:58
MODENA WOULDN'T SAY WHAT EFFECT THE REPORT WILL HAVE ON THE WAY THEY INVESTIGATE CRIMES IN 2011... ONLY THAT THEY WOULD BE MAKING ADJUSTMENTS TO THEIR TACTICS... 


STD
     FOR A COMPLETE BREAKDOWN OF THE COUNTY'S CRIME STATISTICS... LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON OUR HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.


     THE HEAD OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SAYS THE AGENCY TRIED TO HEAD OFF A COMPUTER GLITCH THAT REMOVED TAX REFUNDS FROM THE BANK ACCOUNTS OF MORE THAN 30 THOUSAND TAXPAYERS OVER THE WEEKEND BEFORE PAYMENTS WERE PROCESSED.
      COMMISSIONER DOUG MAC-GINNITIE SAYS THE DEPARTMENT ISSUED ABOUT 12 MILLION DOLLARS IN TAX REFUNDS LATE LAST WEEK... THEN REALIZED THEY'D PAID OUT ABOUT 630 THOUSAND DOLLARS TOO MUCH.
      THE AGENCY TRIED TO REVERSE THE PAYMENTS... AND THOUGHT THAT IT HAD STOPPED THE DEPOSITS FROM BEING MADE.
      ON MONDAY... THEY REALIZED THAT THOSE PAYMENTS HAD BEEN PROCESSED AND REVERSED... LEAVING MANY GEORGIANS FACING OVERDRAFT FEES.
      MAC-GINNITIE SAYS THE INCIDENT BROUGHT UP SOME ISSUES THE DEPARTMENT NEEDS TO FIX.
"Clearly, from our perspective, we need to work to make the Department of Revenue more customer-focused and I assumed that's why the governor asked me to take this job a couple of weeks ago."
     MAC-GINNITIE SAYS THE REVENUE DEPARTMENT IS REPROCESSING THE REFUNDS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE... AND IS WORKING WITH THE BANKS OF AFFECTED TAXPAYERS TO WAIVE OVERDRAFT FEES.


    MACON'S AUDIT NUMBERS ARE OUT FOR THE 2010 FISCAL YEAR... AND CITY OFFICIALS SAY IT CONTAINS GOOD NEWS.
     CITY COUNCIL APPROPRIATIONS CHAIRMAN MIKE CRANFORD SAYS THE CITY RECEIVED A CLEAN OPINION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SEVEN YEARS.
     CRANFORD SAYS THAT'S THE BEST TYPE OF OPINION AN AUDITOR CAN ISSUE.... AND MEANS THE AUDIT SUBMITTED TO THE STATE ACCURATELY REFLECTS THE CITY'S FINANCIAL SITUATION.
    THE DOCUMENT SAYS JOB CUTS AND CHANGES TO THE CITY'S HEALTH CARE PLAN HELPED REDUCE CITY EXPENSES BY MORE THAN FOUR MILLION DOLLARS.
     THE COST-CUTTING AND A RISE IN PROPERTY TAX REVENUE ADDED NEARLY FOUR MILLION DOLLARS TO THE FUND USED TO PAY THE CITY'S DAILY OPERATING EXPENSES.
     CRANFORD SAYS THE OPINION IS A HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT FOR THE CITY.
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 DOESN'T MEAN THERE WERE NO PROBLEMS.
     THE AUDITOR FOUND 52 AREAS THAT NEED IMPROVEMENT.
     CRANFORD SAYS THAT'S ESPECIALLY DISTURBING BECAUSE MANY OF THOSE WERE REPEAT OFFENSES FROM LAST YEAR.
     THIS YEAR'S AUDIT CONTAINED 11 FEWER AREAS THAT NEEDED IMPROVEMENT THAN LAST YEAR'S.
     MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT DECLINED TO DISCUSS THE AUDIT UNTIL IT'S PRESENTED TO FULL COUNCIL NEXT MONTH. 


THE GEORGIA MUSIC HALL OF FAME AUTHORITY VOTED AGAINST A RECOMMENDATION TO KEEP THE HALL IN MACON.
THE BOARD RANKED EACH OF THE FOUR CITIES WHO APPLIED TO HAVE THE HALL OF FAME... MACON... ATHENS... DUNWOODY AND WOODSTOCK... BASED ON THEIR PROPOSALS LAST WEEK.
HALL OF FAME INCORPORATED CHAIRMAN MIKE DYER SAYS MACON HAD THE MOST POINTS.
HOWEVER, HE SAID THE BOARD VOTED SIX TO THREE AGAINST ITS OWN RECOMMENDATION.
NOW... THE BOARD WILL TALK WITH THE GOVERNOR AND ATTORNEY GENEREAL FOR ADVICE ON THEIR NEXT STEP.
THEIR OPTIONS COULD INCLUDE SEEKING NEW BIDS.

