Tuesday, February 15, Eyewitness News at 11

11:56 PM, Feb 15, 2011   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY..
AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON
  THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.


     SOME CENTRAL GEORGIA VOTERS HEADED TO THE POLLS TODAY AND CHOSE SOMEONE TO FILL THE HOUSE DISTRICT 136 SEAT.
      THAT SEAT WAS LEFT VACANT WHEN THE LATE REPRESENTATIVE TONY SELLIER DIED IN NOVEMBER.
      ACCORDING TO THE GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE... REPUBLICAN ROBERT DICKEY COLLECTED 50-POINT-FOUR PERCENT OF THE VOTE.... WHILE REPUBLICAN JUDYE SELLIER HAD 43-POINT-3 PERCENT... AND DEMOCRAT SHARON HOWARD HAD SIX-POINT-TWO PERCENT.
     DICKEY'S MARGIN OF VICTORY WAS ENOUGH TO AVOID A RUN-OFF ELECTION FOR THE SEAT..
HOUSE DISTRICT 136 INCLUDES CRAWFORD COUNTY AND PARTS OF BIBB... HOUSTON... LAMAR... MONROE... PEACH AND UPSON COUNTIES.


 ROBERT DICKEY AND VANESSA RUFFES ARE JOINING US NOW IN THE STUDIO WITH REACTION TO TONIGHT'S RESULTS..
VANESSA....


THE RACE WAS VERY TIGHT MUCH OF THE NIGHT --
FORT VALLEY CANDIDATE JUDYE SELLIER HELD THE LEAD FOR THE FIRST HALF OF THE VOTE TALLY.
BY THE END OF THE NIGHT THOUGH..FINAL VOTE TOTALS SHOWED HER LOSING OUT TO DROBERT DICKEY BY A LITTLE LESS THAN THREE HUNDRED VOTES..
THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE SAYS SHE'S PROUD OF THE CAMPAIGN SHE RAN.... SAYING SHE GAVE IT HER ALL...SHE ALSO CONGRATULATED DICKEY ON HIS VICTORY.
Sellier "I wish him well, good luck, and congratulations. Get ready because you got your hands full, and I hope you can handle it."
SELLIER IS THE WIDOW OF THE LATE REPRESENTATIVE TONY SELLIER .
SHE CARRIED THE LEAD IN HOUSTON AND PEACH COUNTIES.
SHE SAYS IT'S TOO SOON TO THINK ABOUT WHETHER SHE WOULD RUN AGAIN.
DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE SHARON HOWARD RELEASED A BRIEF STATEMENT... SAYING SHE SHE'S "HAPPY TO HAVE FINISHED"... AND THANKED HER SUPPORTERS.


     MACON CITY COUNCIL VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TONIGHT TO ACCEPT MORE THAN SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS FROM THE MACON WATER AUTHORITY.
     ACCORDING TO THE CONTRACT... THE MONEY IS TO REPAY THE CITY FOR MONEY IT GAVE THE WATER AUTHORITY OVER TWO DECADES AGO.
     THE MONEY WILL GO TOWARDS CLOSING THE LANDFILL... AND OPENING A NEW ONE... AS WELL AS MAKING REPAIRS TO THE FLOOD LEVEES NEAR THE OCMULGEE RIVER...
     COUNCILMAN JAMES TIMLEY WAS INITIALLY ONE OF THE PROPOSALS BIGGEST OPPONENTS... BECAUSE OF CONCERNS THAT THE WATER AUTHORITY WOULD HAVE TOO MUCH CONTROL OVER HOW THE MONEY WOULD BE SPENT... 
     BUT NOW TIMLEY SAYS CHANGES TO THE CONTRACT HAVE LEFT HIM SATISFIED...
James Timley: "If they wanted to spend it on something, we had no veto power. But they had veto power if we wanted to spend it on something. So that language was changed, now both parties have to agree. And that's fine."
    AS PART OF THE AGREEMENT...THE CITY WILL GET ABOUT THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR FOR TWENTY FIVE YEARS..


