Wednesday, February 2, Eyewitness News at 11

11:28 PM, Feb 2, 2011   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY...
  THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.


    A DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF MACON MISSPENT ONE MILLION DOLLARS IN FEDERAL GRANT MONEY ACCORDING TO AN AUDIT OF HOW THE CITY'S GOVERNMENT SPENDS ITS TAX DOLLARS...
      LAST WEEK...WE TOLD YOU THE CITY GOT A CLEAN AUDIT FOR 2010....BECAUSE IT ACCURATELY REPORTED HOW THE MONEY WAS SPENT. 
     AND THAT'S TRUE.
    BUT TONIGHT WE HAVE NEW INFORMATION ON THAT AUDIT.
     ELEANOR LISSITZYN GOT A LOOK AT SOME NEW DOCUMENTS THAT AREN'T PART OF THE AUDIT POSTED ONLINE... 
SHE JOINS US NOW WITH MORE.
    PROBLEMS WITH THE CITY'S ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT  ARE MENTIONNED AT LEAST SEVEN TIMES IN THE CITY'S AUDIT ... 
     PERHAPS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FINDING IS THE REPORT THAT E-C-D MISPENT MORE THAN A MILLION DOLLRS IN FEDERAL GRANTS...BY USING THE MONEY TO MAINTAIN CURRENT CITY PROPERTY... INSTEAD OF USING IT TO BUILD OR RENOVATE...
     THE AUDIT SAYS THE DEPARTMENT MISSPENT HALF-MILLION DOLLARS IN FISCAL 2009... AND THEN DID IT AGAIN... MISSPENDING ANOTHER HALF A MILLION DOLLARS LAST YEAR...
     AND NOW...THE CITY WILL HAVE TO PAY IT BACK.
     THE REPORT ALSO SAYS ECD ENTERED INTO AGREEMENTS WITH BUILDERS... WITHOUT BIDDING OUT THE CONTRACTS...
ACCORDING TO THE AUDIT... CITY ORDINANCE SAYS ANY CONTRACT OVER TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS IS REQUIRED TO BE PUT UP FOR  BID....
BUT THAT APPARENTLY NEVER HAPPENED.
THE DOCUMENT SAYS ECD ENTERED INTO AGREEMENTS WITH CONTRACTORS TO BUILD AND RENOVATE HOUSES WITH OUT INFORMING CITY COUNCIL... OR FOLLOWING PROPER PROCEDURES...
ECD WAS ALSO CITED FOR ISSUES WITH THEIR PAY ROLL RECORDS... DEPARMENTS THAT RECEIVE FEDERAL GRANT MONEY ARE REQUIRED TO KEEP TRACK OF HOW MUCH TIME EACH EMPLOYEE SPENDS WORKING ON SPECIFIC PROJECTS...
THE AUDIT SAYS TIMESHEETS WERE EITHER INCOMPLETE... OR MISSING ALTOGETHER... MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE TO DETERMINE IF AN EMPLOYEE WAS EVEN AT WORK DURING A PARTICULAR TIME PERIOD...
    FRANK... LEAH? 
THE MAYOR'S OFFICE IS SCHEDULED TO OFFICIALLY PRESENT THE AUDIT TO CITY COUNCIL NEXT WEEK... 
CITY SPOKESMAN ANDREW BLASCOVICH SAYS OUT OF RESPECT FOR COUNCIL.....THE MAYOR'S OFFICE WON'T COMMENT ON THE AUDIT UNTIL THEN. 


BIBB COUNTY CORONER LEON JONES SAYS BONES FOUND LAST DECEMBER... HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED TODAY AS THE REMAINS OF A MISSING MACON WOMAN.
45-YEAR-OLD HILDA LOUISE COLLINS WAS FIRST IDENTIFIED THROUGH JEWELRY THAT DEPUTIES FOUND NEAR THE SCENE.
AS AMY AUBERT TELLS YOU... COLLINS' MOTHER... HARRIETT TAYLOR SAYS THE MONTHS OF NOT KNOWING WERE THE HARDEST FOR HER. 
<<
Harriett Taylor, Macon: "It's been such a struggle, not knowing. I've been struggling since November, really."


