HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
THIS WEEK...HE'S FIELDING QUESTIONS AT THE SUPER BOWL.
BUT LESS THAN A YEAR AGO....PITTSBURGH STEELERS' QUARTERBACK BEN ROETHLISBERGER WAS ANSWERING QUESTIONS ABOUT AN ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT IN A MILLEDGEVILLE BAR.
PROSECUTORS SAID THERE WASN'T ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO CHARGE HIM.
BUT DISTRICT ATTORNEY FRED BRIGHT... IN FRONT OF A NATIONAL AUDIENCE SAID THE CASE SHED LIGHT ON A BIG PROBLEM IN MILLEDGEVILLE...UNDERAGE DRINKING.
fred bright: "we as a college town community just like a lot of other college towns across the country need to be more proactive and do a better job in making sure those under the age of 21 don't drink alcohol at all"
AMY AUBERT VISITED MILLEDGEVILLE ON A POPULAR PARTY NIGHT... AND SHOWS YOU WHAT CHANGED IN THE PAST YEAR... AND WHY SOME SAY ENFORCING THOSE NEW RULES IN A COLLEGE TOWN IS DIFFICULT.
IT'S THURSDAY NIGHT IN DOWNTOWN MILLEDGEVILLE...
Nats, kids going into bar
...AND COLLEGE KIDS ARE FLOODING THE BARS. THEY SAY... THAT HASN'T CHANGED.
Fred Bright, DA: "We're a college town, all colleges towns, kids are going to drink."
Nats, coming out of bar
ALMOST A YEAR AFTER DISTRICT ATTORNEY FRED BRIGHT SAID THE ROETHLISBERGER CASE "SHED LIGHT" ON DRINKING PROBLEMS IN MILLEDGEVILLE... SOME UNDERAGERS... SAY THEY'RE STILL DRINKING AMONG TWENTY-ONE YEAR OLDS.
Mark Eaton, Athens: "You show 'em your ID and you get in."
Amy: "So they don't actually look at it?"
Eaton: "No, they look at it, they glance at it and you go in."
Amy Aubert, Stand-up: "Most of the downtown Milledgeville bars are 18 to enter, 21 to drink. If you're 21 you get a wristband... like the four that I got on a Thursday night. But students say there are ways for underage drinkers to get a wristband....if they know a bouncer....or get it from a friend. Some students say once you're in the door, getting a drink is easy, no matter your age."
SaraRose Porterfield, Atlanta: "Bars are so crowded, people don't really take notice of who's wearing a wristband and who's not."
Sara Landers, Snellville: "All you have to do is find one person that's twenty-one to buy it, and they'll buy it for you."
MAYOR RICHARD BENTLEY SAYS... BY CITY ORDINANCE... ALL BARS IN MILLEDGEVILLE SELL FOOD... SO THEY CAN'T TURN AWAY ANYONE 18 OR OVER.
Nats, bar door shutting.
BUT THAT'S WHERE... HE SAYS... ENFORCING IT... GETS TRICKY.
Mayor Bentley: "It's kind of like speeders and, or people who break noise ordinances. The only time you're going to be able to enforce that is if you catch them in the act of speeding."
TO HELP CATCH THE LAW BREAKERS... BALDWIN COUNTY AND THE CITY OF MILLEDGEVILLE PASSED AN ORDINANCE LAST SUMMER... THAT SAYS EVERY PERSON MUST PRESENT AN I-D WHEN GOING INTO A BAR OR PURCHASING ALCOHOL.
Mayor Bentley: "No longer is it appropriate or just enough for a clerk or someone providing the alcohol for sale, to go by how old you look."
Amy Aubert, Stand-up: "On two separate weekend nights... I went to five bars... And was carded at every one. Inside one of those bars... I witnessed police checking I-Ds and kicking one person out. But so far... no one has been charged for violating that ordinance."
Gordon Deeds, Minnesota: "Are they looking to see if everybody's 21? I'm not sure. Are they looking to see if people are drinking in their bar? Absolutly."