  A PROPOSED CITY PLAN WOULD OFFER TAX BREAKS AND CHEAPER BUSINESS LICENSES FOR PEOPLE WHO OPEN SHOPS IN SOME OF MACON'S BLIGHTED AREAS..
CITY COUNCILMAN LARRY SCHLESINGER SAYS THE WESTGATE MALL AND OTHER AREAS ALONG EISENHOWER PARKWAY ARE PART OF A 165-PAGE REDEVELOPMENT PLAN DRAWN UP BY THE MACON-BIBB PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION.
SCHLESINGER CHAIRS THE COMMUNITY RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE.
  HE SAYS PUBLIC HEARINGS MUST BE HELD ON THE PLAN.. BUT IT COULD REACH FULL COUNCIL BY EARLY MARCH.
  SCHLESINGER SAYS SOME OF MACON'S HARD-HIT BUSINESS CORRIDORS WOULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR TAX BREAKS.
15:11:03 Larry Schlesinger, Councilman: Westgate in particular, I believe, would be designated as an enterprise zone and that would get some tax abatement in terms of property taxes and city fees as well.
  SCHLESINGER SAYS THE PRICE TAG FOR THE REDEVELOPMENT PLAN...IS NOT KNOWN AT THIS TIME.
  SOME OF THE OTHER TARGETED AREAS INCLUDE MONTPELIER AVENUE.. MERCER UNIVERSITY DRIVE.. LOG CABIN DRIVE.. AND PIO NONO AVENUE.. 
THE PLAN ALSO CALLS FOR REDEVELOPING DETERIORATING HOUSING AROUND THE CITY.


   AND TODAY'S 13 WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS...   WHAT WOULD BE THE BIGGEST CHANGE TO BOOST DEVELOPMENT IN MACON?
   SO FAR 60 PERCENT OF YOU SAY LESS CRIME.
   22 PERCENT SAY BETTER GOVERNMENT.  
   14 PERCENT OF VOTERS SAY BETTER SCHOOLS
   AND 4 PERCENT SAY LOWER TAXES.
   TO VOTE NOW.. VISIT OUR WEBSITE 13 WMAZ DOT COM
    LOOK FOR THE WEB POLL LINK  IN THE DON'T MISS BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE. 


   LOCAL AUTHORITIES BOUGHT SEVEN HOMES NEAR ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE.....JUST TO TEAR THEM DOWN.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT CHIP CHERRY'S REPORT ON THE PROJECT WAS GIVEN TO BIBB COUNTY COMMISSIONERS.... WHO ARE PARTNERING WITH THE CHAMBER AND HOUSTON COUNTY.
   THE GOAL IS TO PREVENT SAFETY ISSUES.... AND AVOID CONFLICTS BETWEEN NEIGHBORS AND ROBINS....THE STATE'S LARGEST EMPLOYER.
   CHERRY SAYS THEY'VE ALREADY TORN DOWN THREE OF THE SEVEN HOMES THEY BOUGHT.. 
     THAT'S OUT OF MORE THAN 250 PROPERTIES THAT COULD BE AFFECTED. 
   CHERRY SAYS THEY'RE LOOKING FOR MORE MONEY TO CONTINUE THE WORK.Chip Cherry, President of Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, "We have a significant number of people that would like to sell, unfortunately we don't have enough to do that, so we've been working very agrressively to try to secure additional sources of funding which would allow us to address this issue.
CHERRY SAYS THE PROJECT HAS BEEN IN THE WORKS FOR ABOUT FOUR YEARS. 
THE LAND WAS ACTUALLY PURCHASED BY A LOCAL PARTNERSHIP... CALLED THE CENTRAL GEORGIA JOINT DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY.