HARRIETT TAYLOR SAYS THE LAST TIME SHE SPOKE TO HER DAUGHTER... 45-YEAR-OLD HILDA LOUISE COLLINS... WAS NOVEMBER FIRST... SHE REPORTED HER MISSING... A LITTLE MORE THAN A MONTH LATER.


Harriett Taylor: "I told them, I said, 'somethin's not right,' because one thing, I don't see her everyday, but one thing, she will call me and let me know where she is."


ON DECEMBER 7TH... A DAY AFTER TAYLOR FILED THE MISSING PERSON'S REPORT... A MAN WALKING HIS DOG ON A PLEASANT HILL STREET... FOUND BONES... INCLUDING A SKULL... THAT ON WEDNESDAY... WERE IDENTIFIED AS BELONGING TO HILDA LOUISE COLLINS.


Harriett Taylor: "I was thinkin' about the last time I talked to her. And I was thinkin' about the condition they say the bones that they found, you know, 'we just found bones,' but I know I talked to my daughter November the 1st."


THE BONES WERE FIRST IDENTIFIED THROUGH JEWELRY THAT POLICE AND SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES FOUND NEARBY.
TAYLOR SAYS... AFTER SHE DESCRIBED HER DAUGHTER'S JEWELRY ALMOST PERFECTLY TO POLICE... SHE TOOK A D-N-A TEST THAT PROVED THE REMAINS WERE COLLINS'.


Harriett Taylor: "Just to find out definitely, just for them to confirm that, 'Miss Taylor, that was your child we found.' I just don't know what to do."


TAYLOR SAYS... SHE STILL HAS A LOT OF UNANSWERED QUESTIONS.


Harriet Taylor: "Was she killed? Or what happened? I really don't know."


AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS. 
>> COLLINS WORKED AS A CARETAKER AND HAS FOUR CHILDREN.. AGES... 25... 23.. 18... AND 15. 
THE TWO YOUNGEST KIDS... ARE LIVING WITH AN ADOPTED FAMILY IN MACON.
MACON POLICE ARE STILL INVESTIGATING...AND SAY COLLINS CAUSE OF DEATH IS NOT KNOWN.


GEORGIA VOTERS COULD DECIDE THIS YEAR WHETHER THEY WANT TO BUY ALCOHOL IN STORES ON SUNDAYS.
THE PROPOSAL IS HEADED TO THE SENATE FLOOR... AFTER IT BREEZED THROUGH A COMMITTEE TODAY.
BUT STILL...NOT EVERYONE'S IN FAVOR.
WARNER ROBINS' PASTOR MAX PATTERSON CALLS THE MOVE... AN INSULT TO THE LORD'S DAY AND THE CITY'S INTEGRITY.
HE SAYS HE'LL ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO VOTE "NO."
THE BILL'S SUPPORTER SAY THE ISSUE IS NOT A MORAL ONE... BUT A QUESTION OF ECONOMIC FAIRNESS... COMPETITION AND COMMON SENSE.  
PATTERSON SAYS THE INTERNATIONAL CITY HOLDS A STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE... AND SHOULD CONTINUE TO SET AN EXAMPLE.
Pastor Max Patterson, Warner Robins 
"Here is where that conviction of standards, of morals, of behavior and the things that are traditional to be kept in place comes into play."
THE PROPOSAL WOULD LET VOTERS DECIDE IN LOCAL REFERENDUMS... WHETHER THEY WANT SUNDAY ALCOHOL SALES BETWEEN 12-30 P-M AND 11-30 P-M.
IF IT MAKES IT TO THE LOCAL LEVEL... PATTERSON SAYS HE PLANS TO HELP TRANSPORT SENIOR CITIZENS TO THE POLLS....TO VOTE NO.
     TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... SHOULD GEORGIA RETAIL STORES BE ALLOWED TO SELL ALCOHOL ON SUNDAYS?
     SO FAR 58 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES.
     AND 42 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO.
     YOU HAVE UNTIL MIDNIGHT TO VOTE.
     LOOK FOR THE WEB POLL QUESTION ON THE BOTTOM RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE.