DISTRICT ATTORNEY BRIGHT SAYS... THE MILLEDGEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT IS "BEEFING UP PATROLS" ON POPULAR PARTY NIGHTS.
Fred Bright: "If they catch someone under 21 switching the armbands and drinking alcohol, they'll get charged."
ACCORDING TO MILLEDGEVILLE POLICE RECORDS...THE NUMBER OF UNDERAGERS CHARGED... MORE THAN DOUBLED IN NOVEMBER OF 20-10 FROM A YEAR BEFORE.
IN NOVEMBER '09... FIVE CITATIONS WERE GIVEN... IN 2010... THERE WERE 12.
STUDENTS SAY... LATELY... THEY'RE NOTICING MORE POLICE PRESENCE ON DRINKING NIGHTS.
Gordon Deeds, Minnesota: "If the police come in, and you don't have a wristband, you're going to get arrested if you have a drink in your hand."
DISTRICT ATTORNEY BRIGHT SAYS... WHAT SHOCKED HIM MOST WAS THE ALCOHOL LEVELS HE'S SEEN IN KIDS....AS MUCH AS 3-4 TIMES THE LEGAL LIMIT.
Fred Bright: "That's gettin' what I call passed out drunk. That's getting close to lethal."
BUT ON THURSDAY NIGHTS IN MILLEDGEVILLE..
...KIDS SAY THE PARTY'S ON.
AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> ACCORDING TO MILLEDGEVILLE POLICE RECORDS... ON DECEMBER NINTH 20-10... THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE CHARGED SIX MILLEDGEVILLE BAR EMPLOYEES WITH SERVING ALCOHOL TO PEOPLE UNDER TWENTY ONE.
TO SEE AN EXTENDED INTERVIEW WITH MAYOR BENTLEY ON DRINKING IN MILLEDGEVILLE....LOOK FOR STORY ON OUR HOMEPAGE...13WMAZ.-DOT-COM.
TODAY'S 13 WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS...
SHOULD PEOPLE UNDER 21 BE ALLOWED IN BARS?
SO FAR 90 PERCENT OF VOTERS YOU SAY NO... THEY SHOULDN'T.
AND 10 PERCENT OF VOTERS SAY YES... THEY SHOULD.
TO VOTE NOW..VISIT OUR WEBSITE...13 WMAZ DOT COM AND CLICK ON TODAY'S WEB POLL INSIDE THE "DON'T MISS BOX."
IT'S LOCATED ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMPAGE.
MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT SAYS UNCLEAR FEDERAL GUIDELINES CONTRIBUTED TO THE CITY SPENDING MORE THAN A MILLION DOLLARS TO REPAIR HOUSES INSTEAD OF BUILDING NEW ONES.
HE SAYS THE FEDERAL HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT EARMARKED MONEY TO RESTORE BLIGHTED AREAS.
BUT AS ELEANOR LISSITZYN EXPLAINS....REICHERT SAYS THE PROBLEMS STARTED WHEN THE HOUSING MARKET COLLASPED.
MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT SAYS THE RULES GOVERNING HOW THE CITY COULD USE FEDERAL GRANT MONEY WERE UNCLEAR... AND MAY RESULT IN THE CITY HAVING TO PAY BACK MORE THAN A MILLION DOLLARS
M"The bottom line is we have been trying and working with HUD ever since the intial finding came out."
HE SAYS THE CITY FOUND OUT IN LAST YEAR'S AUDIT THAT CAME OUT IN JUNE...THAT THE ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENY MAY HAVE BEEN IMPROPERLY SPENDING FEDERAL MONEY...
IT SAYS THE MONEY WAS SUPPOSED TO BE USED TO BUILD OR RENOVATE NEW AFFORDABLE HOMES FOR LOW INCOME FAMILIES... INSTEAD... IT SAYS THE CITY SPENT MORE THAN A MILLION DOLLARS TO MAINTAIN VACANT HOMES IT ALREADY OWNED.