      A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR WON'T PRESS CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST A BIBB COUNTY DEPUTY ACCUSED OF LYING UNDER OATH.
  CRAIG FRASER.. DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR THE DUBLIN JUDICIAL CIRCUIT.. SAYS HE AND TWO ASSISTANTS REVIEWED DEPUTY ALLIE SECKINGER'S CASE.. AND FOUND INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO PRESS PERJURY CHARGES.
  IN A NEWS RELEASE.. FRASER SAID THE FOCUS ON THE CRIME OF PERJURY IS ON THE DEFENDANT'S STATE OF MIND AT THE TIME THE STATEMENT WAS MADE.. NOT ON THE TRUTH OR FALSITY OF THE STATEMENT.
  HE ADDED THERE WAS REASONABLE DOUBT THAT SECKINGER LIED INTENTIONALLY.
  SECKINGER ALLEGEDLY THREATENED TO HAVE D-FACS TAKE A POTENTIAL WITNESS' CHILD IF THE WITNESS DIDN'T TALK ABOUT AN ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY AT AN ARBY'S RESTAURANT.
  COURT RECORDS SHOW THAT SECKINGER TESTIFIED THAT SHE DIDN'T MENTION DFCS UNTIL AFTER THE WITNESS TALKED.
  BECAUSE OF THE PERJURY CHARGE.. .. THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE DISMISSED SEVERAL CASES LAST YEAR THAT SECKINGER WAS INVOLVED IN.


ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE SAYS IT EXPECTS ITS AIR LOGISTICS CENTER TO BE CITED WITH DOZENS OF SAFETY VIOLATIONS... AND IT'S WORKING WITH OSHA TO CORRECT THEM.
BASE OFFICIALS SAY THEY'VE RECEIVED OFFICIAL NOTICE OF NEARLY 30 VIOLATIONS... AND ANTICIPATE GETTING 20 MORE BY EARLY FEBRUARY.
OSHA DOCUMENTS SHOW THEY RANGE FROM INSUFFICIENT INJURY PREVENTION AND REPORTING ... TO OVEREXPOSURE TO CANCER-CAUSING AGENTS .
THEY CALL MOST "SERIOUS" VIOLATIONS.
COMMANDER ROBERT MCMAHON SAYS NO ONE GROUP WAS AT FAULT... 
INSTEAD HE SAYS... THE BASE'S STANDARDS -- SPECIFICALLY FOR CHEMICAL TESTING -- WERE NOT IN LINE WITH OSHA'S.
HE SAYS IT'LL TAKE MONTHS TO THOROUGHLY CORRECT THE PROBLEMS.. BUT HE SAYS WORK AREAS ARE SAFE UNTIL THEN.
Maj. Gen. Robert McMahon "quite frankly if it's not then what we'll do is shut down operations in that area and move it someplace else."
OSHA DOCUMENTS SAY SOME CHEMICAL-EXPOSURE VIOLATIONS MUST BE CORRECTED BY APRIL... OTHERS BY OCTOBER.
INJURY PREVENTION AND REPORTING ISSUES MUST BE CORRECTED BY FEBRUARY.
THE CITATIONS COME JUST 9 MONTHS AFTER THE BASE WAS CITED FOR 13 VIOLATIONS ALSO CENTERED ON CHEMICAL-EXPOSURE.


THE HAWKINSVILLE FAMILY WHO LOST THEIR HOME IN A FIRE IN EARLY DECEMBER... RETURNS TO CENTRAL GEORGIA.
THAT'S AFTER TWO OF THE CHILDREN SPENT MORE THAN A MONTH AT THE SHRINER'S HOSPTIAL IN OHIO FOR SEVERE BURNS.
SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD DOUG HOWARD SAY IT WASN'T UNTIL HE ESCAPED THE BURNING MOBILE HOME... THAT HE REALIZED HIS THIRTEEN YEAR OLD SISTER WAS TRAPPED INSIDE.
HE RE-ENTERED THE HOME THROUGH HER BEDROOM WINDOW... AND GOT HER OUT... BUT HE SAYS IT WAS A FAMILY EFFORT... AND HE DOESN'T CONSIDER HIMSELF.. A HERO.
Doug Howard, Hawkinsville: "I'm not really amazed at myself, because in all honesty, under worse circumstances, she would've done the same for me."
THE SOUTHERN HILLS PRO SHOP IS SPONSORING A GOLF TOURNAMENT... TO RAISE MONEY FOR THE FAMILY AS THEY SEARCH FOR A NEW PLACE TO CALL HOME.
IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN JOINING THAT TOURNAMENT... YOU CAN CALL 478-783-0600.
AGAIN... THAT NUMBER... 478-783-0600.