BIBB COUNTY COMMISSIONERS DECIDED AGAINST ALLOWING PLANES TO LAND AT LAKE TOBESOFKEE.
CHAIRMAN SAM HART SAYS THE COMMISSION IS STILL WORKING ON THE MASTER PLAN FOR THE LAKE... AND VOTED NOT TO ALLOW PLANES TO LAND THERE BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT SURE IF IT WOULD IMPACT THAT PLAN.
HART SAY THE COMMISSION COULD TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT THE ISSUE IN THE FUTURE.
A GROUP OF CITIZENS PETITIONED TO ALLOW FLOATPLANES AT THE LAKE SEVERAL MONTHS AGO.
HART SAYS MANY PEOPLE SHOWED UP TODAY TO VOICE THEIR OPINIONS FOR AND AGAINST THE IDEA.  


  ROBERT HARDEN EXPECTED TO DISCUSS HIS FORTY-ROOM RESERVATION WHEN HE STOPPED BY THE RAMADA INN IN DOWNTOWN MACON.
INSTEAD.. HARDEN FOUND A CLOSED SIGN AND A LOCKED DOOR.. AND THAT CONCERNED HARDEN.. WHO WORKS WITH THE AMERICAN CAMELLIA SOCIETY..
  THE SOCIETY HAD PLOPPED DOWN ALMOST SIXTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS TO RESERVE  ROOMS AND MEETING SPACE FOR A CONVENTION...IN THREE WEEKS.
  THE GENERAL MANAGER SAYS THEY HAVE NO HOT WATER...AND NEED TO REPAIR THE BOILER....BUT HE CAN'T SAY HOW LONG THAT WOULD TAKE.
  SO HARDEN'S NOW SEEKING OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS.
Robert Harden, Camellia Society: We do have some concerns, obviously. The hotel is apparently closed, the staff seems not to know when it might open or if it will open. So we're obviously now quickly casting about to make alternate arrangements.
  THE 16-STORY RAMADA WAS BUILT IN 1969...AND IT'S HAD SEVERAL OWNERS...AND SEVERAL NAMES...IN THE PAST DECADE.
   LAST JUNE.... A GROUP OF FLORIDA DOCTORS BOUGHT THE RAMADA FOR JUST OVER TWO MILLION DOLLARS.
 THEY DID NOT RETURN OUR PHONE CALLS TODAY.


     IT'S THE FIRST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH... AND TIME FOR DEL WARD TO SIT DOWN WITH ANOTHER NOTABLE CENTRAL GEORGIAN.
     IN THIS MONTH'S PERSONAL PROFILE... DEL INTRODUCES YOU TO PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY PRINCIPAL BETTY TOLBERT.


       EVERY DAY... YOU JOIN US ON FACEBOOK AND SHARE PHOTOS... OPINIONS AND STORY IDEAS.
      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...
    ....THOMAS DENNIS FROM WARNER ROBINS.
     CONGRATULATIONS THOMAS... AND YOUR 13WMAZ MUG IS IN THE MAIL.
     IF YOU WANT TO BE OUR FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY... IT'S EASY.
      VISIT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ AND CLICK THE "LIKE" BUTTON TO BECOME A FAN.
      THEN... JUST JOIN THE CONVERSATIONS.
      WE PICK OUR FAN OF THE DAY RANDOMLY.


    MANY OF YOU ARE HEADING TO OUR COMMUNITY WEB SITES AT 13WMAZ DOT COM FOR NEWS FROM YOUR AREA.
     AND WHILE YOU'RE THERE... YOU CAN ALSO SHARE YOUR PHOTOS WITH PEOPLE IN YOUR COMMUNITY.
     HERE ARE A COUPLE YOU'VE ADDED TO THE GALLERY ON THE FORSYTH-MONROE PAGE.
   THIS IS ABBIE.... SPENDING A LITTLE TIME IN THE THINKING TREE.
   AND THE CAPTION ON THIS ONE SAYS.... "THE EYES HAVE IT."
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS...LOOK FOR *PHOTO GALLERIES* IN THE MENU BAR ACROSS THE TOP OF OUR HOMEPAGE...


    THANKS FOR JOINING US.... FIRST MORNIN COMES YOUR WAY AT 5 A-M.
   THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.


 HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.
























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