M"I dont think it crossed anybody's mind Eleanor that you couldn't use HUD funds to maintain and repair HUD houses to keep them in sale ready M condition."
HE SAYS THEY CONTINUED TO SPEND THE MONEY FOR ABOUT FOUR MONTHS... UNTIL THEY MET WITH HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT OFFICIALS IN ATLANTA...
M"Within a matter of months we were up there sitting in Atlanta and were told don't do it anymore. And we haven't."
NOW THE MAYOR SAYS THEY'RE WAITING FOR HUD TO DECIDE IF THE CITY MUST PAY THE MONEY BACK...
M"It's in a gray area they're trying to get clairification."
COUNCILMAN TOM ELLINGTON SAYS HE HOPES THAT WON'T HAPPEN.
E: "I'm hopful that the federal government will make an allowance in this case but it shouldn't have happened."
HE SAYS IF THE CITY DIDN'T KNOW THE RULES... IT SHOULD HAVE ASKED...
E: "The thing to do is seek guidance on the front end rather than having to ask for forgiveness on the back-end."
THE MAYOR SAYS UNTIL HUD DECIDES ... THE CITY WILL HAVE TO PAY TO MAINTAIN ABOUT TWENTY PROPERTIES...
REICHERT SAYS HUD OFFICIALS ALSO FOUND THE GUIDELINES AMBIGUOUS.
HE SAYS THEY'RE TRYING TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE CITY WILL HAVE TO REPAY THE MONEY.
BUT HE DOESN'T KNOW WHEN A DECISION WILL BE MADE.
A HUD SPOKESMAN IN ATLANTA DECLINED TO COMMENT.
A FORT VALLEY POLICE OFFICER ACCUSED OF TRYING TO ARRANGE A SEXUAL ENCOUNTER WITH A MINOR IS IN JAIL TONIGHT..
ACCORDING TO THE LUMPKIN COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE....33-YEAR-OLD BRETT CROWE OF GREENSBORO WAS ARRESTED AROUND 3-30 WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AT A HOME IN DAHLONEGA...THAT'S IN LUMPKIN COUNTY.
SHERIFF DEAN MARTIN SAYS THE ARREST CAME AFTER AN UNDERCOVER OPERATION IN WHICH CROWE COMMUNICATED WITH OTHER LAW OFFICERS...NOT WITH A JUVENILE.
MARTIN WOULD NOT RELEASE ANY MORE DETAILS ON THE CASE.
MARTIN SAID CROWE IS CHARGED WITH ENTICING A JUVENILE AND VIOLATING HIS OATH OF OFFICE. BOTH ARE FELONIES.
FORT VALLEY POLICE ISSUED A NEWS RELEASE SAYING THAT CROWE IS ON UNPAID LEAVE....AND THEY'RE CONDUCTING THEIR OWN INVESTIGATION.
MYSTERIOUS WHITE CROSSES HAVE POPPED UP ALL OVER JONES COUNTY AND THAT HAS SOME PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT WHO'S BEHIND THEM....AND WHY.
PEOPLE CALLED AND EMAILED 13WMAZ ABOUT DOZENS OF THE CROSSES HANGING IN TREES THROUGHOUT JONES COUNTY...MACON....MILLEGEVILLE AND OTHER PLACES.
IN GRAY... WE SAW SMALL WHITE CROSSES ON ALTMAN ROAD NEAR JONES COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL....AND IN A TREE IN THE PARKING LOT OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH.
THERE'S NO SIGN...AND NOTHING TO SHOW WHO'S BEHIND THEM.
THE PASTOR OF FIRST BAPTIST SAYS HE DOESN'T KNOW WHO HUNG THE CROSSES... BUT HE BELIEVES IT'S A GOOD THING.