   JOHN WILLIAMS WILL BE STAYING ON WARNER ROBINS CITY COUNCIL.....AT LEAST FOR THE TIME BEING.
   THAT'S ACCORDING TO GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL'S OFFICE.
    LAST WEEK...A THREE-MEMBER PANEL DISCUSSED FELONY CHARGES AGAINST WILLIAMS FOR ALLEGEDLY MAKING A FALSE REPORT ON A STOLEN CELL PHONE.
    THE PANEL SAID WILLIAMS SHOULDN'T BE SUSPENDED FROM COUNCIL...BECAUSE THE CASE DIDN'T INVOLVE HIS COUNCIL DUTIES.
    DEAL WENT ALONG WITH THE PANEL'S DECISION ACCORDING TO HIS SPOKESWOMAN... STEPHANIE MAYFIELD.
THIS AFTERNOON...WILLIAMS TOLD US....."I'M ELATED.
I ENJOY MY WORK AND WILL CONTINUE TO WORK FOR THE PEOPLE OF WARNER ROBINS."
   HE SAYS HE CAN'T WAIT TO SETTLE THE CASE AT TRIAL...WHICH IS SCHEDULED FOR NEXT WEDNESDAY.


     MILLEDGEVILLE POLICE SAY A MAN WHO KIDNAPPED HIS EX-WIFE THIS MORNING... THEN SHOT HIMSELF... IS IN CRITICAL CONDITION AT A LOCAL HOSPITAL, 
     CAPTAIN DRAY SWICORD SAYS IT STARTED AROUND 5 A-M  WHEN 34-YEAR-OLD KATILLYA WARREN-HALL OF SPARTA ARRIVED AT WORK AT A DIALYSIS CLINIC ON NORTH COLUMBIA STREET.
     HE SAYS 41-YEAR-OLD CHARLIE STERLING HALL JR..... THREATENED HER WITH A GUN AND TOOK HER TO A CEMETERY IN HANCOCK COUNTY.
     SWICORD SAID HALL SHOT HIMSELF AFTER THE COUPLE HAD A LONG ARGUMENT IN A CEMETERY.
     HE SAID HE IN CRITICAL CONDITION AT THE MEDICAL CENTER OF CENTRAL GEORGIA.
     HE SAID HALL IS LIKELY TO FACE KIDNAPPING AND OTHER CHARGES WHEN RELEASED.


     PRESIDENT OBAMA IS CELEBRATING THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF 15 MEDAL OF FREEDOM RECIPIENTS... INCLUDING A GEORGIA CONGRESSMAN AND FORMER CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER.
      CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS RECEIVED THE HIGHEST AMERICAN HONOR A CIVILIAN CAN GET.
      DURING THE CEREMONY.... PRESIDENT OBAMA PRAISED LEWIS' WORK AS A CIVIL RIGHTS ICON.
      THE PRESIDENT SAID THIS CEREMONY IS THE ONE HE LOOKS FORWARD TO MOST EVERY YEAR BECAUSE HE GETS TO HONOR SOME OF THE WORLD'S MOST EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. 
      HONOREES ALSO INCLUDED AUTHOR AND POET MAYA ANGELOU... FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H-W BUSH AND INVESTOR WARREN BUFFETT.


       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...
    ....JUDY JOHNSON.
     CONGRATULATIONS JUDY... 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.


   ZOO ATLANTA'S NEWEST PANDA FINALLY HAS A NAME.
    THIS MORNING... THE ZOO HELD IT'S 100 DAY CEREMONY WHERE SPECIAL GUEST JACK BLACK.. ANNOUNCED THE CUB'S NEW NAME.
   Giant panda cub born november 3, 2010 is officially named Po.  (clapping)
   PO WAS NAMED AFTER THE STAR OF KUNG FU PANDA.
    ACTOR JACK BLACK... WHO IS THE VOICE OF PO IN THE ANIMATED MOVIE...  WAS PROMOTING THE UPCOMING FILM...  "KUNG FU PANDA TWO." 
   DREAMWORKS... WHICH MADE THE MOVIE... DONATED MONEY TO THE ZOO TO HELP WITH ITS PANDA CONSERVATION PROGRAM. 
   GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL ALSO ATTENDED TODAY'S CELEBRATION.
    HE SAID THE BIRTH OF PO HOLDS SPECIAL MEANING FOR THE STATE..
    ZOO ATLANTA HELD THE CEREMONY IN THE CHINESE TRADITION OF NAMING GIANT PANDAS WHEN THEY TURN 100 DAYS OLD. 

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