A FEDERAL AGENCY SAYS GEORGIA MILITARY COLLEGE IN MILLEDGEVILLE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST A BLACK EMPLOYEE. 
THE U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION FILED A LAWSUIT LAST THURSDAY SAYING THE SCHOOL SUBJECTED SOLOMON MOSLEY.. A GROUNDSKEEPER.. TO A HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT FOR FOUR YEARS. 
THE SUIT CLAIMS THAT MOSLEY'S SUPERVISOR REGULARLY USED RACIAL INSULTS AGAINST HIM AND OTHER BLACK WORKERS.
ACCORDING TO THE SUIT... MOSLEY'S BOSS USED THOSE RACIAL SLURS OVER THE COLLEGE'S RADIO SYSTEM SO THEY WERE HEARD BY OTHER EMPLOYEES.
MOSLEY COMPLAINED TO SCHOOL OFFICIALS, BUT THEY FAILED TO ACT AND WOULDN'T LET MOSLEY TRANSFER TO A DIFFERENT DEPARTMENT.
MOSLEY WORKED FULL-TIME FOR THE COLLEGE FROM 2003 UNTIL BEING FIRED IN 2007, ACCORDING TO THE SUIT.
THE FEDERAL LAWSUIT ASKS THE COLLEGE TO PAY BACK-PAY AND OTHER PENALTIES.
G-M-C RELEASED A STATEMENT SAYING THEY WON'T COMMENT...BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT BEEN OFFICIALLY NOTIFIED OF THE SUIT.


     TODAY... PRESIDENT OBAMA BEGAN SELLING THE PLAN HE LAID OUT IN LAST NIGHT'S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS.
     AND OUR 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS...
   HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE STATE OF THE UNION?
    SO FAR... 13 PERCENT SAY IT'S EXCELLENT
    10 PERCENT THINK IT'S GOOD.
    26 PERCENT SAY THE STATE OF THE UNION IS FAIR
    AND 51 PERCENT SAY IT'S POOR.
    TO CAST YOUR VOTE.. VISIT OUR WEBSITE.. 13WMAZ DOT COM.
    LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE


       13WMAZ HAS MORE THAN 12 THOUSAND FANS ON FACEBOOK.
      WE WANT YOU TO KNOW HOW MUCH WE APPRECIATE THAT... SO EVERY NIGHT... WE'RE FEATURING ONE OF YOU AS OUR FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY.
      TONIGHT'S WINNER...
    ....NANCY SWANN
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      THEN... JUST JOIN THE CONVERSATIONS.
      WE PICK OUR FAN OF THE DAY RANDOMLY.


A YEAR AFTER BIBB COUNTY'S LIBRARY SYSTEM RECEIVED GRANT MONEY TO MAKE UPGRADES... ITS DIRECTOR SAYS THEY'VE REACHED THE PROJECT'S FINAL STAGES. THE KNIGHT FOUNDATION AND OTHER GROUPS GAVE WASHINGTON MEMORIAL PUBLIC LIBRARY IN DOWNTOWN MACON... NEARLY ONE MILLION DOLLARS TO IMPROVE COMPUTER ACCESS AND MORE.
LIBRARY DIRECTOR THOMAS JONES SAYS BIDDING FOR CONTRACTORS AND DESIGNING UPGRADES LIKE NEW ELECTRICAL WIRING TOOK LONGER THAN EXPECTED.
HE SAYS THE LIBRARY WILL HAVE WIRELESS INTERNET... FOUR TIMES MORE COMPUTERS THAN BEFORE
...AND A TEACHING STATION... FOR FREE CLASSES ON HOW TO USE COMPUTERS.
Thomas Jones, Director, Middle Ga. Regional Library System: " We feel there's a need that needs to be met and since we serve that sector of the population, we want to make them get the most out of their internet use."
THOMAS JONES SAYS THE RENOVATIONS SHOULD BE FINISHED IN THREE MONTHS.
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.


       WE'RE SHARING YOUR PET PALS PHOTOS....
   HERE'S SMORES... WHO PLAYS THE TAMBOURINE... BUT ONLY WHEN NO ONE'S WATCHING.
    HERE'S BUDDY... HE LIKES TO SLEEP IN VERY STRANGE POSES.
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS...LOOK FOR *PHOTO GALLERIES* IN THE MENU BAR ACROSS THE TOP OF OUR HOMEPAGE...
































































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