Steve Albanese, Pastor "I think folks see them and hopefully think in terms of the Lord and will be thinking in terms of how he impacts the life of men and women, boys and girls" JONES COUNTY SHERIFF BUTCH REECE SAYS THEY'VE ALSO GOTTEN MANY CALLS ABOUT THE WHITE CROSSES.......BUT HE DOESN'T KNOW WHERE THEY CAME FROM.
EIGHTH DISTRICT CONGRESSMAN AUSTIN SCOTT OPENED UP SHOP TODAY.
THE REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE HAS THREE CONSTITUENT SERVICES OFFICES IN HIS HOMETOWN OF TIFTON, IN DUBLIN AND IN WARNER ROBINS.
VANESSA RUFFES SAT DOWN WITH SCOTT... AND FOUND OUT WHY WARNER ROBINS WILL BE HIS MAIN HEADQUARTERS.
"Robins Air Force Base. Robins Air Force Base. Robins Air Force Base."
... THREE REASONS WHY SCOTT SAYS WARNER ROBINS IS THE HOME OF HIS MAIN OFFICE IN THE EIGHTH DISTRICT.
"It is the largest industrial complex in Georgia. It is the largest employer in the district."
THE OFFICE LOOKS BARE NOW... BUT WHAT IS ON DISPLAY COUNTS.
SCOTT WAS ELECTED ON HIS PROMISES TO KEEP ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE... AND AGRICULTURE... HIS TOP PRIORITIES IN OFFICE...
HE SAYS SETTING UP SHOP MINUTES aWAY FROM THE BASE IS HIS WAY OF STAYING ACCESSIBLE.
AND HE SAYS THE NEW CONGRESSIONAL SCHEDULE MEANS HE CAN SPEND LESS TIME IN WSHINGTON ...AND MORE TIME TAKIGN CARE OF BUSIENSS AT HOME.
"Where they had been there Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, now we have set it so that we will be in the district at least one week out of the month."
HE ALSO PLANS TO BE HOME ON WEEKENDS... AND SAYS WHEN HE IS IN TOWN, HE'LL BOUNCE BETWEEN THIS OFFICE... AND THE ONES IN TIFTON AND DUBLIN.
AND... IF HE'S IN WASHINGTON... HE SAYS STAFF ARE STANDING BY TO HEAR VOTERS' CONCERNS... VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> SCOTT SAYS SINCE HE'S BEEN IN TOWN... HE'S SPENT TIME VISITING SCHOOLS AND THE BASE.
HE SAYS HE'S FLYING BACK TO WASHINGTON MONDAY.
A GRAND OPENING FOR HIS OFFICE HAS NOT YET BEEN SCHEDULED.
HIS OFFICES ARE OPEN MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY... 8-30 TO 5-30.
THE MAIN LOCATION IS 230 MARGIE DRIVE, SUITE 500 IN WARNER ROBINS.
THE PHONE NUMBER FOR THAT OFFICE IS 478-971-1776..THAT'S 478-971-1776..
EACH YEAR...MACON BASEBALL GREAT KEVIN BROWN RAISES MONEY FOR TWO MACON GROUPS THAT WORK TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
THIS MORNING....BROWN AND MEMBERS OF THE FIVE STAR AUTOMOTIVE GROUP PRESENTED THE PROCEEDS FROM A GOLF TOURNAMENT.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN ATHLETES AND THE MACON RESCUE MISSION WILL SHARE A LITTLE OVER 210 THOUSAND DOLLARS.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE RESCUE MISSION... JEFF NICKLAS AND SCOTT ADAMS.. THE AREA DIRECTOR FOR THE FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN ATHLETES... SAY THE MONEY WILL COME IN HANDY TO PROVIDE SERVICES IN THE COMMUNITY.
Jeff Nicklas, "We expand our outreach programs, our food service programs,etc. This is just instrumental in us being able to do that"
Scott Adams "It helps a lot with camp scholarships. It helps a lot with promotions of FCA in local schools all around middle GA
THIS IS THE 22ND YEAR...THAT FIVE STAR AUTOMOTIVE HAS HOSTED THE GOLF TOURNAMENT.